Your unwanted art can score you $1 (and become part of a new exhibition)


For some, purging is easy. Don’t fancy your once favorite jeans anymore? Take them to Goodwill and make space in your closet for something else. But what about art? What do you do when a piece simply doesn’t “speak” to you anymore, or that once sentimental keepsake we were holding onto becomes obsolete?

Through the month of January, one of northeast Minneapolis' most unconventional art galleries, Kolman & Pryor, is hosting a uniquely eco-friendly art swap that will clear space on your walls for the pieces you do love and keep your unwanted works out of the landfill.

Inspired by similar buy-back programs, Art Up-Cycle encourages locals to bring undesired, abandoned, and nonessential pieces to the gallery in exchange for a dollar. You can keep your cherished pieces and any heirlooms collected and passed down over the years, as this event requests only the superfluous canvases that have served their purpose.

“The artworks we are receiving are artworks that people are willing to let go for one dollar each," gallery owner and artist Patrick Pryor explains. "Many contributors have refused the money, and have been satisfied with getting rid of the artworks. One contributor created two artworks on canvas during a drinking and instructional painting event. Another contributor brought in four framed oil paintings that must have been created by a family member many years ago. While they are deftly executed paintings, one can imagine they may have been kept for so many years because of their sentimental value. The artworks we are dealing with do not have any market value.”

In other words, keep the Dali and trade in Aunt Jane’s landscape painting. “We wanted to keep neglected, unloved, and unwanted artworks off the street and give them new life,” says Pryor.

Aside from simply sheltering jilted pieces, this spring the gallery will host an exhibition where the up-cycled pieces will be added onto and re-imagined. For that show Pryor, along with gallery artist Jodi Reeb, plan to use the donated works as a springboard to explore the meaning around art practices, appropriation, and value.


“I am particularly interested in the transformation of existing artworks,” Pryor elaborates. “It raises interesting questions about the validity of altering an existing work. Can the work be made better with altering? Can appropriation elevate the original work?”

For those answers, one can only wait and see. But like a clothing swap can breathe new life into discarded garments, Pryor hopes this collection drive will rejuvenate forgotten pieces, allowing them a future existence within a new context.


Art Up-Cycle

You can hand in artworks for a buck through January 30

Drop-off hours are Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. and first Thursdays of each month from 5 to 9 p.m.

For more info, visit