Go Deeper

Art for the Cash Poor? Hey, That’s Us!

Posted June 11th, 2010

So, we’re going to have a table at this weekend’s eleventh annual Art for the Cash Poor event! Come say hi at Crane Arts and find out more about this year’s Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe.

From what well does this sea of affordable work (all under $200) from about 120 artists spring, you ask? Eleven years ago, it was the first-ever public event from InLiquid.

“25 artists had 10 pieces each, all under $50,” says Rachel Zimmerman, InLiquid’s executive director. “It was free for artists, free for attendees. It was a great way of making a statement.”

A NYU/Tisch-trained photographer, Rachel started InLiquid to help promote Philadelphia’s visual artists.

“There’s this idea that people don’t really buy art in Philadelphia,” Rachel says. “We need to change that. A lot of people see New York as a place to go in general when they shop. [Philadelphia’s] most high-end boutiques are in King of Prussia, not downtown.

“There are major collectors in the city. A big part is educating people that it’s OK to buy locally. It’s OK that it’s not in New York.”

As an arts community, Rachel says, “we talk about visitorship and ticket sales, but we never talk about art sales. How do you reimagine it and get more buy-in? There’s not a lot of arts press in Philadelphia. When something gets acknowledged [elsewhere] people take it more seriously.”

Art for the Cash Poor has emerged as a social event as well, with visual artists, art buyers, musicians (six bands are performing this year), neighborhood residents, and arts fans from throughout the region catching up over the weekend. Rachel says that the social aspect also lowers perceived barriers to buying art.

“It’s not so hard to buy art. It’s not that scary.” And with prices under $200, Rachel says, “It’s not a frightening amount of money.”

Part of the motivation for Art for the Cash Poor was Rachel’s own experience with the challenge of selling work.

“I was so tired of throwing away photos. I do a lot of palladium and platinum prints. Instead of these things sitting in a box, maybe somebody would want them.”

But this isn’t an inventory of cast-offs. The likes of fiber artist Amy Orr, Space 1026 member Justin Myer Staller, and glass artist Marina Borker will peddle original works. Rachel wants you to come (and we want you to hang out with us), and also take your involvement in the arts to a new level.

“We want people to buy artwork, put it in their homes, and give it a good place to live.”

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Encaustic photo by Leah MacDonald, who will be selling at Art for the Cash Poor.