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Giving art as a gift takes thought and carries emotion with it

Oil painting by William Dickerson. Circa 1921
Curt Clonts
Oil painting by William Dickerson. Circa 1921

During the holiday season several years ago a close family friend showed up at the house with a gift. It was a painting by William Dickerson, the great Wichita artist who had passed some years back. Our friend had purchased this canvas and had remembered that we have a real love for Dickerson’s work, and so he brought it to us. I was speechless. An absolutely splendid painting, but more importantly for us, the gift came from the heart.

Art makes a superb gift. It takes real thought and carries emotion along with it.

If this idea sounds grand to you, here are some ways to look at art and find the work you might wish to give.

Buying art from locally owned businesses is always a plus. Wichita galleries offer a wide selection of great local work with an array of prices to match your budget. There are also retail stores which offer locally made art for sale.

My favorite way to buy art is to purchase directly from the artist. You can usually find a web site for the artist or find them on a social media outlet like Instagram, where they often post photos of their work. Ask to visit their studio. If they paint, ask them to see sketches or studies they may wish to sell as these are very interesting and may be plentiful. If they sculpt, ask to see maquettes they might part with. Photographers and textile artists usually have slide drawers with examples of work.

A studio visit allows you to get to know an area artist and make a deal that is always rewarding for you, the artist, and most especially, the person receiving the art.

And—NEVER be intimidated—an area artist is always more than happy to make a sale!

Happy holidays!

Curt Clonts is a Wichita-born artist who volunteers as KMUW's art reviewer. When Curt isn’t working in his College Hill studio he is usually spending time with his wife, kids, and grandkids. He also spends the spring and summer months kayaking and camping.