Written By Sarah & Brad Butler. Butler of Main Street Arts
Reprinted with permission from Main Street Arts | Get To Know Us blog series | Copyright 2020
Brad and I have what I think is the start of a really great art collection hanging on the walls of our home. Being the directors of an arts organization that hosts several exhibitions per year gives us the chance to see all types of work from new and familiar artists all the time. Sometimes we can’t let a piece of art leave the gallery unless it’s in our car and on its journey to our house. (Okay, maybe not sometimes…maybe often.)
We have many pieces in our collection that we’ve acquired from our Main Street Arts connections including work shown in exhibitions, work from our gallery shop artists, and pieces from former artists in residence.
Hanging in area of our stairwell is a drawing of our four-legged kids by July/August 2019 resident Geena Massaro that hangs below a Robert Marx painting that was included in his two-person exhibition in 2017. In another area, a painting of mushrooms by October/November 2018 resident Emily Tyman is paired with a painting by Jim Mott that was included in the Upstate New York Painting Invitational at Main Street Arts in 2017 and a ceramic sculpture by Autumn Hasthor, a now RIT alum, who had her BFA show Sewn Solid on the second floor of the gallery in 2018. Also included in the grouping, a ceramic sculpture by Lane Chapman (a former resident at the Flower City Arts Center) and a RoCo 6×6 featuring an elegant little glass mushroom by Sage Churchill Foster whose work is regularly featured in the gallery shop at Main Street Arts.
The mantle in our living room features a mixed media piece by July 2017 artist in residence Cathy Gordon, alongside one of own Brad’s paintings, and a vessel by Rochester artist Peter Pincus from his solo exhibition at Main Street Arts in 2014. Also on the mantle: a tiki sculpture purchased from a Hawaiian artist working on the street in Lahaina, Maui from our honeymoon in February 2008, and a Mata Ortiz vessel by Mexican artist Octavio Silveiro which we acquired on a trip to Mexico in 2017.
Main Street Arts is a wonderful resource in finding new and inspiring works to add to our personal collection, but we also love to find pieces to add when we visit other local arts organizations. Every year we attend the Flower City Pottery Invitational at the Flower City Arts Center, the Memorial Art Gallery’s Clothesline Festival and Fine Craft Show, and exhibitions at Rochester Contemporary including their 6×6 exhibition.
We’ve acquired several cups from our annual juried exhibition The Cup, The Mug at Main Street Arts, as well as from the Flower City Arts Center, The Memorial Art Gallery, trips we’ve been on, and we even have a collaborative mug from August 2018 Main Street Arts residents Maliya Travers-Crumb and Jill Grimes. In addition to cups and mugs, we’ve started adding some beautiful bowls to our “cup cabinet” including work by ceramic artists Sang Joon Park and Kaete Brittin Shaw, and glass artist Nicolas Kekic—artists we were introduced to at the 2018 and 2019 MAG Fine Craft Show. Our collection is quickly outgrowing this space and I don’t see it slowing anytime soon!
We also like finding gems from smaller galleries or artist studios. Last year we purchased this really wonderful piece by Pete Monicelli from his exhibition at Colleen Buzzard’s studio. It’s still waiting to be framed so I haven’t been able to fully appreciate its beauty as a part of the collection hanging on our walls yet, but I knew when we saw it that it would make a wonderful addition.
We collect art because the work speaks to us in some way and reminds us of connections we have with the artists who created them—the reminders of residents who spent time with us at Main Street Arts, hot dog lunches and studio visits with Robert and Francie Marx, or a special vacation where we met the artist working on his or her craft. I wish that I could showcase each piece of art or grouping on our walls, but it’s hard to do because there is so much to say about each piece and the stories made when they are seen together in our home.
For me, living with original art is a personal requirement right after food and shelter. I know that my quality of life would suffer without the variety of art objects I interact with every day. Working from home during this pandemic has made this even more clear.
As I make my way downstairs at the start of each day, I am greeted by so many thought-provoking paintings, photographs, sculptures, drawings, and prints.
Any beverages I drink each day, from cups of coffee to glasses—or ceramic tea bowls—of wine, have been made by an artist I know or whose work I admire. I have favorite cups and mugs in our collection but I find such joy in using a different cup every day.
