photo of young art collector and pineapple painting by hermine harman

I’m celebrating my 74th birthday today (yay Aquarius!) and thinking back to an art sale from a few years ago. A young 7-year-old girl (with her parents’ help) purchased three of my paintings from the Enchantress Gallery in The Shops at Wailea. The family was decorating their new home on Maui and the young girl was thrilled to select these pieces for her room — and she was on her way to start collecting art!

As those of us enter our elder years, it may be time to think about supporting our younger friends in learning about art, appreciating art, and collecting art. If you’ve read my art story, you know that I started painting decades ago at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, as I was recovering from my only son’s suicide.

Since then, we’ve come to understand how many benefits art can bring into a home or office. It’s not just the abstract concept of decor – which in itself is a major consideration to making a home a place you want to be in! It’s also a nourishing element that serves people of all ages. This article highlights many of the advantages of having original art in your home. Here are a few of my favorite points, and I love imagining my young collector experiencing these things in her bedroom:

  • Handmade Art Showcases the Full Personalities Found in a Home
  • Artwork Inspires Family Members (to Exhibit their Own)
  • Original Art Stimulates Conversations
  • Art Reminds Owners of Places They Have Travelled

Some people who buy original art are intimidated to dabble in creativity themselves. I find the opposite is true for children! Exposing them to art museums and galleries and starting their own collections as children encourages them to play with their imaginations as well as with art materials. In today’s culture, it’s not easy to get kids off their screens. But taking them to see art and supporting them in collecting art, is a terrific alternative to the iPad. When they are given the opportunity to select a piece they like, it helps them begin to understand themselves better.

How to Start Collecting Art for Young People

We heard a story of a grandmother who went into a gallery with several of her grandchildren. She told them they each had $4000 to spend on art. You can imagine how much more thoughtfully they studied the art in the gallery and how much more precious those acquisitions were to them! OK, yes, that was a very generous grandma, but even if your budget is a few hundred dollars, the effect can be the same for your family members.

art quote about non-verbal laguage by artwork archiveI hope you’ll consider this way to help others start collecting art, especially if you’re at a stage in life where you think your walls are full! You may just be able to serve as an artful midwife to the younger people! Help them explore the pleasures of owning art.

My work is especially colorful and accessible to children as it is to adults. I’m also offering some special pricing on my earlier and more whimsical art, featuring mermaids, color bursts, and landscapes. I hope to see you and your family at my Studio Tour during Maui Open Studios Feb 8-9, 2020.

One last point, dear to my own heart. Young people today are under so much stress. Art in their personal spaces can provide an emotional uplift, a distraction from troubles, and a place to dive into that supports problem-solving. Art is also a reminder to all of us that no matter what is going on out in the world, art can be a retreat into beauty and creativity. Sometimes words fail us; but art is always there for us.

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