Contrary to a certain well-espoused maxim, the best things in life are not always free.
Take art, for example. Many never get to enjoy the aesthetic and psychological benefits of a good art piece because the price is too high.
That is one of the reasons why the North Vancouver Community Arts Council (NVCAC) runs its art rental program that allows people or businesses to rent artworks for $10 to $40 a month in a variety of styles and mediums, according to exhibition coordinator Jo Dunlop.
“The artist gets (70 per cent) of the rental revenue which doesn’t necessarily amount to much but there is also lots of exposure and the potential to sell the artwork,” says Dunlop, explaining that up to three months of the rent money can go towards the purchase price.
In addition to the 300-piece catalogue being available for viewing on the NVCAC’s website year-round, the council also holds semi-annual salon-style exhibitions where the works are displayed on the walls as a collection.
The latest such exhibition at the CityScape Community Art Space (335 Lonsdale Ave.) runs until Sept. 24.
Chris Warwick, the office manager at the Dundarave Dental Clinic in West Vancouver, has been renting art from the program for over four years.
“It is just a really great program,” says Warwick. “They have been very helpful and very open to people coming in and choosing something that you want.”
Warwick says she rents four works for about three or four months at a time, although sometimes she keeps certain paintings longer.
“You get so attached to some of this artwork that you don’t have the heart to send it back and then it becomes like almost part of the practice,” says Warwick, who currently has a painting of a field of wildflowers that she is not looking forward to returning.
“I like the colours and the movement of it. It is cheerful and right for a dental office. It just makes you smile.”
Warwick says that when she picks out pieces for the office she tries to find something that is restful and contemplative.
“We get a lot of people that will start dialoguing in the waiting room talking about the art,” she says. “A lot of patients will even ask about different pieces and who they were done by. And they are very conscious about going home and looking up the artist’s name.
Warwick says she has also been considering picking something for her own personal use.
“I have often thought that it would be kind of fun to do it for my home rather than buy a piece of artwork and then you get sick of it after a while,” she says. “This gives you an opportunity to look at new stuff every once in a while and try it out to see if you like it or want it.
“Plus, it is just nice to be able to support an up-and-coming local artists that is trying to get an in.”