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Art and finance are two words you usually never see in the same sentence together. Coming from a background in finance, it’s not hard to understand why. I often see the inherent value of art being dismissed by many in this field because most iconic works of art are either high-value collector’s items or public works. On first impression, art doesn’t generally lend itself to the things that investors look for – mostly returns. As a result, most members from the finance and investment community don’t pay much attention to the art community unless they have a hobby or personal interest in the field.
However, according to the 2014 Deloitte Art & Finance Report, seventy five percent of art collectors or buyers purchase art with an investment view. As a result, it’s no surprise that art auctions generated $15.2 billion in 2014. If you’re somebody who would enjoy the prospect of learning more about art and you have the capital to participate in high-stakes art auctions, this could be a fun and lucrative community for you to be involved with, but this isn’t the type of participation I’m interested in with the art community. Under the glamour and flash of the multi-billion dollar art collection industry exists a world of non-profits and charities that work hard to enable talented artists to continue their work.
The phrase ‘starving artist’ has become a household term because of the notoriously unforgiving nature of being an upstart artist. Artists with raw talent who are working their way to recognition often have very unstable and temporary streams of income, live paycheck to paycheck, and are baited into doing work for free all the time. Every day, talented artists on the verge of success are giving up their passion in order to take on entry-level employment that will make their ends meet and pay their bills. Due to the inherent vulnerability and fragility of this community, it’s important to pay extra attention to the organizations that provide support to flourishing artists. Organizations like Free Arts NYC provide grants and funding to promising talent in order to foster their growth and development.
It’s my opinion that donating to organizations like these does much more for the art community and the proliferation of the arts as whole than investing in high-stakes artworks at art auctions. The next generation of artists who produce the type of work that goes for millions of dollars at auctions are being fostered today by organizations like Free Arts NYC. As tempting it may be to invest in a high-profile wall piece for your home, I’d challenge you to consider how much more of an impact can be made on the art community if you were to donate that money to art charities. These charities are the often-forgotten building block and predecessor of the glamorous multi-billion dollar art auction industry, so perhaps we ought to give them some well-deserved recognition.
Renato Negrin Travels
As a world traveler, Renato has developed a truly globalized perspective. Him and his wife Siu care deeply about issue that affect people around the world and want to focus on contributing to organizations that can drive positive change.