Temporary Art

When we purchased our first home a few years ago we had many ideas on how we were going to remodel and redecorate to make the place our own. We had some artwork, but there was one big wall in the living room that remained blank for about 18 months. The wall is painted orange (after having lived in white walled rental properties for roughly 15 years – painting the walls was priority one. ) The couch under it is purple (custom made – it really is perfect with the orange!) It’s a HUGE wall, so we needed just the right thing to bring it all together. Eventually I found it – we were given some feather paintings from when my in-laws lived in Africa in the 60s. I had them mated and framed, and both the colors and size fit just perfectly.

But what if they hadn’t? Or what if you just don’t feel you have a very good eye for choosing that right piece? Before you go to the mall and get another cheesy Thomas Kinkade or get suckered into one of the ‘art prints’ they sell at IKEA – check out the Portland Art Museum.

No – I’m not talking about going all Thomas Crown on them – the Portland Art Museum actually has a rental wing where you can rent paintings and sculptures from local artists. Depending on the size and sales price of the piece, the rental fee is anywhere from $40 to $400 for a three-month period, so the pricing is super reasonable. Staffed by volunteers who will help you pick out a piece appropriate for the space you have – this is such a cool way of decorating your house or office. And after 3 months, if you love it – you can purchase it. If it’s not just right, or if you just want to change things up – bring it back. I can totally see offices using this service to keep the look of their business fresh. Or if you’re having some fancy (or even not so fancy) shin-dig at your house, how cool would it be to have some great local art on your wall?

The artists get a percentage of the rental, and my understanding is that the sales commission if you decide to buy is way better than what they’d get selling pieces through a gallery, plus your rental fee gets applied to the price…so it raises money for the museum and benefits the artists… and all your friends are shocked to learn you have ever so exquisite taste.


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