Where and how artwork is hung is important. I like to install the work in our home as I would in the gallery and enjoy bringing seemingly different kinds of art together in close proximity—this is an added benefit when you live in an old house. The walls of our own personal exhibition are always evolving. When something new is acquired, it finds its place next to pieces that we have already lived with for years.
Continuing to add new artwork to our walls will often present new ways to view the work and I will notice new things. A new way to perceive the composition, a color that stands out differently on a particular day, or a new personal meaning to the piece.
I know that my tendency to like certain types of artwork is informed by my own aesthetics and motivations as a painter. I like the blurred lines between my roles as a curator, collector, and artist. Sarah’s interests and background as a graphic designer play an equal role in the art we collect and I love the way we continue to influence each other’s taste in art.
Sarah Butler is a graphic designer with a BFA in graphic design from Rochester Institute of Technology and an MPS in the business of art and design from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Sarah runs the business-side of things at Main Street Arts and does all of the graphic design work for the organization. She also manages our bookstore, Sulfur Books.
In addition to being Main Street Arts Executive Director and Gallery Curator, Bradley Butler is an artist who makes atmospheric, abstract paintings. He has an MFA from Rochester Institute of Technology and is a native of the Finger Lakes region. Bradley has been with Main Street Arts before the renovations to the building were completed. He selects, curates, and hangs all of the exhibitions at Main Street Arts and is working to continually expand our program offerings.
by Rome Celli
Reprinted with permission from Art House Press | Copyright 2018
There are probably as many ways to collect art as there are collectors. Collectors bring unique goals, methodologies, biases, predilections, responses, backgrounds and budgets to their endeavor. Some art collectors are mindful while others end up with a collection more‐or‐less by accident. Many collectors discover the theme(s) in their collection long after they’ve begun buying art. Most collectors – including me – buy the work so they can enjoy it in their most intimate space: home. Only one of the people I interviewed for this article told me they think of themselves as art collectors even though all have purchased countless works of art over time. I wasn’t surprised. Most people who own art don’t self‐identify as collectors. They told me they buy art for personal reasons as though actual collectors are motivated strictly by calculated financial, intellectual, professional or academic interests. This isn’t surprising either. Not many mere mortals can live up to the stereotypical image of Art Collector.
When the average person thinks of collector‐types they conjure one or more of the classic caricatures: Those select few with money‐to‐burn piling up expensive art objects alongside other extravagant hobbies; investors with hermitically sealed storehouses of art treasures ready to cash in or pay out when the auction gavel falls; obsessive art hunters armed with tightly clenched lists of works prized for their incremental contribution to a body of related collected works; social climbers who slather their lives with high profile artworks to impress. Put another way - most people don’t think they own enough art, spend enough on art or purchase art for the right reasons to be considered a REAL collector. However, if you ask me, whether or not you are willing to admit it, if you own original artwork, you are a collector in some form or fashion.
I have collected for more than thirty years. The objects in my collection were chosen because they stimulate, challenge or provoke me. They engage my aesthetic sensibilities. They evoke meaningful memories and deep emotions. Most also bring to mind my relationship with the artist. I believe the objects I own have something important to say that will be revealed over a lifetime.
Artwork may be found throughout my home and office. Pieces are placed on horizontal and vertical surfaces where I can experience them. Some pieces are set carefully aside nearby so that they may be rotated into view when I’m ready to re‐engage, while others are taken out of rotation when other works call. A work of art rarely remains in one spot for long. When I move a work – even from one area to another in the same room ‐ it comes to life again and the relationship is refreshed. These works are not decorations; they are part of my everyday existence.
I have many rules around collecting, too many to chronicle in detail here. I’ll share one rule: I never buy a work of art I see for the first time unless I am familiar with the artist and I have seen their work over time. I process slowly. It takes time for me to build a relationship with the work; to find out if it resonates. I usually like to meet the artist in person at their studio or wherever their work is on display so I can get a sense of the artist’s methods and ideas. (Sadly, some artists don’t respond to my inquiry and that makes it hard for me to feel comfortable purchasing a work of art.) In addition, I’ll also do some research. If the work stays with me, I’ll go back to see it at least one more time before I make a final decision. Occasionally, I find myself drawn to the artist’s vision, but I’m not ready to buy – for whatever reason. Then the artist goes on my wish list. The process from first contact to completing a purchase can take anywhere from a few days to a few years. On the other hand, when I know the artist and I am familiar with their work I can move quickly.
