Why, How to Start Collecting Original Art

World-renown art collectors, Bernard and Shirley Kinsey

Art collecting is a profitable practice that few people embrace. Huge art and artifact collections like that of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey are filled with original works by key figures in the legacy of African-American culture. Quite literally, the Kinsey’s are the stewards of numerous important African-American works of art and artifacts. Though the bevy of artists in their collection is atypical, it is a testament to the importance of keeping your mind and your pocket open to art.

The Kinsey’s are just one example of well-known African-American art collectors. Civil Rights activist Paul R. Jones, Dr. Walter O. Evans, and Bill and Olivia Cosby are a few others. Certainly these are exceptional examples of middle and upper middle class African Americans of a certain generation who collect, but it brings to light that we do collect art. They each have experienced the financial and personal benefit of art collecting, but the practice is often seen as an activity for ‘the mature middle class.’ The truth is these individuals started their collecting journey as young professionals and some as early as college.

Yet another unrecognized aspect of starting a collection is being unaware of the potential treasures you may already posses, including art by regional or folk artist. Original artwork that is well documented, be it by a student or local artist, intrinsically increases in value. So, check your storage closets and attics for original artwork and start your research. Check for the artist’s signature and begin compiling articles written about the artist or their exhibitions.

Also, conserving the condition of art by getting it framed or properly displayed is important. The more you value your own art, the more valuable it becomes to others.

The popular television show Antiques Roadshow regularly affirms these practices while appraising objects based on principles applicable to art. The adage, “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure,” is true. Capitalize on original artwork donated to another source.

Read more: Aja Roache, Tallahassee


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