How to Start an Art Collection for a Loved One

Houston artist Harold Joiner poses with his original work Bonito by Air. | Photo courtesy of Archway Gallery

In a special 8-part, bi-weekly series—created in partnership with member artists of Archway Gallery in Montrose—we’re pleased to feature a selection of artists’ tips, recommendations, and perspectives on connecting with art, beginning your own collection, finding affordable art, and more. In the series‘ sixth entry, Houston artist Harold Joiner offers tips on giving the perfect art collection starter piece to friends or family.


Looking for a unique holiday gift for that person on your list who might not appreciate a new pair of socks or a new kitchen gadget?

Among all the gift ideas you’ll read about this holiday season, here is one that’s an absolute stand-out: gift them a starter piece for an art collection.

Everyone appreciates art of some kind, so don’t give any thought to the idea that this is not practical or that it’s risky. Embrace the idea that it’s a unique gift that no one else will give!

How to Choose an Art Gift for a Loved One

Having made the decision to gift an art collection starter, here are a few points that will make the shopping easier.

First, draw on what you know about your gift recipient’s interests and passions. Do they like fashion, interior design, or cooking? Do they like the outdoors, carpentry, or photography? For the first, the best art gift might be a drawing of the human figure, an abstract painting, or a beautiful piece of pottery. For the second, it may be an animal sculpture, a landscape painting, or a work made from wood.

Now, consider what you know about your love one’s home, and how your purchase will fit into it. Maybe you have an idea where it will look best or the space you’re looking to fill.

Consider how much you are willing to spend and let this guide you to the places to start your search. Set a price range, but be flexible so you can find the perfect collection starter.

Lastly, think about your recipient’s ability—financial or otherwise—to continue collecting this kind of work.

As you present your gift, make the point that it is intended as a starter; something to build upon. You may even include a short personal note to this effect and indicate your desire to know about future additions to the collection.

Where to Find & Buy an Art Gift

You might ask yourself, “There are so many galleries and other venues selling art, where do I start?”

It’s a reasonable question, so survey the local galleries online first to see which ones sell the kind of works you’re seeking. Art-collecting.com is a good place to browse art gallery websites. Most art galleries do not list artwork prices online, but you can usually inquire about the price via the website. Beyond that, look for venues that do have published price—including our own Archway Gallery.

Art gallery websites that sell directly make it easier for you to see how the available works fit within your price range and to make the purchase the very moment you spot the right piece. That said, it’s also a good idea to see the artwork in person before purchasing. That allows you to see it in its frame, for example, or to view all angles if it’s a three-dimensional piece like a sculpture.

Giving Authentically

Keeping in mind that this is an original work of art, you should insist on a Certificate of Authenticity with your purchase. Indicate to the gallery that it will be a gift, so that the price will not appear on the Certificate.

Presenting the Certificate with your gift underlines its unique nature and the depth of your feelings for its recipient.

Elevating local art and supporting the Houston art scene for 46 years, Archway Gallery is the longest-running artist-owned gallery in Texas. Stop by the Montrose gallery, meet an artist, and learn about owning original, local art. Plan a visit to the gallery or learn more.

Harold Joiner is enjoying his tenth year as a member artist at Archway Gallery, after a long career in architecture. His paintings are inspired by landscape and historic places, especially his native state of New Mexico.

Learn more about Archway Gallery and explore its current and upcoming exhibitions.

Local artist Harold Joiner poses with his original work Bonito at Low Light. | Photo courtesy of Archway Gallery

This series has been created in partnership with and sponsored by Archway Gallery. Per our advertising and sponsorship policy, we only accept sponsored content from organizations that meet our editorial standards and truly present a valuable activity, event, resource or destination for residents and visitors across the greater Houston area. Advertising revenue helps support 365 Things to Do in Houston, and our contributors, allowing us to expand our coverage of activities and events around the Houston area. Learn more about promoting your event or business

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After a long career in architecture, local artist Harold Joiner became a member of Archway Gallery in 2012. His paintings are inspired by landscape and historic places, especially his native state of New Mexico. Archway Gallery on Dunlavy Street in Montrose has been elevating local art and supporting the Houston art scene since 1976.

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