If you are an artist reading this article, I encourage you to respond promptly to all inquiries. Don’t be afraid to engage non‐artists. Invite them into your world. Share your ideas and your passion freely. You don’t have to “sell” the work. The more people who know about you and your work, the more they will appreciate it. Appreciation for your work will lead to sales. Don’t be discouraged along the way. Each inquiry, each interaction, is a new opportunity.
For the past several weeks – at the request of this magazine ‐ I’ve talked to other art collectors about their collections, why they collect and how they collect. I also asked them if they had any advice for emerging collectors. The following is what I learned.
Amanda Chestnut is decisive.
She doesn’t have to linger long in an exhibition before she knows which pieces rise above the others. She has a trained eye resulting from advanced degrees including an MFA from the Visual Studies Workshop. Beyond her formal education, she has on‐the‐ground experience as an arts administrator and years as a practicing artist – added together, you get a well trained eye. Her professional life and her private life are suffused with art. It’s always on her mind. She doesn’t have to work too hard to find opportunities to experience art let alone to be exposed to art buying opportunities. Her art acquisition budget is modest and her wall space is limited, so new pieces have to be pretty strong to make it into her collection.
Amanda grew up in Binghamton, New York ‐ about 60 miles south east of Rochester where she currently lives and works. She’s of African and European descent. Hang around her long enough and you’ll probably hear her refer to herself as a “little Italian grandma.” She has a big welcoming smile and a compelling personality. She speaks with confidence and conviction. It’s easy to be drawn into a deep and often intellectual conversation with her.
It’s rare for Amanda to pro‐actively seek out new work for her collection. She tends to see exhibitions during the normal course of her life. When she sees a particularly strong work by an artist she respects that is priced in her range she’ll take out her wallet. On occasion she’ll trade works with another artist. A personal connection to the artist is nice but it’s not required. The work needs to stand on its own and because space in her home is so limited, it must be “wall worthy”.
Her collection doesn’t have a particular focus in one area or another, one medium or another or one style or another. When a new work comes into her collection it isn’t usually installed right away. Once a work is hung it tends to stay where she puts it. So, she’s careful before she starts measuring and hammering. Amanda’s advice to emerging collectors: Trust your judgement. Don’t buy a piece of art because you expect it to go up in value. Buy art because you are engaged by the work, because you are provoked by the work and because you are inspired by the work. If you do this, you will never regret your decision.
Jennifer Miglioratti is impulsive.
Jen’s been plugged into the Rochester music and art scene for decades buying work off the walls of clubs, galleries and arts organizations. Certain works will grab her attention and she buys based on impact and instinct. She doesn’t so much acquire a work of art as pounce on it. Jen is a native Rochesterian and grew up in the southeast area of the city near University Avenue. Educated under the watchful eyes of nuns through high school, she studied graphic arts and communications in college. She currently leads the communications department of a prominent real estate development company, LeChase Construction, Inc. Jen is a single mom working in a male dominated environment. She thrives because she has a take charge personality. She works with photographers, writers, graphic artists, and performers. In addition, Jen is responsible for choosing the artwork displayed at the LeChase Construction offices. Making sound, effective and creative decisions is an everyday occurrence for her.
We met recently at Fifth Frame Brewing Company in downtown Rochester on St. Paul Street at just about the same coordinates as a former bar called Club Zero where we crossed paths thirty years earlier. Jen is an animated conversationalist and she engages with a forward momentum that melts time. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her as she bobbed and weaved her way through the answers to my questions. While her art acquisition budget isn’t as restrictive as some, like most people the size and configuration of her living space imposes a harsh discipline on her collecting inclinations. Normally once a work is installed in her house it stays put. However, she recently moved into a new home and that has given her the opportunity to rethink and then rehang her collection. In the process, she identified some prime display space for new acquisitions. She’s in the hunt!
Jen’s collection includes paintings, weavings, drawings, photography, prints, as well as functional and fine art sculpture. Her aesthetic impulses lead the way. Jen has at least one hard and fast rule about buying art that she was willing to share, “I don’t negotiate the price of artwork with artists. I can either afford the work or I can’t.”
