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Lansing gallery lets patrons lease original artwork

Photo courtesy of Lansing Art Gallery

An art gallery in Lansing lets patrons lease original works of art, much like you would a car or a truck.

For nearly five decades, the Lansing Art Gallery has let folks lease select pieces of art from their gallery. Now with the gallery's new Lease/Purchase Exhibit people can lease any of the 43 original pieces of art on display for about ten percent of the sticker price:

Catherine Babcock is the gallery’s executive director. She hopes the lease option will help alleviate the anxiety some people feel when purchasing art.

"If you’re not used to buying art, if you’ve only bought it once or twice, it’s a big decision," says Babcock. With the lease program, you can take a piece home and live with it for a while, "find out if really makes you feel like you thought," explains Babcock.

The art work can be leased for up to six months, at which point is has to be returned to the gallery or purchased.

The State News spoke to an artist who likes the Gallery's lease model:

Lansing resident and MSU alumnus Michael Smith, who has two pieces featured in the exhibit, said he has had works leased in the past, and has had a positive experience with the unique system. “I think that every piece I’ve had that someone leased they ended up buying,” he said. “It’s a great way for someone who doesn’t have the cash at the moment but really wants a piece (to get the work).” Smith said even if the leasing of his artwork in this exhibit does not result in a final sale, the experience still will be worth it because the work likely will be exposed to more people than it would be otherwise. “It’s getting seen,” he said. “Even if it goes in as a lease, and they decide they don’t want to buy it, other people have been able to see it, so it’s even more exposure.”

The Lansing Art Gallery kicks off the new exhibit with a coffee and donuts reception Sunday afternoon.

Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and was one of the lead reporters on the award-winning education series Rebuilding Detroit Schools. Prior to working at Michigan Radio, Jennifer lived in New York where she was a producer at WFUV, an NPR station in the Bronx.
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