The Cheaper Show Has Art Worth Every Penny

The place to be this Saturday night is The Cheaper Show, the coolest, most egalitarian and original art-buying event in the city.

Collage by Erica Larsen, The Cheaper Show No.9CHEAPER DOES IT | Do you have $200 burning a hole in your pocket? If so, there are plenty of fun ways you could spend it: mani-pedis at Holt Renfrew for you and your BFF; gourmet hot dogs (and then some) for a group of your nearest and dearest at Japa Dog’s new restaurant-style eatery on Robson Street. Or you could buy something that isn’t disposable at all, something your family and friends will also be able to enjoy for years to come: a great piece of original art.

This coming Saturday night I, along with a few thousand other people, will wait patiently outside 151 Cordova Street for the opportunity to go inside and view 400 works of art by 200 (mostly local) artists—and to buy every one of the pieces I love for just $200 each if I’m quick.

The Cheaper Show, which is what this amazing six-hour art-buying event is called, was started nine years ago by local artists Graeme Berglund, Steve “Breadman” Cole and Syx Langeman, who were struggling to get the attention of local galleries. “Inspired by a lack of opportunity,” Berglund says he and his core group of friends organized the first Cheaper Show as a way to reach a broader audience than the South Granville gallery crowd. “We wanted a more accessible environment,” he says, “one where anyone attending could grab a beer, listen to music and maybe buy their first piece of art.” When every piece of work—regardless of size, artist stature or discipline—is seriously underpriced at $200, even the most timid art-buying virgin is likely to bite.

Despite The Cheaper Show’s overwhelming success, with local mainstream art world heavies like Kathleen Bartels and Bob Rennie throwing in their support, Berglund and his crew still manage to keep the evening casual and close to the street. This is a community-driven, seriously energized party with benefits, he says:  exposure for the artists (both up-and-coming and arrived) whose work is for sale and killer value for the buyers (from neophytes to longtime collectors) who take it home.

Come early. Buy lots. —C. Rule

The Cheaper Show Particulars

What: The Cheaper Show No.9
When: Saturday, June 26, 6 p.m. to midnight
Where: W2 Storyeum, 151 West Cordova Street, in Vancouver, between Cambie and Abbott
Cost: Entrance by donation ($5 recommended); all artworks are priced at $200. All payments must be in CASH!
Plan of Attack: Artworks for this event cannot be previewed, so look through The Cheaper Show’s online catalogue to find artists whose work you admire (Vancouver is Awesome has great looking pics), then scope out their pieces at the event.

Photo: Mixed media, “Spring Clean-up,” by Erica Larsen, courtesy The Cheaper Show No.9

  • Cheryl Funk

    Hi I’m a local Artist in Chilliwack and was wondering for next year how to become part of this show ? I went to the show last year and thoruoghly enjoyed myself and would love to become part of it. I’m an abstract artist, mostly ocean/sunset oil paintings. Any info about this wonderful show would be muchly appreciated.

    Cheryl Funk

    • carolannrule

      Thanks for your comment, Cheryl. Probably the best way to go would be to contact the Cheaper crew (see the link for the webiste in the story) directly after the event this Saturday night. I’m sure they are up to their eyeballs just now.

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