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Start your art collection with Own Art

Start your art collection with Own Art

Own Art ( makes buying contemporary art and craft easy and affordable by letting you spread the cost of your purchase over 10 months with an interest free loan.

It’s possible to borrow up to £2,000 or as little as £100 or use the loan as a part payment towards a higher value artwork. Several items can be grouped together to bring the total purchase price to over £100 or if there are a number of things that you’ve set your heart on.

With over 250 galleries and thousands of original works to choose from, it’s possible to start a collection from as little as £10 per month.

Use our find a gallery function on the Own Art website to see a full list of galleries offering the scheme and to locate the ones that are near you You’ll find everything from young to very established spaces; the purely commercial to public institutions, charities and local authority funded galleries.

If you’re starting or developing a contemporary art collection, we’ve put together some information that might just help you on your way.

Go with your instincts

Don’t buy an artwork because someone’s telling you it’s fashionable or a good idea. Go for work that speaks to you and think about how it makes you feel. There’s no guarantee it’ll increase in value, so don’t anticipate this. If it does, see it as a bonus not a pre-requisite for buying. Try not to get swayed into a decision because of all the ‘noise’ that might be surrounding a popular artist.

Do your research

Visit as many galleries, exhibitions and studios as they can to build up an understanding of your likes and dislikes. Ask questions and be inquisitive and approach gallery staff for help and advice. If they are passionate about art, they’ll be desperate to impart their expertise.

Don’t forget to drop into public galleries and museums - what you can see there will also help develop your eye. Imagine you have to take a piece from the collection home and then jot down your reasons as to why you made a particular choice.

Look out for rising stars

Discover new talent at art school annual degree shows.  These usually take place in May or June.  Buying work by emerging artists is more risky if you’re looking to collect art as an investment, but is a less expensive option and you might just spot a future art star!

Attend art fairs and open studios

Art fairs enable you to see many different galleries in one place.  Remember that gallery owners will represent more artists than they have space to show on their stands, so don’t be afraid to ask to see more work. Open studio events provide good opportunities for meeting artists and seeing new work.

Keep your standards high

Whatever your rationale and budget for buying art, settling on the highest standard for every purchase should be one of your basic buying principles. Don’t purchase work of lesser quality, just because it’s by a high profile artist. Public galleries are good places to find high quality editions or multiples by established artists at less than ‘market price’. Your purchase will likely be contributing to fundraising efforts for future exhibitions and programmes.

Expand your knowledge

If you are looking to gain a better insight of the art world or are interested in getting expert advice on how to buy and collect contemporary art and craft, why not sign up for a course or join a group or membership organisation such as The Contemporary Art Society? ( Not only will you gain more knowledge, but being part of the bigger picture may give you that push to buy your first piece of art. It could even give you that extra bit of confidence to buy more adventurous artworks by artists you may not have considered before. Aside from the above, it’s also a great way to meet like-minded people who share your interest in the visual arts.

If you like the idea of buying and sharing art as part of a group then The Collective ( might be for you!



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Subject to status. Terms and conditions apply. Applicants must be at least 18 years old. Own Art is an Arts Council England initiative operated by Creative Sector Services CIC, a Community Interest Company registered in England and Wales under number 08280539. Registered address: 2-6 Cannon Street, London EC4M 6YH.

Own Art is funded by Arts Council England in partnership with Creative Scotland and Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

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