By Mike Schuh

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — On the eve of Artscape, here’s a question to ponder: Is original art only for those with private jets?

Can an average Joe ever hope to acquire an original painting or a photograph that moves them?

Bruce McKaig thinks so.

“What would simply be other ways to do it?” he asks.

He’s a fine art photographer, and when he needed dental work, he proposed to trade his art for the dentist’s labor.

“If you are interested, I am an artist, and I have lots of work, I’d love to talk with you,” is what he says he suggested.

“Well, it turns out, he’s a collector.”

So the barter benefited both.

That successful experience and his background as an economist has led to Trade 4 Art.

“There needs to be this coincidence of needs and means, the larger the sampling the better,” he says.

It’s an idea for an art competition that he turned into a real, working website: A place where the personal trainer or the welder can trade their services for art.

“I take satisfaction from being able to help people access to the arts regardless their financial or socioeconomic status,” McKaig says.

Right now, about a dozen people have signed up. The official launch is tonight, at an Artscape opening reception in the Fox Building on the MICA campus.

He hopes to have hundreds bartering before long.

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