Over the last decade to fifteen years, a growing number of individuals have entered the art market as collectors. This surge is not solely attributed to the rise in artistic output and the emergence of promising artists but is also driven by a heightened recognition of the value of incorporating contemporary art into home spaces.

Furthermore, there is a notable uptick in the acquisition of art for investment purposes, a trend possibly also influenced by recent auctions where works by Malta’s modern art pioneers are reemerging and commanding appealing prices.

“Malta is currently enjoying a vibrant artistic scene with several exhibitions of different genres of art opening every week, and a market that is giving buyers ample choice to invest. As a result, this is also pushing for more artists to consider their art as a full-time profession,” says art historian and curator Dr Charlene Vella.

Dr Vella explains that while an understanding of art remains subjective, most people already know what they like and that buying an art piece as an investment will be an important consideration to make if one is to live with a work of art.

“Having said that, more people are seeking advice when it comes to buying art since they also understand that it takes more than mere good taste to distinguish good quality art, even though good taste is something that can be cultivated,” she explains.

Malta is currently enjoying a vibrant artistic scene with several exhibitions of different genres of art opening every week

Dr Vella also explains that the education system has an important role to play in fostering more appreciation towards art.

“Despite efforts by museums and those working in the cultural industries to be more attractive to local audiences, most families do not visit local museums. And since few parents take their children to cultural activities, it is schools that need to make more of an effort by encouraging outings to cultural events that could spark interest in children who would otherwise have missed out on such opportunities.”

Dr Vella also refers to some of the challenges that artists still face when they want to exhibit and show their work and that with so many exhibition spaces and art galleries offering ample choice and competition, artists must put in more effort to stand out and be noticed.

“It takes more than just talent. Creativity is an important aspect, as well as dedication, the ability to market yourself, choosing a curator, and such. It is tempting today to skip the important steps of intense artistic training with freely available online tutorials. And a trained eye will notice these deficiencies in artistic output.”

Dr Vella also believes that notwithstanding the small local market, there is still ample space for art galleries.

“Several local galleries have stood the test of time, indicating that when there is a well-informed and cultivated person behind that gallery, such a venture can survive and flourish.”

“Corporate companies can also support the art market more tangibly and beyond sponsorships of exhibitions by investing in more art for their offices and boardrooms. In doing so, corporate companies can support young, promising fine arts students, some of whom would also be encouraged to further their studies in fine arts abroad. Commissioning art from artists as corporate gifts would also be another way to support them.”

“Ultimately, art is an artist’s legacy, but an art collection is also a way in which someone can build a personal legacy through which one would be remembered – a legacy that can then be left to be enjoyed by future generations,” concluded Dr Vella.

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