Jennifer’s advice to emerging collectors: Instead of buying impulsively (like me) take your time. Think deeply and look at a lot of art before you buy. Enjoy the process of finding the right artwork for your wall, your collection and your life.
Jeana Bonacci‐Roth Is emotional.
For Jeana collecting is all about the emotional connection she feels to the work and to the maker. It can take her awhile before she purchases a new work of art. She needs some time to allow the work to seep into her – to get into her heart and under her skin. If she doesn’t know the artist, she’ll reach out to the artist, whether the artist is local or not. However, if the work or the artist is local, she does give it special attention. When she buys a piece of art it’s a lifetime commitment.
Jeana is a graduate of SUNY Purchase with a master’s degree in literature. She’s married to a restaurateur, an artist and a collector in his own right, John Roth. In recent years she has been exploring her interests and skills in the visual arts realm by making and collecting art. The very first public exhibition of her own artwork was this past fall at Lovin’ Cup in Henrietta near the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Jeana has collected aggressively for the past three years or so. During that time she has accumulated quite a bit of art, buying mostly from artists directly. She does not feel at all constrained by the available wall and floor space in her home. If she feels the emotional connection, she buys. It is not her goal to accumulate some particular number or type of artworks. Her collection is growing and happening organically; she loves that fact.
The work in her collection is hung salon style: floor‐to‐ceiling. She has a fair amount of work stored around the house as well, waiting for her to choose the best spot for its display. It can take her a fair amount of time to choose the right place to hang work. How does she decide? She considers the relationship between the individual piece and the available spaces, the surrounding works, the purpose of the space, the light in the space and so on. Once the work is hung it’s there for good unless, heaven forbid, she moves.
Jeana’s advice to emerging collectors: Allow yourself the space and time to get to know a work of art before you buy it. Don’t be afraid to talk to the artist or visit the artist’s studio. If you’re in a gallery and the artist isn’t available, talk to the gallerist. Give yourself permission to buy art. You’ll love it!
Rebecca Rafferty is sentient.
To be more accurate Rebecca is acutely sentient and profoundly verbal. She is an art critic as well as the Arts & Entertainment editor at City Newspaper in Rochester, New York. One would expect these traits from a professional art critic and editor. Still, when in the presence of Rebecca discussing art and Collecting, it was easy (for me) to become a bit light‐headed. I was out of my depth and I admit I’m a fan ‐ a huge fan ‐ of her writing. I nearly swooned.
Rebecca was raised in Rochester. Her mom, Bev Rafferty, is a well‐known painter who has exhibited extensively in the region. Rebecca graduated from Nazareth College. She was taught by the likes of Ron Netsky, Kathy Calderwood and Maureen Brilla among other notable and accomplished artist‐educators. She reached an academic crossroads at one point and chose a path focused more on writing about art than making art. Yet, she is an avid maker as well as a gifted writer. Some of the work in her collection comes from trades and co‐commissions with other artists.
Although by her own admission Rebecca experiences darkness on occasion, there was a playful sparkle in her eyes when we sat across each other in front of Cure restaurant at the Rochester Public Market. She thinks of herself as a “punk‐rock‐beer‐and‐whiskey” sort of person. This is apparent in her general affect which I see as an updated mid‐1960s SDS/Velvet Underground vibe. The pall itself is only vaguely present in the way her cigarette hangs from her mouth and it dissipates quickly whenever her trademark impish smile emerges.
Rebecca has what she describes as a fairly large collection of art. Multiple interests drive her collection. She is drawn to work that depicts wolves or other wild animals – particularly when the animals engage or are otherwise in conflict with humans. She is also drawn to mysteries of the moon and dark fantasies akin to Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. Her political interests are never far removed from her mind or her collection. So, it’s not surprising to find out that a good bit of the work she collects is either explicitly or implicitly political. The spirit of David Bowie is also a presence in her collection. Like Jeana, she hangs the work salon style in her home. Lately, she’s looking forward to an upcoming move that will give her the chance to reassess and then reinstall her collection.
Rebecca’s advice to emerging collectors: Art is not a frill. It’s an essential element of the human experience. Owning art – living with art – will enrich your life.
Rome Celli is a co‐organizer of RochesterArtCollectors.org along with Sarah Webb.
