In Hamilton we have a vibrant creative community with a lot of diversity. If you’re anything like me, you’d love to support local artists where you can, but you might not know where to get started. Luckily, there are lots of opportunities to snap up unique pieces by local artists, see a variety of works all in one place, and learn a bit more about the purchasing and collecting process. The best part is, many have transparent and affordable pricing.
Art sales in the area include live auctions (gavels and all), silent auctions (where you write down your offer and contact information, and the winner is notified later), and direct sales – often for bargain rates, since the work is donated. For some, artists set their own minimum auction bids; at direct sales events, it’s common to see one rate or several tiers: works for $100, $200, and $300, for example.
It’s easy to consider your potential purchases in these low-pressure environments, without a gallery attendant or sales representative hovering and judging your art knowledge. And no one will glare at you if you pull out your phone to check out an artist’s website or portfolio. There will often be staff or volunteers on hand, but they’ll know that the average visitor is a beginner who may need some help understanding the process.
Many shows specify a maximum size for artworks, and some only offer small pieces. That’s a bonus for all of us apartment-dwellers who can’t invest in a huge showstopping piece we’ll have to cart from place to place.
If you’re a budding or hobby artist looking to see your work out in the world, these art sales are a great opportunity. Artists who submit to these shows often do so for tax credit, a portion of the sale price, for the promotional opportunity, or simply to support our local institutions. Submissions are usually curated or selected by a committee; when pieces go unsold, they get returned to their creators. It’s a good way to get some attention, and you can add it to your CV too!
The first sale is coming up on March 24th, and there are more opportunities in the spring:
Hamilton Artists Inc. Presents “Inc. Squared” Art Sale and Fundraiser
This fundraiser is a dance party as well as a sale! Tickets range from $10 to $45, and works are $100 and $200—until after 10pm, when prices drop by half and the door becomes pay-what-you-can. The party gets started at 7pm on March 24th.
They’re also holding a silent auction for donated business services and other prizes from the community – and asking for submissions for that, too. Artists who bring in works to sell will get a free ticket to the event, so you might be able to chat with makers about their submissions.
Sale artists include emerging artists Emily Hamel and Sarah Sproule, Andrew McPhail, Stephen Altena, Michael Allgoewer, and Ryan Anderson; silent auction artists include printmaker Andrew Porter, photographer Darren Krager, and jewellery maker Rebecca Chambers. Businesses contributing donations include the James North General Store, Made for you by Madeleine, the Puddicombe Estate Farms & Winery, and Thuya Floral Arts.
Dundas Valley School of Art Art Auction
This year is the 48th Annual DVSA Art Auction, held April 5th – 7th. This is the largest art auction in the Hamilton-Wentworth region, and last year’s event raised over $300,000 for the DVSA! The DVSA says that pieces will be available in a long list of media: “paintings, pastels, drawings, prints, photography, sculpture, pottery, glass, fibre art, jewellery and more.”
The DVSA auction comprises two parts: a silent auction for donated art, and a live auction for bigger-name pieces, including artists Catherine Gibbon, Julia Veenstra, Eric Ranveau, Clarence Porter, and Susan Outlaw. Painters Jim Poling of DeerStandStudio and Anita Thomas, among others, have been previewing their selected works online.
It will be free to view the art and place silent bids on April 5th and 6th; the live auction the night of the 7th is a ticketed event. Tickets for the auction are $35 per person in advance or $40 at the door, with food and drinks available, but they’re also taking volunteers if you’d like to experience the excitement without the cost.
The Art Gallery of Hamilton Art Sale
The AGH holds a four-day art sale, 2018 being their 19th annual event. This year’s sale takes place from April 12th to 15th, with an opening reception the night of Thursday the 12th.
They’re expecting around 70 artists to supply over 200 original pieces in painting, ceramics, textiles, photography, printmaking, illustration, glass, and jewellery. Art prices start at $100, and tickets are free for not just the display space, but to the entire AGH during the sale.
The arts submission deadline for this one was back in January, but you can still view the call if you’re interested. Successful submitters are encouraged to attend the reception, so this is another chance to meet a few local artists in person.
This one might be the most exciting: 100 tickets are sold for 100 pieces of art, ranging in value from $100 to $1000. As everyone watches, the tickets are drawn randomly – the winners getting their pick of whatever remains on the walls.
2018 will be its eighth year and it sounds like an absolute blast. The lottery itself is June 18th, but Centre3 is accepting art submissions now, until March 31st. The $100 tickets go on sale May 1st, and people can preview the art on June 16th.
Artists who donate receive as thanks a discount on renting Centre3 space, or a free workshop registration.
Allana Mayer is an archivist, researcher, and writer in Hamilton. She works for a nonprofit and writes about art and culture, technology, copyright, and history.
**** Feature photo by Ryan Anderson