Local Collectors Share. The Story

Local Collectors Share. The Story

Happy holidays friends & collectors!  A couple of weeks ago, I started a new series of blogs posts which feature art lovers and collectors.  Of all the exceptional things that go hand in hand with running my own business and representing local artists in the gallery, one of my favorite parts are the bonds and friendships that come with getting to know both the artists and my customers.

Jay and Kelley Barnhardt are two of those special people that make it all worthwhile.  The Barnhardt’s have 3 boys and another one on the way.  The whole family visited with me during Open Studios and they also make frequent visits to the gallery.    I asked them if they would share their story of collecting art and they so graciously  agreed. Collecting art is a passion for the Barnhardts – they were first customers and now I am so thankful to call them my friends.  Enjoy their story…

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What is your current, most favorite piece of art in your home and will you share the story?  

We talked about this question and neither one of us can settle on just one piece.  There are places in our house that we like more than another at any given moment, collections of pieces that reflect a certain time or place in our lives. I love so much of what we have-from the watercolors my mom has painted specifically for us, ie a red Ked in the grass that belonged to our second son, our older two shoveling sand, our youngest on a tractor with my now 100-year-old grandfather-to Joey Bradley’s blue chair that Jay surprised me with at Christmas several years ago, to the framed small chevron cross stitch that our son made.

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Tell me about the first piece that you purchased as a couple?

When we started dating our senior year in college, we went on a weekend trip to Charleston. Aside from the impetus being a Widespread Panic show, the trip seemed very adult somehow, like I knew it was maybe a precursor to more weekends together. We shopped, ate, walked and wandered the streets of town, and jay offered to buy me a souvenir. I settled on a print that we found on Market Street-five pencil-drawn fish, their fins and parts labeled, each one a different color. I loved that print so much. It’s stayed with us through 14 years of marriage. And I’ve just decided I’m going to hang it over the aquarium in our office. Why haven’t I done that yet??

As a couple do you generally agree on the pieces you purchase?

Yes. And if we don’t, that’s ok too. Our styles aren’t so vastly different that we find each other’s choices offensive anyway, so that’s good.

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For young collectors who are just starting, what piece of advice would you give them on how to get started with their own collection?

If you like it, buy it. You don’t have to have the perfect place for something. The place will reveal itself, or you’ll make a place for it if you love it enough.  And don’t be afraid to move art around to make room for new art!  It’s an evolutionary process as styles and tastes and budgets change.

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Is  Metropolitan Arts Council, Open Studios an event that you always do as a family?

We always go to my mom, Peggy Dickerson’s, studio, as a family, and then we take the kids around town to visit other folks as well. It’s always so much fun, if not the tiniest bit stressful to bring three boys into a studio. I often wonder if artists grit their teeth and smile when our crew walks in, hold their breath, then exhale loudly when we leave without having broken something.  NOTE FROM TERESA:  Most well behaved crew of  boys I’ve ever seen and they are so interested in the work – love having them around!!

In a society so engrained in sports, are there things that you, as  parents of  3 boys, do to foster the love of art at an early age?

My mom has a lot to do with that. She’s very generous with her time and lets all of her grandkids paint in her studio. Ms. Jill at Five Oaks Academy is such an amazing art teacher, and they’ve all been so fortunate to learn both Art History and art from her. Open Studios lets them see different artists at work in a variety of places, with different mediums and styles. And at home, they have the luxury of a room where they can make a mess and paint on the walls and cut and paste and bead and sew. Before that room existed, we’d create things at the kitchen table, in the driveway, in the yard. Their work is framed and hangs all over the house-right next to a lovely Judy Verhoeven original is a piece one of them has painted in the style of Monet’s Waterlilies. An army tank my oldest painted on canvas 4 years ago hangs underneath one of Julie Hughes Shabkie’s cyclists. They see that their work has value and adds to the collective heart and soul of our home; their art has value, too, so they get that it matters, I think.