Supporter of the Day: Art! Vancouver Interviews Vancouver Art Gallery’s Art Rental & Sales

Supporter of the Day: Art! Vancouver Interviews Vancouver Art Gallery’s Art Rental & Sales

This blog article will write in depth about one of Art! Vancouver’s supporters: Vancouver Art Gallery’s Art Rental & Sales. Come to Art! Vancouver to meet other supporters of Art! Vancouver.

There are over 800 artworks currently in the Art Rental & Sales program, representing a broad cross-section of contemporary art in British Columbia. Artworks include a variety of mediums; photography, painting, drawing and collage, all available to view in their Showroom on the first floor of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Visitors are encouraged to come to the Showroom, pull open the rolling walls and peruse the selection. It’s one of the rare opportunities where people can interact with the artwork in the Vancouver Art Gallery. Their friendly team of professionals will help guide you through the selection and can even make recommendations. The selection can also be viewed on their website (, which is updated daily.

The Art Rental & Sales Program began about 65 years ago by the Associates of the Vancouver Art Gallery. The goal then – as it is now – is to raise money for the institution and the local arts community. The majority of the artists represented are based in B.C, most residing in the Lower Mainland.

Art Rental & Sales consigns original works of art from both individual artists as well as commercial art galleries. Each spring they have an open call for artists and galleries to submit a proposal to the program. The application goes to a committee where artists are chosen to participate. Last year AR&S welcomed 10 new artists from among the 150 applicants. Part of the AR&S mandate is to support young and emerging artists but they also offer artworks by established artists with international careers.

Rental fees can start as low as $10/month and the average is $80/month. AR&S will apply up to three months of paid rental fees to the purchase so you can live with the art before making the commitment to buy. There is absolutely no obligation to purchase – you can rent for as long as you like.

The majority of the money earned by AR&S (over 50%) is given to the artists who consign their work to the program. The remaining proceeds go to the Vancouver Art Gallery to fund other programs such as touring exhibitions, art education and public lectures.

Art Rental & Sales offers free site visits for those who aren’t sure where to begin. Their professional staff will take photos and measurements of your home or office and create a proposal that addresses your needs and budget.

By renting or purchasing artwork through AR&S your rental fees not only allow you to live with original artwork in your home or office, but they also benefit the arts community throughout our province. It’s a win-win situation for clients and consignors and serves as a holistic way of supporting the arts community in British Columbia.

Featured success stories of artists who have been in the AR&S program:

Jessica Bell was accepted into the AR&S program in 2011. She was shortlisted for the RBC Canadian Painting Competition in 2013. While working on her MFA at the University of Ottawa, she also completed an internship at the National Gallery of Canada. Her artworks are now held in many private and corporate collections and their market value has increased as much as 50% since they were first introduced into the AR&S program. Visit the AR&S website ( to view Jessica Bell’s available artwork.

One of Canada’s foremost artists, Bertram Charles Binning also known as B.C. Binning (, has a long history with AR&S. General Manager of the Art Rental & Sales program, Donna Partridge attended a contemporary art auction where two B.C. Binning artworks were offered for sale. On closer examination, she discovered that both pieces were tagged with vintage labels that read “purchased from the Ladies Auxiliary at the Vancouver Art Gallery”. These artworks had sold from the Gallery’s art rental program in the early 1960’s for a combined value of $300. Compare that to the $250,000 the two paintings sold for at that auction and that is an increase of 800% since Binning was first with AR&S.

Testimonials of clients who use AR&S services:

AR&S works primarily with four client bases: private individuals, like you and I, who are building a collection; corporate clients looking at artworks for their offices and reception areas; interior designers and real estate home stagers; and the film and TV industry.

Jennifer Gardy is a scientist working at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control. She is an active member of the Vancouver Art Gallery and sits on the Young Associates Committee. She first used AR&S to stage her home for sale. She also rented and purchased artworks for her and her husband’s growing personal art collection:

What made you decide that it was worth your resources(i.e. time, money) to use AR&S in order to stage your home for sale?

“When it came to staging our place, we were dealing with a HUGE loft (>1600sf) with a lot of big, white, dramatic walls. We only had a small amount of our own art up at the point and the space really needed more to show off its potential. I knew about the AR&S program from being a part of the Gallery’s Young Associates program – I’d attended some of their receptions and artist talks and had always thought to myself “I should use this sometime” – and when it came time to stage, the proverbial penny dropped. The process was so easy – I filmed a little walkthrough of the loft space and sent it to Donna Partridge, along with the names of a few artists in the program whose style really resonated with me. She came up with a plan that fit the space perfectly and incorporated some of my preferred artists and some of her recommendations, and we went with that! We used AR&S’s contractors, Harrison Art Services, to pick up, deliver, and hang the works – it couldn’t have been easier. Time and money were total non-issues – the program is so affordable, and the process was lightning quick, especially when we hired Harrison to handle the installation too.”

What motivates you to rent and purchase artworks for personal use from AR&S(if applicable in contrast to all the other art rental and sale places available)?

“In terms of personal rental/purchase, it’s all about the artists for me. We just purchased two large Jessica Bell pieces for our new home from AR&S and are trying-before-buying a couple of her smaller works. She was an artist that Donna selected for staging our loft, and after going past her works in our hall so many times, they just became a part of the visual fabric of our day. Similarly, we’re also about to buy two other works we’ve rented – two Holger Kalberg pieces. Holger and my husband used to work together and were pickup soccer buddies, which is how we got to know his work. We bought our first piece of his years ago, and when we found out that AR&S had a few more of his from the same period, it was just a matter of waiting for them to come in so we could get our hands on them.”

Christina Bulbrook is a lawyer at MEP Business Counsel, which focuses on entertainment law (TV and Film). She recommended AR&S to MEP:

What about AR&S made you recommend them to MEP(if applicable in contrast to other art rental and sale places)?

“Having previously worked in the film and television production industry, I was familiar with AR&S since set designers and decorators had told me about the service.I found the website to be very comprehensive, and I appreciated that I was able to visit the showroom and view the artwork in person before committing to our final decisions. The artwork that AR&S makes available is of very high quality, and it appeared to me that the process of selecting artists is very thoughtful.”

What do you find outstanding from your experience with AR&S site visits?

“AR&S is very responsive to all of our requests, and incredibly pleasant and professional to work with. Laura and Isabela attended our office shortly after we contacted them, and had a look at the different spaces we envisioned hanging artwork. They understood and were respectful of our budget and timeline, and provided proposed selections in an electronic document that was very easy to circulate to the other decision makers. They arranged for delivery and hanging of the pieces, and we have been absolutely thrilled with the results. We receive frequent compliments about the artwork from our staff and clients.”

Contact AR&S to get started on your project:

Are you staging a house for sale? Is it time to spruce up your home before the in-laws visit? Do you have an empty wall in your office that’s begging for some artwork? Your solution is right here at the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Art Rental & Sales (AR&S). AR&S is always available to answer your questions. Simply give them an idea of what you are looking for or what you have in mind.

For more information visit their website at Monday- Friday, from 10am to 5pm. Free Admission.

Come to Art! Vancouver to meet other supporters of Art! Vancouver. Get your tickets here.

Photo Credit: Rachel Topham at the Vancouver Art Gallery


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