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Museums that lend you art.

If that bare wall over your mantel seems to beg for the perfect work of art, you might consider art rental before--or instead of--buying. Rental offers some advantages over outright purchase: it's inexpensive, it allows you to change the art on a regular basis, and it lets you live with a particular work while you consider purchase. You can apply some or all of the rental fee toward later acquisition.

Outlets that present juried work by nonmember artists include museum rental galleries and nonprofit art centers. We list four in northern California.

At each you rent work by a contemporary artist for a two- or three-month (renewable) term. The fee is based on assessed value. You sign an agreement accepting responsibility for any damages.

Fresno Art Center, 2233 N. First Street; (209) 485-4810. Hours: 10 to 5 Tuesdays through Sundays. Fee: $9 to $200 for three months. The rental gallery shows oils, watercolors, collages, and photographs by 70 San Joaquin Valley artists in a newly expanded space with 25 sliding panels.

Oakland Museum, 1000 Oak Street; (415) 834-2296. Hours: 10 to 4 Wednesdays through Fridays, 1 to 4 Saturdays and Sundays. Fee: $22 to $160 for three months. Choose from paintings, prints, and photographs by 450 Bay Area artists. Delivery service is available; call for prices.

Redding Museum, 1911 Rio Drive; (916) 243-4994. This year's rental weekends are May 5 and 6, July 28 and 29, October 27 and 28. hours are 10 to 5 Saturdays, noon to 5 Sundays. Fee: $6 to $21 for three months. Glass mosaics, oils, acrylics, and drawings by 60 northern California artists are offered.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Rental Gallery, Building A, Fort Mason Center; (415) 441-4777 or 441-4820. Hours: 11:30 to 5:30 Tuesdays through Saturdays, Fee: $10 to $150 for two months. Located in a dramatic exhibit space overlooking San Francisco Bay, the gallery's selection focuses on new and emerging artists. Delivery service costs $20 per hour.
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Date:Apr 1, 1984
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