Kathleen Hardin (Kathy) took her 22 art students to the task of painting "their" 9th St. Church Community Garden as Spring turned into Summer, and the results are on display at j&s Frame Gallery with proceeds going to Hope House.
Last Sunday afternoon my artist friends Kathleen Harding and Bill Maurer organized the first “9th Street Community Garden Art Show” at Jill and daughter Sidney Wilkinson’s gallery on Sadler Rd, nestled in between Starbucks and Kinko.
I caught them on the tail end of the afternoon after more than a hundred people had shown up in the earlier hours, and asked Kathleen to give our readers an idea about the intention of this art show, especially since the title indicates a series of events like this.
Kathy Hardin and Bill Maurer who I met through the European American Business Club are people with a very interesting and colorful past and gallery owner Jill Wilkinson is simply an art icon with an energy that seems ageless. At the time we walked in with the cameras, all three were kind of winding down from what had apparently been a very well attended function. After having the chance to admire the works from Kathleen’s art students which were on display for the good cause of financially supporting the Hope House, I learned that unfortunately no piece had been sold, “on account of the bad economy”. I quickly analyzed that there were in total 24 painting on display, beautifully framed by Jill’s ‘j&s Frame Gallery‘ with a combined total price tag of less than $1,800 and realized that my mind was back in the 60s and 70s when artists in the Netherlands were “forced” to be creative in funding the development of art and to keep food on the table. I remember that the mid 70s oil crisis took the economy way down and as a result art in Amsterdam found its way into into corporate offices, banks and local restaurants.
24 paintings at a total price tag of $1,800 equals something like and average of $75 per canvas, hardly a stumbling block, even in a bad economy, I am thinking. Yet, in spite of some real quality in most of these paintings, no piece found its way to an art lover. There were for example beautifully painted dragonflies on a flower that make me wonder why people go into chain hobby stores in shopping malls to walk out with a $50 frame without print or picture, while original professionally framed local art at $35 is being overlooked.
So our conversation centered around tough economic times and remembering how we solved that problem in previous economic downtimes. A proven way is what my younger brother, a famous painter these days, started for himself and many of his colleague sculptors and painters did: he opened a subscription library out of his gallery REM and statue gardens (www.galerierem.nl) which currently features 700 pieces of art from some 50 artists. (Brother Jos is not very internet driven, which is reflected in his website, but you get the idea as his business part is very successful). There are many programs for art buyers and corporate clients, from 6 months leases, to lay aways, to subscription benefits and lease/purchase of art.
My question is now, when do banks, corporate offices and car dealerships on our island, just to mention a few, realize that they can have local original art on their walls as a sign of community support for minimal decoration cost. And if buying the art is not in ‘the’ budget, how about leasing it for 3 or 6 months at a fraction of the cost. My brother makes a good living leasing his paintings and his art friends’ work to for example Mercedes Benz corporate, government buildings and DSM Headquarters.
When I worked for a large international real estate company in the 1970s I leased 50 paintings on a rotating 6 months basis for the 50,000 SF Headquarters. Not only was it good PR and local community support, we got massive reporting out of it and great artist’ contributions to the company’s newsletter that went to thousands of clients and potential clients.
Just a thought.