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Art Smart

You want original art for your home, but buying that first piece can be daunting. Fear not: We asked Denver art experts to demystify the process.

February 18 2014, 2:43 PM

PREP » Research galleries at industry sites such as the Denver Art Dealers Association (http://denverart.org), suggests David Smith, owner and director of the David B. Smith Gallery (pictured). Although the prices aren’t listed online, you’ll get a feel for which galleries’ aesthetics align with yours. Then start visiting your favorites. And don’t get intimidated, Smith says: “This is Denver, and pretty much every gallery here is totally accessible.” 

ASK » Find out about a piece’s story, the artist’s background, and the artist’s process, says Barbara Lewis Melick, principal at LewisGraham Art Consultants. Better still, visit studios and galleries and talk to the artists themselves. “The more you know about the piece, the more it means to you.”

WAIT » The art that strikes you immediately might not hold your attention for the long term, says Bill Havu, owner and director of the William Havu Gallery: “Good art takes a little longer to resonate.” If you come back to the piece after a day or two and still love it, you’ll probably enjoy your choice for years to come.

HIRE » In the end, if you still need some help, consider hiring a private art consultant to guide you through the process. Often, they can “check out” pieces from galleries so you can see them in your home before committing.

BUY » If you’ve found the perfect piece but it’s out of your price range, don’t ask for a discount. Instead, discuss the possibility of a payment plan, says Candice Pulliam, principal of the Art Services Company. Many galleries will be happy to oblige.

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3 Denver Galleries For The New Collector

artsmartHelikon Gallery & Studios

One of the newest additions to the River North Art District (RiNo), Helikon mixes gallery space with studio rentals. Browse the current collection or head to the studios to visit with the artists in their natural habitats. 
3675 Wynkoop St., 720-502-5635, http://helikongallery.com

Plinth Gallery

Not all fine art needs a frame. Plinth was founded by ceramics master Jonathan Kaplan; the 3-D pieces here vary from quirky to substantial, functional to sublime.
3520 Brighton Blvd., 303-295-0717, http://plinthgallery.com

The Carson Gallery

This exhibit space for the Art Students League of Denver is your chance to catch a rising star. With a revolving roster of top-caliber student work, it’s the spot to stretch your dollar and start your collection.
760 Santa Fe Drive, 303-778-6990, http://artdistrictonsantafe.com/members/carson


—Photography by David Lauer; shot on location at David B. Smith Gallery; artwork by Don Stinson