This perspective presents recent surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) studies of dyes, with applications to the fields of single-molecule spectroscopy and art conservation. First we describe the development and outlook of single-molecule SERS (SMSERS). Rather than providing an exhaustive review of the literature, SMSERS experiments that we consider essential for its future development are emphasized. Shifting from single-molecule to ensemble-averaged experiments, we describe recent efforts toward SERS analysis of colorants in precious artworks. Our intention is to illustrate through these examples that the forward development of SERS is dependent upon both fundamental (e.g., SMSERS) and applied (e.g., on-the-specimen SERS of historical art objects) investigations and that the future of SERS is very bright indeed.