By Jeanne Beck
Reprinted with permission from Owl Light News | Copyright 2018
To some people, the words “collector” or “art collection” seem like they describe those with great wealth who pay thousands and thousands of dollars to purchase art. But that’s much like thinking everyone who enjoys a game of basketball at the YMCA is an NBA player.
Anyone can develop an interest in and appreciation for original works and start to build a collection slowly, over time.
Lauren Behelfer is definitely one who fits that category. A third generation jeweler in the family-owned Crown Jewelers in Downtown Canandaigua, Lauren works daily with color and design. In addition, she has always appreciated the visual arts, from the art classes she took in high school to her ongoing interest in photography.
About 15 years ago she visited the Waterfront Art Festival, where she purchased a lithograph print. Lauren says. “It was a framed, signed and numbered print of a tree and I love trees.”
However, with a busy life and career, Lauren didn’t purchase any other art works for a long time. “I’m not a person who goes to galleries or art openings,” Lauren explains.
Then three years ago Crown Jewelers displayed works by one of the participating artist competitors in Canandaigua’s Plein Arts Competition & Festival. When she went to that first Preview Party & Awards Ceremony, she fell in love with a painting by Elena Babak. The artist had painted a scene of cows in a pasture with the sun rising behind them. “The light and the scene spoke to me. Plus I loved how the parts looked a little blurry close up but when you backed away the images truly started to look realistic.”
Lauren returned to the festival for the second time last year. She decided she would only purchase a painting if it truly felt special to her. And sure enough, a painting by Beth Bathe of a “creepy old house” in Naples, reputed to be haunted, captured her imagination. She bought it immediately. “I only buy when something really moves me and I am certain I will want to look at it for a long period of time.”
This year, Lauren returned a third time to the 7th Annual Plein Air Festival Preview Party & Awards ceremony. Waiting in the long buffet line, she had the opportunity to chat with two artists. She talked to them about how the competition went for them this year as well as about the scenes they chose to paint.
One of the artists was Yung Hong Zong, a watercolorist from Portland, Oregon. This was his third year attending the Plein Arts Competition & Festival. She loved his painting of Grimes Glen and found out during their conversation that he had wanted to paint the scene the prior year, but ran out of time. This year he made sure he went to the creek early enough in the week to complete the painting. Lauren bought it right away.
Lauren enjoys talking with artists before she makes a purchase. Three years in a row the artists have told her the paintings she has felt most drawn to are their favorites as well. She acts quickly when she sees one that feels special to her. She saw people walking around the festival display making notes in their catalogues but she took the “he who hesitates, loses” approach and made her decisions quickly.
She will go to next year’s Plein Air Festival again. “These artists have such amazing talent. I may not call myself a collector, but I do appreciate beauty.”
Even though Lauren doesn’t spend all her time searching out art works to purchase, she is building a growing collection of original art works that are meaningful to her. It gives her great happiness to look at them. “I can see and enjoy all three every night because they’re all in my living room.”
Even if Lauren never decides to consider herself a collector, she is purchasing original works of art, supporting the work and creativity of others – and filling that need we all have inside for beauty.
Jeanne Beck is a mixed media artist and owner of Jeanne Beck Art Gallery & Studio, 154 Mill St., Canandaigua, NY. The gallery features periodic regional guest artists, classes and workshops as well as original works. Open Wed 12-4:30, Thurs-Sat., 10-4:30. 585-704-6419.
by Jeanne Beck
Reprinted with permission from Owl Light News | Copyright 2018
No matter how small or large your income is, you can become an art collector!
Many art collectors say their first purchase happened almost without thought or planning. They just saw a work they loved and bought it. Their pleasure in that piece led them to explore and add another piece…and then another one.
Make it a goal to pick a work you love this month and find out all you can about the processes and medium the artist uses – and perhaps other artists working in a similar medium. If possible, purchase one piece by that artist, bring it home and place it somewhere you can see it and engage with it every day.
Try getting to know more about an artist you really like. Visit their websites online to see their other works and artist statements. You might even consider contacting them and setting up an appointment for a studio visit. You will enjoy it and learn so much; most regional artists are interesting and approachable people.
This week I bought a new artwork called “Out with the Old,” by printmaker Pat Bacon. I was drawn to her images the minute I walked in the door of Main Street Arts in Clifton Springs on Saturday. The gallery director, Bradley Butler, was extremely helpful, explaining the photogravure process the artist uses to make her prints. The work I loved best was already sold, but Bradley showed me other pieces there just weren’t room for in the main gallery show. I bought it and was able to bring it home the same day!
