It’s not cash that’s king at the Art Truc Troc in Brussels. Visitors hoping to emerge from the show with an original piece of work in hand will instead need to lean on their negotiating skills and be able to produce an item or service capable of piquing the interest of an artist.

The concept behind Art Truc Troc took shape decades ago, when a group of young artists set out to increase the exposure of their works to the general public. This was achieved, in part, through the use of free exhibition space and the creation of an art gallery, which allowed individuals to rent or borrow items from its collection.

Art Truc Troc today is broad in scope and includes the participation of performing artists and musicians. With the air of a festival, the event attracts thousands of visitors annually. What makes this event unusual is the need to barter with the artist. Visitors interested in acquiring a work place a note next to the item of interest, and the artist, who is usually on site, is free to respond to the offer as he or she pleases. Some of the more interesting swaps made in 2012 included a photograph in exchange for a year of piano lessons, a sculpture in exchange for a two-week stay in a house on a Greek island, and a drawing in exchange for the creation of a website by a web designer.

Art Truc Troc takes place through Sunday at the Centre of Fine Arts of Brussels (BOZAR), Ravenstein St. 23. The 7-euro cost of adult admission includes one free drink. Learn more at

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