MAWA, or Mentoring Artists for Women's Art, is holding its annual art auction on March 16. It's a great way to get your hands on some really fine works by local artists.

But many people feel intimidated by the idea.

Serena Keshavjee, an art history professor at the University of Winnipeg, agrees. "Art has a certain jargon, a certain language, and not everyone's familiar with that language," she said. 

"I think sometimes people are afraid they're going to make a mistake, they're going to buy bad art, they're going to get ripped off, so there are a number of different obstacles."

Keshavjee offer some tips on how to buy art:

Mentoring Artists for Women's Art MAWA

At MAWA's art auction people can bid on over 120 works of art. (Lindsey Bond)

  •  Get familiar with local artists by visiting local art galleries.
  • Google artists you are interested in to learn more about them. Are they professional artists? Do they have a BFA or MA in fine art? Do they have a professional exhibition record?
  • Winnipeg doesn't have as many commercial galleries as other cities, so it means that local artists are more open and more available. You can actually call up artists, go to their studio and talk to them about their art.
  • Fundraisers for local art institutions are a great way to learn about local artists and to buy work at very affordable prices. MAWA, Border Crossings Magazine and Plug In Inc. all have fundraisers in the next month.

    Mentoring Artists for Women's Art MAWA

    MAWA's Over the Top Art Auction and Cupcake Party (Lindsey Bond)

    All of these fundraisers will have the most important Winnipeg artists, some of them will have the most important Canadian artists, because this is all about supporting the arts institutions. So these events will be filled with fantastic art at really good prices.
  • Winnipeg is an amazing place to buy art. Thanks to Plug In's show My Winnipeg that was mounted in Paris in 2011 and the influence of Border Crossings, the art journal written, produced and edited here, we are internationally famous now for having a thriving art scene. So this is a vital art market and we actually have access to it.
  • Buy what you like and enjoy it. Art is a very stable investment, but it's tricky to predict what artists are going to go up in value. So if you like it, if it's on your wall and your going to enjoy it every day, you're going to get some kind of psychological value.

MAWA's Over the Top Art Auctiona and Cupcake Party is on Sunday, March 16, 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. at The Edge Gallery.