Jeanne Beck is a mixed media artist and owner of Jeanne Beck Art Gallery & Studio, 154 Mill St., Canandaigua, NY. The gallery features periodic regional guest artists, classes and workshops as well as original works. Open Wed 12-4:30, Thurs-Sat., 10-4:30. 585-704-6419.
After just a few short weeks of reaching out to the Rochester community Rochester Art Collectors recently achieved a membership milestone when Morgan signed up on March 13th and became of our 100th member.
Morgan found out about Rochester Art Collectors when she was tagged in a Facebook post on our page by a friend who knew she'd be interested in the group.
We asked Morgan to describe herself and this is what she wrote...
Hi! I’m Morgan.
This picture collage pretty much sums up what I do and what I enjoy.
I moved to Rochester about 11 years ago after traveling around Upstate NY, California and Delaware. I have a degree in Art Therapy and Baking and Pastry Arts. I currently find myself teaching bread production. When I'm not at work you can find me hiking in our local parks, taking waaaayy too many pictures, writing, creating, and generally having a good time…otherwise, I’m volunteering and trying to hone my sarcasm and wit.
I think art is a constant companion in my life. I don’t have one particular medium or genre that speaks to me. I feel that art is mood altering and depending on the mood the artwork can speak to you in a myriad of ways. From traveling, I’ve been fortunate to find that no matter the city or town I find myself in, there is beauty in one way, shape or form. That beauty is at time found on city walls or quiet galleries. I look forward to seeing and speaking about our local art scene of which I could stand to know more about.
When I walk these cities streets I’m always grateful to have landed here in the city of Rochester. Rochester is abundant with 4 necessities I require: Good People, Good Food/Cocktails, The Arts, and Good Parks.
I am the proud owner of an ink painting by Jason Dorofy (@dorofyink & designbydorofy.com) as well multiple ceramic pieces by Earl Jacobson, and copper fired artwork by Painting with Fire. I also own some of Linda Connor Cass' (@loudeesjewelry & etsy.com/shop/Loudees) work, some beautiful glass flowers from More Fire Studio (@morefireglassstudio & morefireglass.com) and I own a number of prints purchased at the Cornhill Arts Festival from Eric Dorris Designs (@ericdorrisdesigns & ericdorrisdesigns.com).
Every so often we put the spotlight on a local collector. We'll give you a little background about the collector and then talk about one or more topics that may be of interest to other collectors.
I spent nearly an hour on the phone with Katie Verrant last night and enjoyed every second of our conversation. I had so much fun talking to her I stopped taking notes after awhile. She's pretty much the ideal Rochester Art Collector member.
Katie Verrant was born on the west coast in California. She moved to Pennsylvania and went to a "tiny" high school near where her family settled outside of Philly.
Katie learned to appreciate art and the outdoors at an early age. She laughed when she told me her mom "can't pass a museum or gallery without pulling over and going inside to learn something." Although her parents weren't what you'd call collectors per se they did own some original art so Katie had role models for seeing and appreciating art as well as owning art. In addition to art she told me, "I have always loved wildlife and the outdoors," You'll learn how she combines her interests in art, wildlife and the outdoors a little later in this post.
In terms of collecting local art destiny was to play an important role in Katie's life. When it came time for college she sort of stumbled on Rochester Institute of Technology. It had the program offerings she wanted. It was also far enough from home to feel independent and close enough to go back-and-forth without too much trouble. She found her "nerdy" peeps immediately when she moved onto the RIT campus and fell in love with Rochester and the region after extensive touring.
She met and worked with Erich Lehman while she was at RIT. Erich works full time as Premedia Facilities Coordinator for RIT’s School of Print Media. In addition, he was/is the co-curator and lead organizer of Rochester's internationally renowned mural art program, WALL\THERAPY and he was the founder of a popular commercial art gallery, 1975 Gallery. Eventually, Erich asked Katie to design the highly coveted 2013 WALL\THERAPY book commemorating the work and the people who made the program happen that year.
Erich became the connecting tie between Katie and the local arts scene. Her deep interest in the arts combined with Erich's connections opened doors for her all over town. He eventually became very important in Katie's personal life. He opened her up to the possibilities of serious collecting by sharing his extensive collection(s) of local, national and international artwork. She quickly caught the bug.
