This article is written for visitors to the Yukon. Most Yukoners already know this stuff. But I hope it will prove entertaining or informative for Yukoners as well.
1.Okay, really? There is only one real reason to buy art. It’s something like love at first sight, when you see a piece of art and something about it strikes you, and you want it to be part of your life.
When I lived in Ontario, I found people would hem and haw, saying, “Wow, I really like this artist, maybe I’ll buy something from her if she’s still around in five years…”
Or, “I think I like this – is there an expert around who can tell me if I should like it?”
I’m exaggerating a little, but here’s my point. People who live in the Yukon have already made a similar aesthetic decision about the Yukon itself.
Maybe this is why they seem less afraid to trust their own personal sense of what is beautiful and valuable than people in other places in Canada.
It is my opinion that making a decision like this, the simple act of trust in your own judgment and desire is an awesome experience to take home from your time in the Yukon.
2. When in Rome … I would bet that you’d find some original artwork on the walls of 80 per cent of Yukon households, even those of low to moderate means. And I think this is a modest estimate.
The piece of art might not be enormous, but it will be there. If you’re travelling here in the Yukon, you may as well try out this aspect of Yukon life.
3. Yukon galleries show quite a lot of accessibly-priced art. This is partly, I think, because normal people, not only the fantastically rich, buy art here.
Prices are what regular folks can afford, and they make the choice to afford it often enough that artists can offer work in that range.
It’s also partly because the local market is bolstered by our visitors. I think very few pieces in any one year, if any, sell for over $10,000, but quite a few sell in the low thousands, many under $500. And lots and lots get sold in the under $200 range, often small pieces that are easy to pack home.
4. No provincial sales tax. Only five per cent GST. That’s a savings of 7-8 per cent right there.
5. Because Yukoners love art and artists so much, they support their government funding arts programs. You get to benefit from Yukon Territorial Government investment in these artists.
Oh, wait a minute. That’s mostly funded from Federal transfer payments. Okay, well, if you’re a Canadian, you already invested in these artists. So you may as well reap the return on your investment.
6. One of a kind Yukon art is the ideal souvenir. The Yukon is an overwhelming experience. Quite a lot of Yukon art is a reflection on that experience.
Perhaps seeing the Yukon filtered through an artist’s eye makes it easier for you to see or apprehend it. Or it just reminds you of the experience you had. In any case it’s the best thing to bring home to extend the benefit of your trip past the return flight or drive.
7. Odds are good that if you want to, you can meet the artist who made the piece you love so much. Artists work shifts at the Yukon Artists @ Work Cooperative Gallery (www.yaaw.com), so you can meet a real live artist anytime you go there. You can check their online “Schedule of Events” to see who will be working shifts when you’re in town.
Failing that, the Yukon Territorial Government creates a publication each year called Arts Adventures on Yukon Time which lists contact information for artists all over the territory, as well as arts events and galleries. You can pick one up at the Yukon Visitors’ Centre on 2nd Avenue.