How to Build an Art Collection on a Budget

Build Your Own Art CollectionTurning your home into a gallery-like space usually requires two things: fine art and money. If you can’t afford to bolster your art collection with museum-quality pieces, try these tips for collecting artwork without spending a fortune from Heather Skeens, director of Drake’s Anderson Gallery.

Buy work from art students Buy art from up-and-coming artists before they hit the big time. Skeens recommends checking out shows at your local university art department, such as the Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition at the Anderson Gallery.

Attend local arts events “The best way to add to your growing collection is to attend local gallery openings, and get to know local artists at arts events,” Skeens says. “If you see any pieces you’re dying to have, ask about pricing and possibly set up an installment plan.”

Get internet-art savvy “There is a great site, 20×, for people who want to purchase work from popular contemporary artists but might not have the budget to purchase an original,” Skeens says. Ebay is also a resource for uncovering artistic gems. “Find an era or period of art you like, and search for ‘art,’ ‘decorative arts,’ or ‘photography’ to find something unique and fitting to your taste,” Skeens says.

Become friends with artists “Growing your personal art collection shouldn’t be your main intention when seeking out artist friends, but it can be a nice benefit,” Skeens says.

Scour auctions and estate sales Another’s trash can be your artistic treasure. “If you see something and fall in love with it, just buy it. Don’t worry about anything else,” Skeens says.

—Abbey Barrow, Class of 2015

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