Why do people collect art?

It’s a subjective answer that differs with each individual collector.
Although the answers may differ, they tend to be inspiring.
Alexis Larsen recently sat down with Stephanie Precht to discuss her art collection and her recent purchase of a DVAC CSA(rt) share.

Q: You recently purchased a DVAC CSA(rt) share — explain why you wanted to be a part of this program in its first year?

Stephanie: Last May, I was in Pittsburgh, and I stopped into a local gallery. The gallery was featuring an Art CSA, and I  talked for a bit with the Director about the concept and pieces being featured. I kept thinking, “how cool would this be for Dayton?” So when I came home, I sent a quick note to Eva, and lo and behold, an Art CSA was already in the works for Dayton! I was thrilled!

Q: How would you describe your art collection?

Stephanie: I am a new, but very enthusiastic collector. I’ve always loved photography and ceramics, but recently have branched out into collecting other media. I’ve gotten some really killer pieces from local printmakers in recent years. There are so many great entry points into collecting in our community. DVAC with the Annual Art to Buy Gallery and Spring Auction, the Stivers Photography Auction… I could go on.

Q: What was the first piece of art that you purchased?

Stephanie: I think the first “real deal” piece of art I purchased was at a fundraiser auction for the Gay Men’s Chorus in Dayton many years ago. I got into a bidding war over a massive gorgeous charcoal nude drawing…and I won! It was pretty exhilarating. It’s still hanging in my bedroom.

Q: Have you purchased art from DVAC before and how do you feel about it looking back today?

Stephanie: I’ve purchased quite a bit of art from DVAC over the years. My first auction purchase was a landscape painting several years ago, and I still love it. At the Dayton to Kyoto Print Exhibit last Fall, I picked up two beautiful prints, one from a local print maker and one from a Japanese print maker.

Q: What’s your advice for a first-time art buyer?

Stephanie: Don’t be intimidated, just buy what you like. Sometimes, buying functional art, like pottery, is a more comfortable entry point. A beautiful mug from a local potter like Naysan McIlhargey is affordable, and something you can use and admire every day while you are drinking your coffee. I also highly recommend seeking out student work. There is a great show at DVAC every year called the Cline Show that features student artists.

Q: What would you say is your philosophy on buying art?

Stephanie: Buy stuff that stops you in your tracks on a daily basis. My favorite art is work that doesn’t disappear or become merely decorative when I hang it on my walls. I have a set of photographs that I purchased at the Stivers Photography Auction several years ago that are currently hanging on a wall in my kitchen. I kid you not, I stop at least once a day to look at these pieces.

Q: What’s your art collection like and how do you think your six DVAC CSA(rt) pieces will fit in?

Stephanie: I think the pieces will fit in beautifully since my art collection is all over the place! I can’t wait for the Harvest Party in August. For me, it’s less about the end result and more about supporting the process. I love the idea of supporting art and community, sight unseen.

Q: What are your tips to offer someone wanting to learn more about art collecting?

Stephanie: Talk to Eva; she is a wealth of knowledge. Talk to artists and start visiting local galleries and art festivals. When possible, visit artist studios and see the art being made in person. I think this connects you to the community and to the role that collectors play. Don’t worry about your tastes changing. I’ve loved pieces for a time, and then given them away to friends and family because I don’t feel connected to them anymore. I’ve moved pieces around, rehung art, and started to look at my collection in a different way. It’s pretty fluid.

Q: What’s your favorite quote or story about art?

Stephanie: “There are flowers everywhere, for those who bother to look.” -Henri Matisse

I think art collecting is about noticing… Noticing the world around us and what strikes a chord within us.

Q: Do you think an investment of a DVAC CSA(rt) share is one worth making?

Stephanie: Yes! This type of collecting is innovative and fun, and at the end of the day, it’s also about supporting artists in our community. I travel a lot and love buying art to bring home. But just like I prefer to buy directly from the farmers at Second Street Market who grow my vegetables, I want to support the artists who live and work in my community. Art makes my city and my life more vibrant; I don’t ever want that to go away.

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