I hear a great deal of people complaining about their High Street and lack of variety, one high street is the same as the other these days. Some of these same people buy cheap prints and mass produced artwork on ebay, and cheaply created art from Asia and Africa whilst on vacation and then wonder why their local gallery has closed.
There will always be a place for a well run gallery on or around the High Street and there are some great ones too. However with the high cost of retail space and the growth of online shopping they are becoming thin on the ground. What we're left with is high priced limited edition prints from celebrities masquerading as artists.
In truth it's just a way for art publishing houses to make a great deal of money from celebrity culture. Very often convincing you that a print for upwards of £400 is a great idea. Sure it is if you have that kind of money to waste on something that is not unique and might very well be on your friends wall too!
It's not all bad news though, more artists and galleries have an online offering, and if you're buying art direct from the artist on their website it is considerably cheaper than doing it through a physical gallery which adds 40% commission on top. There is more variety too, webspace online is unlimited to display artworks whereas in a physical gallery you only have a limited wall space.
So there is a simple message here, you can't change your High Street back to the way it was. However, you can support genuine artists by buying direct from them rather than putting money into the shareholder pockets of the large publishing houses.