Fine Art on the Cheap
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Fine Art on the Cheap

Can't afford an art collection? The AGO will let you rent one.

Caroline Larsen, Moho Beach (2011), oil and canvas on board.

Have you ever hoped to upgrade the art in your house from posters of Starry Night, the Mona Lisa, and bowls of fruit to something more contemporary and local?

The Art Gallery of Ontario’s Art Rental + Sales Gallery offers a surprisingly affordable way to do that. Located at 481 University Avenue, the gallery gives AGO members the opportunity to rent or buy pieces from a hand-picked fine-art collection, for as little as $20 to $50 per month.

The Art Rentals + Sales Gallery began in 1965 as way of raising funds for the AGO’s general operations. The works come from different Toronto dealers, galleries, and independent artists. The gallery has a rotating collection of about 500 works right now, with everything available for rental or sale. Danielle Forest, the gallery’s co-coordinator, says renting is a good way for novices to get into art collecting.

Manasie Akpaliapik, Untitled Face, whale bone vertebrae. Courtesy of Gallery Phillip.

“It’s a great program for new collectors and for new offices or spaces that want to try out artwork before they commit to acquiring any of it,” she said. “We have 30 volunteers who are all part of the program, and they have their ears to the ground in terms of contemporary art in the city.”

The gallery shows four exhibitions each year, including “MERGE,” which runs from March 8 to April 13 and features emerging local artists.