Kyle MacMillan, Denver Post critic-at-large
Seeking strength in
numbers, art dealers unite
Sixteen Denver art dealers have formed an
association to establish standards of business ethics, provide information
to potential collectors and help bring more attention to the area's art
scene in general.
"I've only been in the business 10 years," said
private dealer Elizabeth Schlosser, one of the founders, "but it's just
amazing how when people stop bickering and start helping, there's just so
many ideas that they can have."
The group is exclusive by design. Membership
is by invitation, and has been extended only to Denver dealers who handle
original artworks and have what the founders consider to be established
reputations for integrity and expertise.
"We're trying to be high quality," Schlosser said.
Discussions about forming a dealers association
began in March among the group's six founders, which, besides Schlosser,
included the Abend Gallery, Artworks, Robischon Gallery, William Havu
Gallery and Ron Judish Fine Arts.
"They all kind of agreed," Schlosser said, "that we
could be stronger together than apart. There used to be a Denver art
dealers' association, but bickering seemed to end it in 1990."
Providing particular impetus was the belief that the
opening of the planned $62.5 million addition to the Denver Art Museum in
2005 will provide a boost to the local art scene and a consensus that not
enough was being done to promote what was already here.
"We just miss so many opportunities to honk the horn
of art in Colorado," Schlosser said. "Living in the shadow of Santa
Fe, it's not easy. Coloradans go down to Santa Fe to buy Colorado
artists, because it's fun and they're at leisure."
By May, the association was well on its way to being
established, and the initial membership list was completed by the end of
December. Thirty dealers were invited to take part, and more than
Schlosser expects the membership roster to grow.
Many of the remaining invitees, she said, are waiting to see how
successful the organization proves to be before they agree to sign on.
A membership list of the Denver Art Dealers
Association and an accompanying map can be found on the group's website at
first public event will take place Feb.2, when the 16 dealers hold an open
house at their respective establishments from noon to 5 p.m.