Board of Collectors
ArtSpan is fortunate to have a Board of Directors driven by a fierce commitment to promoting art and artists. One of the most direct, effective, and pleasurable ways to reach that goal is to collect art, and every board member does – with a passion. A few shared their thoughts on how they approach collecting and why it is important to them and to their ideas of community. Curt Wilhelm, Board Chairman, collects art with his husband of 30 years, Michael Glover.
"For us it is very important to know the artist behind the work. We know the creator of almost everything in our collection. It makes it more special to us; when we look at a certain piece we see not only the art but the artist behind the art. We have a lot of stories to tell!" “When people ask how to develop collections, we tell them to get to know artists they like. Spend time talking to them and ask questions and be inquisitive. Learn about their craft and motivation. Yo"’ll appreciate the work more, and feel more confident about buying when the time and piece is right." “Supporting your local artists is one of the most important things you can do as an art collector. You need to support creative elements in order to contribute to the health of the whole community.” “For the past few years we have hosted the ArtSpan Spring Fling at our home. We share our collection and we showcase a San Francisco artist who talks about their art and what it means to be an artist. Many pieces have been purchased by attendees . . . or by us!" “I have original art in my office, I have bought art for our common space, and I’m working with a local artist on a commission for my company. It has sparked growing interest in art from my co-workers, who appreciate what it brings to our work environment." Matt McKinley, our Vice Chair, is a curator and an art preparator, so he looks at a lot of art all the time, thinking about how it fits in a particular environment and the effect it has.
"I would advise a new collector to see a lot of art and learn for yourself what you like and why. There is no one correct way to collect. I listen to my gut and trust my eye. My rules are simple: Do I love it? Can I afford it? If ‘yes’ to both, I go for it!" “For artists that I know, owning a piece of theirs is a way for me to honor our connection and shows my respect and support of their practice.” “My collection is first and foremost for my personal enjoyment, but I enjoy sharing it with anyone who comes into my home or office – it is very diverse and a great conversation starter!" “Showing up for artists financially, socially, and in my case, professionally supports and encourages an environment that honors art practice as a viable profession. I believe a fully functional community values creative expression as the key to cultural vitality and benefits everyone in that community. A community that encourages creative thinkers is a community that is adaptable and equipped to innovate to meet future challenges." Cynthia Farner, MD, has honed her art instincts too.
“I can’t really say what draws me to certain works, but it is visceral as well as visual. Sometimes it takes a few years to decide to purchase something from a particular artist, but I will follow them and revisit them year to year.” Cynthia has an exceptional collection of art in her home, and she is also keenly aware of the importance of creating an engaging and beautiful environment in her medical practice. “It is very rewarding to bring art into my work space. I am fortunate to have a large office with lots of walls, as well as colleagues who appreciate having me curate the space. It’s great when clients or colleagues engage with the art and ask about it." “Having original, handcrafted work in a medical office brings warmth and a human touch that is very welcome. It can be a stressful environment for patients, and having unique work that sparks imagination or brings in beauty or even tickles a funny bone is truly valuable.”