Coast tourists pass on high-priced art

| Print |  Email
Thursday, July 23, 2009

Plein air seascapes, colorful blown glass and alluring sculptures beckon to Cannon Beach tourists, but art galleries up and down the Coast are struggling. Higher-priced items are generally not selling as well as in the past, while lower-priced pieces continue to sell — and in the world of art, prices cannot simply be slashed.

“To devalue artwork by offering it at sale price is not fair to the artist or previous collectors who have bought pieces,” says Jeannine Grafton, owner of RiverSea Gallery in Astoria. Like many gallery owners she’s asked artists to bring in smaller or lower-priced pieces along with their regular work.

Grafton has been in the business for more than 30 years and this is the worst slowdown she’s seen. According to Catherine Rickbone, executive director of the nonprofit Oregon Coast Council for the Arts, approximately six of the estimated 125 coastal galleries have closed this year. Sales are flat at the council’s two galleries in Newport.

“We’re doing fine but we’re not growing like we used to,” says Jeffrey Hull, artist and co-owner of The Jeffrey Hull Gallery in Cannon Beach. “It sounds morbid, but you just have to survive; you don’t want to be a casualty.” They’ve seen a drop in business since 2007 but are still making a profit.

Art galleries are an important aspect of Cannon Beach’s economy.

“We are known as an art destination,” says Patty Coomes, co-owner of Haystack Gallery. “It does help to have a very nice beach and a rock for inspiration.”

She estimates their revenue is flat or down this year.

One gallery that has actually profited from the recession is Newport-based CNC Gallery, run by the nonprofit Yaquina Art Association. Most of CNC’s pieces are under $100. Attendance has improved this year and sales were up in June.

Galleries have banded together and gotten creative to attract more customers. Cannon Beach’s 13 galleries have started promoting townwide themes to attract tourists. The Sage Gallery in Bandon is offering art classes and the RiverSea Gallery has created a new series called Artists on Sunday, where people can meet the artist and see a demonstration.

Gallery owners know they’d find more success in a city than on the Coast. But they’ve chosen to sell art in towns such as Cannon Beach and Newport, surrounded by the natural beauty that inspires art.

JENNY FURNISS
 

Comments   

 
Sharon Kelly
0 #1 Art is not just a living - but a passion to make art a livingSharon Kelly 2009-08-17 22:45:40
For Great Artists, such as my husband Ivan Kelly, art is his passion. This economy is hard on artists whose only living is his passion - Great art. There is no choice, but to continue painting.
In Toledo, we are going to have our 16th annual Toledo Labor Day Weekend Art Walk; Sat. Sun. & Monday, 10 - 5 daily. There will be 16 participating artists in 11 locations throughout Toledo. I invite you to visit our website www.toledoarts.info. Be sure to visit our Ivan Kelly Art Studio
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Downtime with the executive director of Greater Portland Inc.

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Janet LaBar, Executive director, Greater Portland Inc.


Read more...

European Vacation

Guest Blog
Thursday, April 23, 2015
norristhumbBY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER

There are winners and losers with a strengthening U.S. dollar.


Read more...

An uncertain future

Guest Blog
Thursday, May 21, 2015
norristhumbBY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER

Uncertainty is a part of doing business, whether in through the lens of investment opportunities and risks or the business of running an enterprise.


Read more...

The ancient fish that stops bullets

The Latest
Friday, May 08, 2015
hagfishthumbBY CHRIS NOBLE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Hagfish may not have evolved much over the last 300 million years, but their protein-heavy slime promises advances in super-materials.


Read more...

It's a Man's Man's Man's World

May 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Male tech workers speak out on the industry's gender troubles.


Read more...

The Road to Reinvention

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Damian Smith bets on changing himself — and Portland — through consulting.


Read more...

Man for All Seasons

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

A longtime technologist and entrepreneur, Dwayne Johnson, 53, is managing partner of PDXO/GlobeThree Ventures, a strategy and business consultancy in Portland.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS