One person’s castoff is another’s masterpiece

Tired of looking at the velvet Elvis who has been hanging above the couch for decades? Is the blue-period Picasso painting in the living room…

Tired of looking at the velvet Elvis who has been hanging above the couch for decades?

Is the blue-period Picasso painting in the living room getting you down?

Can’t stand to watch those dogs playing poker for another day?

Now is the time to act.

It’s time for a change of art.

The Yukon Art Society is offering local collectors a unique opportunity this week — grab that tired old painting, sculpture or mixed media installation and trade it in for something new.

“Bring in the originals you’ve lived with and loved for years and sell or swap them for new pieces,” said Kathy Piwowar, a local mixed media artist who conceived the idea as a mixer and fundraiser for the society.

“I rotate the art in my house already because I can’t stand to have the same pieces up all the time,” said Piwowar.

So collectors can bring in the works they’re willing to part with.

The pieces don’t have to be framed, but they do have to be unique, said Piwowar.

That means no posters, and only limited-edition prints.

“They don’t have to be expensive but they do have to be art,” she said.

Would Piwowar allow a stick-man doodle on loose-leaf in the show?

“Sure, but good luck selling that,” she answered with a laugh.

Then the works can either be swapped or sold.

If the two owners agree, they’ll simply trade pieces.

Otherwise they can purchase the piece with a cut of the sum going to the arts society — 15 per cent for pieces less than $300 and 10 per cent for those over.

By Thursday morning there were a handful of pieces hanging in the underground gallery, a few prints and a couple of sculptures.

The bulk came from Piwowar’s home collection.

A wide blue-green etching of whales bobbing and diving around ocean cliffs is one of her favourites.

She purchased it at a festival in Florida — the day was so hot and the indigos and ultramarines threaded through the water helped her cool down.

“The deep-ocean feel is better than air conditioning,” she said with a laugh.

But the print has been hanging in her bedroom for a dozen years and she’s ready for something new.

“I wouldn’t take the money and buy groceries with it, the only way I could stand to sell it is if I got different art for it,” she said.

The swap has been going on in the gallery since last Saturday and so far only a few pieces have changed hands.

“This is actually very little activity this time,” she said.

And despite the slow start, Piwowar plans to make the swap an annual event.

She’s already set aside a collection of wooden carvings and a set of tiles from Mexico in anticipation of next year.

The exchange began last week and continues until Saturday in the Arts Underground basement gallery.