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ART AND ART GALLERIES (article first published : 2006-02-19)

The art industry in South Africa is traditionally a niche market but, thanks to the strong rand, collectors are collecting more than ever before. So believes the Sunday Times as it completes its Sunday Times Business Times Survey to appear on February 26 which will discuss art and art galleries.

“Corporates have been lapping up financial returns on their investments over the last five to ten years and private collectors are filling their available wall space with local artists as one of the most secure investments they can make. The survey aims to provide informative reading on Art and Art Galleries by taking an in-depth look at certain issues.

Who do the collectors collect?: We will look at who is hot, what art means to the people who collect it, why they collect it over other collectibles and what it means for the artists themselves.

Moving in the right circles: The idea behind corporate sponsorship of art (Nedbank, Standard Bank Young Artist Award, Spier Arts Trust) is to ensure that artists are continually being sought and given exposure in the right places. How effective is corporate sponsorship? What do the artists who have benefited have to say?

Who’s our major patron?: We will examine which foreign countries are investing in South African art, and how heavily they’re investing, as well as which artists they’re investing in and which SA galleries see the most foreign activity.

Art is the new black: There are stories of black businessmen coming into South Africa from neighbouring countries and spending R900K a pop on works of local art. Are these stories true? What are they buying? Is there an investment focus or is the trend purely decoration based? How do galleries entice more black art collectors?

Hung Designers: Young professionals are being enticed to buy art early on in their careers. The idea is to create a market of young art buyers and spawn a young collectors club. This would be helpful to the industry, firstly because it creates a market for art in future years and secondly it gives relatively new and un-established artists a channel through which to sell. A fabulous idea indeed, but how effective has it been?

Find out the trends in the Business Times on February 26.




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