Art and commerce
Atlanta: Jennifer Schwartz and young photography
Late spring by Lori Vrba
Sleeping porch by Lori Vrba
Vermont by Mikael Kennedy
Blinds by Laure Griffin
Hovering by Elizabeth Fleming
Sunflowers upon entering by Rachel Barrett
Brittany by Chloe Aftel
Sarah by Chloe Aftel
Untitled from the series Green Dress by Heidi Lender
Mickey's boat by Rachel Barrett
Two years ago, Jennifer Schwartz opened a photography gallery with a mission: promoting art and enticing people of her generation to acquire work of emerging photographers.
Why photography? Because young people tend to respond better to it and understand it, it is part of their growing up, according to Schwartz, who is 36 year-old and who has been a portrait photographer for the last ten years.
Collecting art, Schwartz observes, is not in young people’s mind. “They care about the image they put together and they care about the cutting edge of hot new things, being original, but nobody is telling them that there is a better way…[My question was] how to make collecting cool,” says Schwartz.
More than ever, people have the ability to buy art cheaply but mostly mass produced (think Ikea). What is missing, according to her, is the meaning and the connection to the artist when we buy that kind of art. “Buy something that means something to you, that add value to your life and possibly that will grow as an investment, financially, if this person continues to do well.” She adds, “To me, collecting is buying an original piece of art with purpose, it is all about being intentional about it.”
On the other end of the spectrum, established collectors are getting older and their walls are filled . “If we do not try to cultivate that [the desire to collect], then all art is in trouble,” she remarks.
To court her collectors-to-be, Schwartz came up with creative channels. She launched a monthly online exhibit of photographic images, The Ten, with a simple, yet effective, message: ten prints, highly curated, in small editions (25) at one price ($250). She encouraged buyers to go beyond acquiring one print and to give consideration to a body of work.
But conscious that the digital world is saturated, she decided to run a modern version of a crusade, “without the violence and the gore,” she notes perkily. Last October, she took on a fundraising challenge through the popular website for creative endeavors Kickstarter, “Crusade for collecting.” She proposed to go for a ten-week, ten-city tour starting in spring 2013, doing pop-up shows featuring the work of photographers she is representing but also engaging discussions about collecting art. She reached her $15,000 goal to acquire and outfit an used Volkswagen van. She is now taking the project up to the next level by contacting potential hosts in each city and identifying possible corporate sponsorship.
Jennifer Schwartz Gallery
1000 Marietta St NW # 112
Atlanta, GA 30318-0524,