This is what happens when arts and culture influencers gather in a newly constructed manse to solve problems.
3030 Chain Bridge Road NW was recently listed and sold by the Fleisher Group (thefleishergroup.com). The asking price was $19,950,000.
The setting could not be more perfect: an empty, nearly 15,000-square-foot masterpiece nestled along prestigious Chain Bridge Road in NW Washington awaiting new ownership as well as art and sculpture to suffuse the pristine space. It is the embodiment of the very conundrum we’ve come together to discuss—how can local artists and collectors connect to help fill up such empty spaces? Let’s dive in.
To start, “I think Washington could benefit from people talking more like this, getting together more often, getting people into homes,“ remarks art collector and consultant Joff Masukawa, who favors contemporary works with a message. “The professionalization of the representation for art and artists in Washington could go to another level, and that’s not to diminish any of the good galleries here, but we have some room to grow. When you have a good gallery behind you, it can help make your career."
Panelist Linn Meyers is doing her part via STABLE (stablearts.org), a nonprofit that is on a mission to build more space for artists “to make things,” she says. A talented artist who once covered a 4,800-square-foot wall in the Hirshhorn using marker and ink, Meyers believes a robust gallery scene will encourage artists to stay local. “If there’s a cohesive community of artists, and if that community is visible, then collectors and galleries will see us, and the market for art in DC will rise organically,” she tells the group.
Panelists and art influencers Linn Meyers, Sandro Keresa and Kate Goodall.
“I think Lynn and I are really in alignment about the way that we see this city’s trajectory towards becoming not just a stop between Miami and New York,” interjects Halcyon CEO Kate Goodall. The organization she helms runs Halcyon Arts Lab (halcyonhouse.org), which offers nine-month fellowships to emerging artists and provides them with art space and resources to take their careers to the next level.
“I think we need to figure out how to do this differently than other cities,” states Goodall. “This is a huge opportunity to stake a new claim and create a new vision.” For her, this means bringing more inclusiveness to the art world. “If you look at museum collections in the Western Hemisphere, five percent of them are women artists and one percent are artists of African descent, so we can see there are a lot of needles to be moved.” Technology, she feels, is key. “The way that the gallery system works and the collection system works today wouldn’t be how it works tomorrow. We need to be ahead of the curve and doing things like digital art."
Luckily, Artechouse (artechouse.com) co-founder and panelist Sandro Keresa is doing just that. The immersive and interactive gallery and exhibition space he co-founded with his partner Tatiana Pastukhova is pushing the boundaries of the DC art experience. “You go to L.A. and you know what’s ‘L.A.;’ you go to Miami and you know what’s ‘Miami;’ you go to DC and it’s hard to know. We want to change this by educating ourselves and pushing the envelope—and hopefully that puts us on the map.”
Chiming in, artist Nora Maccoby (noramaccoby.com) adds, “I think the next couple years are going to be wild because of the technology artists are using.” Maccoby would know. Her work has evolved from shooting film and drawing in oil to incorporating 3-D interactive immersion. She says she connects with collectors directly and doesn’t have representation.
Marc Fleisher, Michael Kay and Mark Lowham.
In putting local portrait artist Martin Swift (mrtnswft.com) on the spot by asking him if he has representation, he shyly demurs, “No.” He does, however, create his work out of a studio on V Street NW and works with several different galleries.
Hope comes in the form of Nina Caccioppoli O’Neil, whose company Monochrome Collective (monochromecollective.com) matches collectors and art and provides fine arts staging at temporary shows and venues. “We need to understand that everyone is an art collector,” she opines. An audience member stands and tells O’Neil. “I’ve got two town homes in Dupont Circle, come see me and I will display your art,” she says.
Weeks later, I receive a call from O’Neil, who relays Fleisher Group has contracted her to install artwork at a new listing and she’s working with several artists from the salon to do it... that truly is the art of connection.
Photography by: PHOTOS BY MYNOR VENTURA