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The Cheaper Show celebrates 10 years of offering art for affordable prices

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While it is not uncommon to stand in line for hours to get tickets to see a great concert or our beloved Canucks, waiting hours in line for hours to buy art is still something of a novelty. This Saturday, June 25, art lovers are getting ready once again for the 10th installment of The Cheaper Show in Mount Pleasant.

What is The Cheaper Show? It's a one-night door-crasher-style art sale, founded a decade ago by local artist Graeme Berglund. The show has grown substantially over the last number of years and now features 400 works by 200 artists, with each piece selling for a mere $200. With nearly every piece selling well under market value, the organizers have put a limit of three pieces per person.

The old saying that time is money has never been more true than when referring to The Cheaper Show. Kevin Hume held last years most coveted spot in line. After nearly 12 hours of waiting, pacing and excitement, Hume was the first through the doors and picked up three of the most sought after pieces in last years show by artists, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, Fiona Ackerman and Jessica Bell.

"Being first in line at 6am, I thought I was going to be alone for a long time, but the party started early! It was exciting to see so many people out so early - I have no plans on being first this year, but I definitely will be there!" said Hume.

The Cheaper Show has managed gain a lot of praise, but it isn't without criticism. Some critics of the show have noted that both the artists and dealers have struggled in the past with justifying their regular prices, after the same artist has sold works at The Cheaper Show for $200. Other skeptics have noted that while The Cheaper Show is targeted to first time or novice buyers, the pros can also be spotted in the crowd trying to snag a deal themselves.

For Hume, that is not the case. “My wife and I continue to support the artists we’ve bought at The Cheaper Show – albeit, at full price," he said.

Despite the criticism, The Cheaper Show is a great way to showcase local and international talent and provides art lovers an opportunity to purchase original art at a fraction of the price. With so many struggles within the arts community, it is always nice to see that people line up to show their support. Rumor has it that The Cheaper Show is also headed for Toronto in the fall.

There will be a long line to get in and for those who have never been a part of The Cheaper Show here are some tips to make your first time a little easier!

Cheaper FAQ's

Q. When is The Cheaper Show?

A. Saturday, June 25, 2011 (6PM-Midnight)


Q. Where is this year's Cheaper Show?

A. 188 Kingsway Street (near Broadway and Scotia)


Q. How can I find out who is in the show?

A. Go to


Q. Do you have to pay to get in?

A. Yes, $10 / $7 for students


Q. Can I save spots for my friends in line?

A. Depends, but would you really want a bunch of people cutting in front of you? Show respect to the other line-goers and try to all get there together -- it's more fun in a group anyway!


Q. Should I bring a chair or pillow to sit on?

A. Personal choice but those who brought a lawn chair last year were the envy of many!


Q. What if I get hungry?

A. Food carts will be on site and you'll be very close to many cafes in the Main/Broadway area (also why it's good to bring a buddy!)


Q. What time do doors open?

A. 6PM - Midnight


Q. Will I get my top picks?

A. No guarantees, so you should maybe have a couple as a back up just in case someone buys them first.


Q. How many can I buy?

A. Did you not read the article? Three!


Q. Cash, Cheque, Visa?

A. Cash only, but there are ATMs on site.

Think ahead and bring cash the last thing you want is your favourite piece being sold to someone else while you wait in the ATM line.


Q. What happens after doors open?

 A. It's a bit of a mad dash to find the work you want, write down the number and run to the sales desk. The event soon turns into a party, and there is also an official after party. This year’s after party will be at The Electric Owl in the American Hotel (928 Main St). The show will feature performances by Basketball, My Best Friend Wallis, Blood Diamond and DJ Daniel R. Entrance to afterparty is $10 or $5 with a Cheaper Show wristband


Q. Where can I find out more details on the official after party?

A. Facebook Event Page or


Q. Do you take the art home with you on the 25th?

A. No, all art must be picked up on Sunday, June 26th from 1 – 5pm

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