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Feeling uninspired and want to find a gift that won't be gone by next week? Consider a present that will be meaningful and last: Give the gift of art!

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, you may be considering buying your love the traditional chocolates, flowers, or chocolates in the shape of flowers.

But if you want to find a gift that won’t be gone by next week and are feeling uninspired, consider a present that will be meaningful and last. Give the gift of art!

More specifically, consider local, emerging artists — whether they be painters, sculptors, writers, musicians, dancers, or actors. Not only can you help a young artist with your support, you can also impress your Valentine and create a cool memory.

Why Art Is the Best Gift

One of the best gifts I ever got from a Valentine was a sketch that I had seen months before at a local art fair and fell in love with. I still love that sketch and it always reminds me of the kindness and thoughtfulness of my partner at the time.

Art makes the best gifts — whether it’s books you can read together and talk about or tickets to local plays or performances. Art doesn’t just provide memorable experiences you can share, but it also has an impact on your mind and body. According to a study from the University of Westminster, people experienced a reduction of stress after visiting an art gallery and another study published in Brain Cog found that seeing art activated your brain in complex ways – engaging both the pleasure and reward sectors.

And art can be affordable: You can potentially get a beautiful sketch for under $50, a book by a debut author for under $30, or tickets to see emerging artists at local schools and theaters for $15 to $30. That means you can stick to a budget and give a great gift.

Not Sure What to Get?

The best gift is a thoughtful one, so suit your gift to what your valentine is interested in. Peruse their bookshelves or look at art they already own.

If your Valentine’s a reader

Consider picking up Mandy Lee Catron’s book How to Fall in Love With Anyone: A Memoir, or a book by one of these 17 emerging writers the CBC spotlighted.

If your Valentine loves art

Check out local art fairs with your Valentine to get an idea of their artistic taste, then contact a local artist whose work you think they would like to get a special piece. Or buy a piece from one of these 15 emerging artists.

If your Valentine loves performances

Check to see what’s on around Valentine’s Day and include dance, music, or theatrical performance as part of your date night. If nothing excites you, buy tickets for an event in the future to give as a Valentine’s gift and you’ll both have something to look forward to.

Giving Art Is Multitasking

While art is also a way to better understand ourselves, you can also help create a stronger, more culturally rich community. By supporting an emerging artist, you can help them continue to pursue their dreams.

As if that’s not enough, you’ll bolster your local economy since your Valentine’s Day spending will stay in your community. All in all, that’s a pretty amazing Valentine’s gift. Still think you need roses? Go ahead, but be sure to order them in a colour that matches the painting you bought.