Time Flies, by Sandra Canning
Time Flies, by Sandra Canning
Photos courtesy of Sandra Canning

Broward Photographer Hopes to Sell Her Work at Walmart: "Art Should Be Available To All"

As many Miami artists fight to prevent Walmart's impending entry into Midtown, one Broward photographer is trying to get her work into the mega store.

Sandra Canning, fine art photographer, has entered Walmart's "Get on the Shelf" competition, which allows people from all over the country to submit a product idea with the hopes of eventually making it onto the shelf. Canning's product suggestion: her original photographs. "Art should be available to all, not just wealthy art collectors," her submission video states.

If she were to get her wish and sell her photographs via Walmart, she promises affordable pieces, maxing out at $100. The process of getting this to happen is simple: "If you like my idea, vote for me," she says, and "If I am selected as a vendor, my art will be sold through Walmart.com." Voting for the competition ends September 2.

Deerfield Pier Morning, by Sandra Canning
Deerfield Pier Morning, by Sandra Canning

An artist actually supporting Walmart might come as a shock for many Wynwood and Midtown-area art lovers, but as Canning puts it, it's all about the customer: "I am not focused so much on Walmart as I am on their customer who simply cannot afford original art through the traditional channels."

"I am inspired by the contemplation of beauty," she says, adding, "I have found immense peace through my pictures, and I feel duty-bound to pass it on." Walmart reaches the masses, so it seems a fitting choice to pass on her passion through the retailer. Though the selection of art available in super stores like Walmart is mostly generic prints of Paris - sometimes in pink with glitter for a little girl's room, because little girls just love Paris - or prints from the greats, like van Gogh or Picasso, chances of finding original photographs from up-and-coming artists are slim. If she wins, Canning hopes to use her platform at Walmart as "leverage momentum" to eventually have her works sold in places like Target, IKEA, and HomeGoods.

III, by Sandra Canning
III, by Sandra Canning

Canning argues that the value of art is subjective, and that selling through Walmart should not cheapen someone's work. "I see Ansel Adams' work in Walmart and Costco. I don't think sales of his signed fine art originals are being devalued." She says the photographs she would offer in her gallery would be different than those she would sell with Walmart; this way, she explains, it will "protect my past and future collectors."

For now, you can buy Canning's photographs via her website; prints range from $200 to $600. "I will always want to have a collection of pieces that are high quality but still affordable to everyone," she says. Canning does admit that an obstacle to make those prices more affordable is the overhead costs of materials, but she's staying positive that the public will love her work enough to get it on the shelf; "of course I am going to win; must stay positive, right?"

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