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Window dressing

Date published : July 21, 2010 - Windsor, Ontario

The ringmaster of Roncesvalles rifles through his toybox - and has some fun at his new storefront gallery.
 
“Those communities that are richest in their artistic tradition are also those that are the most progressive in their economic performance and most resilient and secure in their economic structure.”   - John Kenneth Galbraith

For years Christian made a living as an artist in Windsor, but like many working artists in Canada and around the world, he is feeling the effects of the economic downturn.

Primary vs secondary art markets: The art market is divided into two main arenas: the primary market, which deals in new work, appearing for first time sale; and the secondary market, which deals with artwork being resold, either by private sale or auction.

Highs & lows: According to the French agency ArtPrice, which monitors markets around the world, Canada’s secondary art market attained a record worth of $57,642,612 in 2007 - but then tumbled sharply in 2008 to $44,301,496, with sales for the first quarter of 2009 totalling $14,449,072.

2008 saw a dramatic drop both in the number of transactions and prices, with prices for high-end artwork dropping by about 30% between November 2008 and the 2nd quarter of 2009. The drop was less marked for work priced at under $5000.

Getting accurate sales figures from art galleries is difficult, but Jean-François Bélisle, director of Canada’s Contemporary Art Galleries Association, confirms that the country’s primary art market has also been hit: “The market began to slow down last autumn, and lots of us had a difficult winter. A number of galleries, particularly in Toronto, either closed or suffered long periods without sales. The good news: the situation seems to be looking up since early summer.”

And the artists themselves? “It’s a pretty resilient milieu,” says Louise Poulin, president of the Montreal-based consultancy firm ArtExpert.ca. “To the extent that they often work within financial limits, artists are already used to working with little – and they will get through this.”

Some facts & figures

1/ About 17,000 Canadians make their living in the visual arts.

Average annual salaries:
  •     Dancer: $13,167
  •     Visual artists: $ 13,976
  •     Musicians: $14,439
  •     Writers: $32,045

2/ New York is home to the world’s biggest art market.

3/ Canada’s most important auction houses for fine art are:

  •     Heffel Fine Art (Vancouver)
  •     Sotheby’s (Toronto)
  •     Waddington’s (Toronto)


Sources: Artprice.com, Cyberpresse
 
Field director
Matt Gallagher

Editor
Miguel Raymond

Director-coordinator

Hélène Choquette

Original score
Robert-Marcel Lepage


© 2009 NFB – All rights reserved
 
Is part of the story:
 
Theme
 
  • Despite the stormy economy, the cruise industry
  • reported a 3.3% increase in passengers in 2009
  • over the previous year.
  • Source: Reuters
 

Comments(1)

Great character!

 

By Michael Grand - Date published: August 2, 2010 - Vancouver, British Columbia

I just discovered this little Christian web series and blew through all 9 eps in one sitting. What an entertaining, inspiring, unique personality. Looking forward to more Christian adventures ... will definitely drop by his shop when I'm in Toronto next!

 

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