Would you like to see more artwork from Katie's collection? CLICK HERE
I asked Katie about her first important art purchase. In March of 2013 1975 Gallery hosted "All Things Wild and Free - New Works by Mr. Prvrt"; a beloved local muralist who's real name is Justin Suarez. Justin and Erich invited Wild Wings, Inc., a local organization that that houses and cares for permanently injured birds of prey, to participate at the opening party and receive a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Justin's work.
Well, Katie fell in love with Justin's work that night as well as the remarkable birds. She ended up spending a good deal time at the opening talking to a person she took for a Wild Wings staff member who was holding a gorgeous injured owl. it was only later after telling Erich she regretted not getting the chance to actually meet Justin that she learned who the "staff member" was: the artist, Justin Suarez.
The next day she called Erich at 1975 Gallery and asked about her favorite painting from the show. It was still available but the price was a serous stretch since she was a student. After mastering her fears she reached deep into her savings to come up with the cash and hasn't looked back. Since then she has purchased nearly 60 pieces of original art .
When Katie moved to Bethesda, Maryland several years ago she had the chance to look back on the work she had collected while she was in Rochester and discovered she had a number of images of women made by female artists. Those works are now displayed as a grouping in her home. There are many other strands to her collection: Rochester artists, muralists, street art and so on. She has added to her collection in recent years. The work made by Rochester based artists remains central to her collection. When you look at the images in her collection you can see a sort of exchange between the works. It looks like improvisational music to me with colors and forms playing off each other.
Katie deeply appreciates the opportunity to meet the artist before she buys a piece of art. She wants to get to know the person and understand their point of view. She also likes to do some research and think about the work before she makes a decision to buy. She seems to have what I would call a "lifetime relationship" with the work in her collection since she doubts she would ever sell anything from her collection.
She loves her new home in Maryland but she says the area doesn't have nearly as rich or friendly an art scene as Rochester. In Rochester, she said, every door was open to her. There is a wonderful community of artists in Rochester. They hang out together, play together, they share their lives with each other. She loved being able to meet and get to know all her favorite artists. Even after several years in Bethesda, she said, it's nearly impossible to find the sorts of places she loved so dearly in Rochester.
Oh, by the way, if you look closely in the photos here and on her site you'll see some artwork piled up against the wall. Classic collector behavior! I do the same thing. Doesn't everyone? She has dozens of pieces yet to be framed. Uh, yep. Me, too. There's always more work to frame and more work to hang...
Rochester Art Collectors will collaborate with Rochester Brainery on an series of five public presentations aimed at encouraging new collectors of local art. The series will be titled: "Living With Art". Each talk will focus on a different aspect of buying art created by local artists.
The presentations will be scheduled on a bi-monthly basis on Fridays beginning on March 2nd from 6:00 pm until 7:00 pm and coordinated with the Rochester Brainery's First Fridays activities. Future dates will be May 4th, July 6th, September 7th and November 2nd. Rome Celli from Rochester Art Collectors invite a special guest collector/artist to co-present each topic. The $5.00/pp suggested donation for this presentation will be used to support art exhibitions at the Rochester Brainery.
Here's what we know so far about the presentation on March 2nd:
Living With Art: A splash of inspiration at home or at work!
Join us for a fun, informal conversation about adding original art to your living and working spaces. We'll help you learn how to find affordable, handmade local art. We'll even show you a range of affordable examples. Add to your creative collection over time. You'll be inspired!
Co-presenters: Emerging collector & artist, Maria Victoria Savka, and longtime art collector, Rome Celli.
Rome has been collecting local art for over 30 years. He recently launched a new organization to support local collectors and local artists: RochesterArtCollectors.org. He'll help you get a feel for the local venues and opportunities.
Maria loves collecting other local artists' works! She shows her own work in many locations all over Rochester. She'll give you some tips and tricks when you're out looking at art.
A friend of Rochester Art Collectors has agreed to underwrite up to 10 tickets to the first presentation. The first ten people who sign up using the link below or who sign up for the event on eventbrite.com will get in free!
CLICK HERE TO CLAIM A FREE TICKET TO THE PRESENTATION ON MARCH 2, 2018
Header image © Roy Sowers 1999
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