What Constitutes a Fine Art Gallery?

Screen Shot 2023 05 10 At 15445 Pm“Is it live, or is it Memorex?” That famous old slogan was the title I wanted, but thought it would be lost on the younger folks out there. The image, of course, is of a guy in front of a speaker getting blown away by sound waves.

Mentioning it seemed appropriate as it refers to the distinction between a reproduction and something original. This is the main difference between Gallery Verrazzano, our fine art gallery, and theArtWorks™ gift shop, where we have a stage and host live music, sell prints, greeting cards and other collectibles.

As a fine art gallery, Gallery Verrazzano is exclusively reserved for original works. There are no prints or reproductions; instead it’s for works that were created solely for aesthetic value and beauty instead of a utilitarian purpose, in keeping with the definition of fine art.

So, it’s unlikely you’ll see a Memorex ad here. However, the idea that an ad can be a work of art is open to debate. Who doesn’t remember Andy Warhol’s soup cans?

This flows into another idea, namely, the relationship between artists and patrons. A patron, of course, is an individual who provides financial backing for a cause or a person. The history of art patronage extends for thousands of years and it’s a worth researching if you have time. The example of Gudea, an obscure king who only ruled for 20 years around 4,000 years ago, is worth exploring.

Gudea commissioned a number of sculptures of himself in Diorite, an extremely hard stone that was also very expensive. Though unsigned, many scholars believe they were produced by the same artist.

The only reason we know what Gudea looks like or remember him at all is because of the artist. Also, the example shows the importance of patronage. Many have argued that Michelangelo would have had a much more difficult path without the Medici family. Likewise, da Vinci and the Sforza family, Picasso and Gertrude Stein…the list goes on.

The point is we like to think of Gallery Verrazzano like a bridge, for its potential to connect patrons and enthusiasts to the artists driving our culture forward. Not that there’s a need to justify the existence of a fine art gallery, but we believe the arts have a tremendous potential to make a lasting, positive impact.

Gallery Verrazzano is a huge space with around 7,000 square feet but the fact that we have so much space does not mean we are careless about what is presented. In fact, all of the pieces we display go through an extremely methodical selection process.

It’s a responsibility we have to the Wilmington art community. We never lose sight of this responsibility or the importance of the patrons, as they provide the funding to fuel the aspirations and dreams of the artists, while giving them the opportunity to refine their craft.

Within this context, it’s worth pointing out a recent estimate showed worldwide art sales were in excess of $60 billion in 2021. Investing in art is free from the fluctuations of the stock market and it’s nice to be able to look at something beautiful every day that also has the potential to increase in value.

Patrons have a chance to hit a home run with their investment while also supporting a person they believe in, and we’re proud to connect them with the artists driving our community forward.

For more information, call 910-352-7077 or visit www.theArtWorks.co.

Located at 200 Willard Street, theArtWorks™ is open Thursday through Saturday from 11 to 5, Sundays from 12 to 5, and by appointment. On the 4th Friday of every month, theArtWorks™ hosts Gallery Night from 6 to 9. An art complex providing art studios, gallery space, and an event venue, theArtWorks™ is a ‘for purpose’ organization that fosters a creative environment for artists. Through education, advocacy and legislative efforts, theArtWorks™ supports and enhances the community of Wilmington.

Categories: Insights