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Photo courtesy of the OAG Art Rental & Sales Gallery.

Add a certain je ne sais quoi to your space by renting local art

By Jennifer Larocque on August 17, 2016

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“When something sells, it’s nice to see the artwork going to a good home. It’s thrilling to see someone take home a piece they love – that’s why artists make them! There’s a conversation that goes with every piece and it becomes a meaningful experience. Part of the process is seeing someone bring a piece home, but also telling the artist that his or her work touched someone’s life. It’s such a happy feeling.”

– Stephanie Germano, Manager, ART Rental and Sales gallery, OAG

I am greeted at the Ottawa Art Gallery’s (OAG) ART Rental and Sales gallery entrance by the manager, Stephanie Germano, in such a welcoming and relaxed fashion that I wonder: am I in a gallery? Of course, she expected me to arrive, but having visited the OAG ART Rental and Sales gallery before, I know this to be the experience you get every time you step into the Gallery. It’s a space that breathes local talents, displays contemporary art connoisseurship and invites you to converse about its pieces with the staff that love each and every piece and exude a palpable enthusiasm to share its story.

Artwork by Sarah Hatton, Larrimac 1, 2008, oil and resin on panel, 48” x 36”. Photo courtesy of OAG Art Rental & Sales.

Artwork by Sarah Hatton, Larrimac 1, 2008, oil and resin on panel, 48” x 36”. Photo courtesy of OAG Art Rental & Sales.

Making local art accessible

The OAG’s ART Rental and Sales gallery’s mission is to promote local artists within a 150 km radius. Paintings, drawings, photography, ceramics, jewelry are all part of their collection. They’ve also set up a pilot project: a gift shop in which you’ll find locally crafted items that easily serve as gifts. They’ve even gotten select artists from their impressive roaster to design t-shirt fronts to exemplify their commitment to supporting local artists. My favorite is the handmade greeting cards by local artists. I find them to be the perfect solution to livening up a space when mounted in unique frames and hung in a series.

The choice to rent or buy

Buying art can feel daunting. Fortunately, the OAG’s ART Rental and Sales gallery offers the opportunity both to rent or to buy art. Most people haven’t experienced purchasing original art from a gallery, and doing so can be intimating. Art can be expensive and because you either work by the piece every day in your office or live with it at home, you want to have a good relationship with it. Basically, you want to be attracted to it, time and time again. And, well, this relationship, most often times, takes more than two days to build and appreciate.

The ART Rental and Sales gallery allows for this through their rental program. You can rent a piece you think you absolutely love for an average price (based on the purchase value of the work) ranging between $30 and $90 a month. It’s financially accessible, but it also creates an opportunity for “dating” the piece, providing you with the assurance that it is THE piece for your office space or home. And, if you prefer the dating process and like to switch things up and reinvent your space every few months; the option to rent makes this easy and affordable.

“Renting gives us the chance to enjoy a variety of local artists. We also like the fact that half the rental fee goes to the artist. In a small way we are supporting local artists in their work.”
– Rick and Bev Chataway

Long-term rental is not required and if any piece of work is purchased after having been rented for a period of three months, this amount of money is taken off the sale price. If it is an immediate coup de foudre, forget the dating and purchase on site! I found the OAG ART Rental and Sales gallery’s broad range of artists, from emerging to experienced professionals, to provide a plethora of choices in terms of style and also, price.

Explore the local artists you can find at the OAG’s ART Rental and Sales gallery.

Photo courtesy of OAG Art Rental & Sales.

Photo courtesy of OAG Art Rental & Sales.

A consultative process

Whether you rent or purchase, the ART Rental and Sales gallery staff will hold your hand – if you need it – throughout the entire process, and this is just part of the service. The Manager of the program will even visit the spaces clients want to decorate to fully feel and understand what they want. This allows her to suggest exactly what might be needed from their collection to make the intended space perfect. When I visited the Gallery last week, five or six pieces had been lined up neatly in the back room of the Gallery for a client to see and feel before deciding on whether to begin the dating process.

The “hip factor”

Recently, the OAG’s ART Rental and Sales gallery partnered with La Maison Simons in curating the customer services space in their new retail store at the Rideau Centre. When Stephanie shared this with me I thought I would go check it out right after our meeting. It looks fantastic, with gallery-style title cards for the selected works that promote their partnership.

Thanks to the OAG’s ART Rental and Sales gallery, a national retailer had immediate access to showcasing local artwork and is able to invest in the community by providing important exposure to artists. The OAG’s ART Rental and Sales gallery’s “hip factor” is in the partnerships and opportunities it is creating. With the revamp of the Arts Court and its new space set to open in 2017, it’s a great time to go visit, and who knows, you might fall in love.

If you are an artist and would like to take part in the OAG Art Rental and Sales Gallery, learn more here.

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