Top 10 Reasons to Invest in Art (Bad Economy or Not!)

As a professional artist and gallery owner, I am getting sick and tired of hearing people say that art is a great investment, during GOOD times. Why only during good times? Good times or bad, art is a GREAT investment. I once read a quote that said “During good economic times, people collect art, but during bad economic times, people invest in art”. I wish I could remember where and when I read this so I could credit the person who said it. The point is, art is not just a luxury item, it IS an investment. Record auction sales in past years, paintings selling for millions of dollars is evidence of this. Now, some will say, paintings by dead artists, sure! However, can you imagine being the person who bought that $100-5,000 painting from a living artist (think Vincent Van Gogh, who only sold ONE painting during his lifetime!) to someday turn around and sell it at auction for millions of dollars? Sure, it took decades for that appreciation to occur, but what better inheritance to leave your children?! I’m not good with math, but you don’t need to be a financial wizard to figure out that it’s an awesome return on investment. Remember too, every artist will eventually die! (Actually, I think Salvador Dali thought he was immortal and he would live forever!)

In my research for this post, I read The Economic Importance of the Arts & Cultural Industries in Albuquerque… report presented by the UNM Bureau of Business and Economic Research. According to this report, “Arts and cultural industries generate $1.2 billion in revenues, $413 million in wages, and 19,500 jobs, totaling
6% of all employment in the County”(Bernalillo county, NM). This report goes on to say,
“Arts and culture, once considered luxuries that follow prosperity,
are now understood to be conditions of prosperity.
Yes, art and culture are big business and among the fastest
growing sectors of the economy, but their economic importance
extends far beyond the value of their receipts. Today, a vibrant
art and cultural sector is crucial to attracting and retaining a
talented labor force and creating an environment conducive to
innovation. In this sense, the rich and distinctive cultures of
cities such as San Francisco, Seattle, Austin, and Boulder are
not so much evidence of these cities’ economic prosperity as
they are factors that give rise to it.”
What I get from this is, art is a good investment because art is what MAKES a city good.

So, here are my top 10 reasons why it is ALWAYS a good time to invest in art;

10. Artists need to eat too! (Let’s just get over the starving artist myth! No artist goes into the arts wanting to starve! Art is a BUSINESS, I spend only 40%, maybe less, of my time actually painting)

9. Art can brighten your life, who doesn’t need their life brightened during times like this?

8. Artists have to pay their bills too! (I would be interested to know how many artists have defaulted on their home loans or had their car repossessed since the recession began.)

7. Emerging artist’s work will hold value or go UP in value, good idea to buy art from an artist BEFORE their prices go up.

6. Buying art from local artists puts money back into your local economy. (Artists spend money too. See #10 and #8)

5. Art makes your house a home. Even if it doesn’t match your couch!

4. ANY art you buy today is automatically a piece of history. (Of course, I suggest you wait a few years before you take it to the Antiques Roadshow.)

3. Art can inspire greatness! 

2. Supporting artists by purchasing their work keeps service jobs open for teenagers and retirees!

And the #1 reason to invest in art (drum roll please!), ARTISTS NEED TO EAT TOO! Yes, I said it twice! (Let’s just get over the starving artist myth already, serious artists work more than overtime on their careers and SHOULD be taken seriously. Being an artist IS a business! As with everything, it’s just a few artists that give the rest of us a bad name.)

Disclaimer: While this post was meant as a serious look at why you should invest in art (bad economy or not), parts of it were also done tongue in cheek and should not be taken too seriously! Now go buy some original art from a LIVING artist! 🙂

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One response to “Top 10 Reasons to Invest in Art (Bad Economy or Not!)

  1. Thanks, from a not quite completely starved, but hungry artist!

    A couple weeks ago I heard an economic forecaster on a TV news program suggest that luxury items, including art, may actually enjoy a stronger market appeal as the economy worsens. This caught me off guard and he immediately comandeered my attention.

    It seemed incongruous given the survivalist, staple type products he had just listed that would benefit from an ongoing sluggish economy.

    His explanation… people need beauty, they want to be elevated, especially when they feel oppressed. They don’t want all the bad news to define their experience, and must choose carefully how they will indulge themselves…but indulge themselves they will, unless they simply can not.

    Our job as artists is to respect our clients and potential clients by making the best quality art we are capable of. We need to make what we offer so appealing that people will want to treat themselves if they are able.

    This economic climate is a clarion call to artistic excellence.

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