Sacramento art galleries open despite ugly economy

SACRAMENTO — Nobody's painting a pretty portrait of today's economy.

But that hasn't stopped a number of intrepid business owners from launching what would seem the riskiest of ventures: art galleries. At least four Sacramento-area galleries recently opened, or are planning to this month.

Frame it as a tough sell. As consumers scrimp on everyday expenses, spending on luxuries such as $2,500 paintings is increasingly put on hold. Even the affluent are cutting back on overall art purchases – buying 11.2 percent less between 2007 and 2008, according to a recent study by Stevens, Pa.-based tracker Unity Marketing.

Folsom photo gallery owner Larry Young, 61, knows that firsthand. In June, the first month operating his Riley Street shop, he had plenty of browsers but few buyers. Total sales: $600.

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