Many years ago, I ran an art gallery, part time. I knew I’d never make enough to live off the profits, if there were any, but I wanted to open a venue for local artists who were talented but didn’t have an “in” with established galleries. For 5 years, I launched gifted men and women, including one whom I represented as a high school student and was privileged to watch him morph into a painter with a worldwide following. I was proud of my “stable” and felt my endeavor worth the time, money and risk it required. When I moved into politics, however, I could no longer maintain regular hours so I closed shop. By then, the artists’ careers had grown and they no longer depended upon me to provide an audience.
Judith Stone’s profile on Anne S. Moore, the former CEO of Time Inc. caught my attention because she is a woman who took the same risk. (“Bringing a business sense to art,” by Judith Stone, Moore, June 2015, pg. 44-46.) At 65, Moore retired, well-heeled, but with no agenda. Following the advice of her friends, she resisted job offers and waited for her passion to kick in. One day, while visiting her son’s office, a computer guy, she noticed his walls were bare, so she set about taking him to galleries to expose him to art. Several outings followed and soon his office, replete with paintings, made him the envy of his friends. Before long, he was directing them to his mother and so, Moore discovered her new career: guiding neophytes through the art of collecting.
One might say she brought the Greeks to the Geeks. In this case, the “Greeks” were talented young people who needed a spotlight. As making a profit wasn’t Moore’s goal, she started her gallery without concerns about making a splash. Her job was to make connections for the people she represented and then get out of the way. The venture worked because of her past experience. For many years, she’d been an avid collector. Moore knew the right people and the right people knew her.
The retired executive had stumbled into her passion. And she was right in her conclusion that, “privileged people have an obligation to keep the arts alive.) (Ibid pg. 46)
I wasn’t privileged when I started my gallery; I saw a need. But I do concur with her opinion: art and good deeds, what a perfect life.