Home is Where the Art Is

Photographer Jen Ritchie holds her camera.
Photo by Pix by Jill

I admire my brother Jon’s walls. Every time I visit him in Brooklyn I come home a little more inspired.

His walls tell a story of someone who has valued art since high school, of someone who has dedicated his life to making art and supporting artists. With degrees in art history and experience working in galleries and as a curator, his pieces tell a story of where he has been, who he has met, and who has inspired him. 

I’ll never forget what Jon said once. He mentioned that he was trying not to use store-bought prints to line his walls. I mean, we all rely on IKEA or Target once in a while, right? But I understood what he meant and gave myself a challenge. Why not fill my spaces with art that means something to me? Why not use my own venues to tell a story of what matters to my family? What artists in my life could I support? Why not adorn my home gallery with our kids’ creations, friends’ talents, local artists, and my own work? 

Filling Our Space with Art that Means Something

So for over ten years, I’ve tried to mix the mass-market pieces in my home with unique pieces from people I love or admire. I have Jon’s pieces all over my home. I have my kids’ art up. I framed a card from a Saira McLaren art show I saw in Manhattan in 2008. It’s just the flyer from the show – but I love it. It means something to me and evokes emotions of that night with family and friends. I have photography framed from childhood friends and my own portfolio. Watercolor paintings by a dear friend line my upstairs hallway. I’ve purchased prints from wildlife photographers I admire. A small painting by my grandmother is in my dining room. 

Did all this cost a lot? No, but these pieces add up to make a space that is uniquely my family’s, and we are surrounded by art we love and reminded of the people we care about. 

Supporting Artists and Making Our Home Galleries Unique

So how can we support artists and make our home galleries uniquely us? First, we can start by just thinking of the people in our lives who make art. Brainstorming the artists in my own circle (in real life and on social media), I can think of painters, ceramists, photographers, quilters, embroiders, knitters, writers, graphic designers, sticker makers, fashion designers, bakers, florists, poets, woodworkers, gardeners, and sculptors. And within each of those genres, there are so many categories!

Now, how do we support these artists? With so many platforms and ways to purchase products now, the options are limitless. Here are a few quick ideas: 

Visit a local art co-op’s show

Shop on an artist’s website

Browse Etsy

Call the artist and request a print

Attend a charity auction and bid on a piece

Like an artist’s post on Facebook

Share people’s work on social media

Purchase a handmade bowl or scarf

Take a writing class at a writing studio in town

Reach out to your favorite painter on Instagram and buy a piece

Share work that inspires you on your Facebook or Instagram Stories

Hire a local photographer to take portraits

Visit someone’s studio and buy the piece that speaks to you

Tell your friends about artists’ work you love 

Think about local artists at holidays and birthdays

Visit art shows and festivals in your town

Showcase local prints at your business

Cater an event by a person you’ve heard good things about

Visit your farmers’ market

Purchase handmade gifts for your staff/co-workers/customers

Even if we just practice a few of these things, slowly over time our home becomes a showcase of work made by real people, not by big-box stores. We fill our space with pieces that identify who we are and what we love, but we also support people who are passionate about what they do with their hands. As I walk through my home, I’m often reminded of Jon’s words, and I’m thankful that each room has someone’s work I love. 

How You Can Support My Work

I’d love to hear how you support local artists and make your home your own. Shoot me a message or leave a comment! And of course, if you’re drawn to it, I would love for you to support my work. You can purchase my prints or schedule a session with me throughout the year, and right now the Winter Lessons Collection, a selection of winter nature prints from the 2020/2021 season, is on sale here: https://jenlritchie.com/winter-lessons-collection/

Jen Ritchie

I'm a nature photographer who loves capturing beautiful landscapes and wildlife from our yearly trips out West and parks here closer to home.


  1. Lynn Hults on February 21, 2021 at 11:15 pm

    Love this idea!!! Of course-meaningful and personal art is best, at least that’s always felt more intuitive to me. I needed to hear these words today as I felt pressure to fill my bare walls instead of waiting for the right piece that’s more special. Thanks for the reminder Jen.

    • Jen Ritchie on February 22, 2021 at 5:44 pm

      You are a very intuitive, intentional person in the way you create your spaces. I always loved being in your home (and your new home someday!). You’ll come up with the right things!

  2. Deborah Roy on February 22, 2021 at 8:30 am

    Wonderful post! Thanks for sharing all of these wonderful ideas! My Dad was an artist, so I was lucky to grow up with a lot of art supplies and materials around the house. He passed 5 years ago and I am happy to have his art desk and brushes and other supplies to display in my home.

    • Jen Ritchie on February 22, 2021 at 5:43 pm

      I love that you get to have his art supplies! I’m sure that means a lot. I love having some of my grandparents’ things around. Thanks for commenting, Deborah!

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