Art galleries are the libraries of creativity, rebellion, inspiration, and compassion, sharing a slice of artistic expression that simply cannot be silenced. The Hidell Brooks Gallery does just that, and builds relationships with both artist and collector.
interview ciara bird
Can you introduce yourselves and what you do? Katharine Hidell Thomas and Rebecca Brooks, co-owners of Hidell Brooks Gallery. We opened the gallery in 1998 because we both passionately love art. We get asked all the time if we are artists and everyone is surprised to hear no. Artists belong in the studio creating art. Our love of all things art-related gives us the drive to support artists by having exhibitions for their work and selling it. Our rewards lie in seeing the artist’s work being placed in collectors’ homes for their pleasure.
What encouraged you to open a gallery? Especially in Charlotte? When we opened Hidell Brooks Gallery we made it our mission to exhibit artists who had never been shown in the South. We both felt and still feel today Charlotte needs more exposure to contemporary artists working today. There can never be too many art galleries.
How would you describe the artists that you represent collectively? Our artists as a whole are a very diverse, talented group of individuals. Many of our artists are professors at UVA and Wake Forest for example. They have won Fulbright and Pollock Krasner awards. But most of all they are dedicated to a life of creating art.
How do your relationships with artists work? Most artists take a year or two to create enough work for a solo exhibition, so we schedule our exhibitions two years in advance. When you walk into the gallery and see a solo exhibition by an artist you are looking at what they have produced in the last year or more. It is a big commitment for both the gallery and the artist. The work will be our inventory until their next show.
What are some methods used by artists and galleries to preserve the value of their works? By selectively choosing our artists by hand we look for art we feel is going to be an investment in the long run. We do not sell art on a pure investment because we want our collectors to love a painting hanging in their home and enjoy it for many years to come. The artists we choose to exhibit at Hidell Brooks do not produce enormous amounts of work. A typical solo exhibition has fewer than 20 works hanging in the gallery.
How would you define a good gallery both from a business and creative aspect? A good gallery is one that sells quality works of art by respected artists. We find it very important to provide a comfortable atmosphere for first time or repeat clients to purchase art. We want people to have a pleasurable experience viewing and buying artwork. Typically, one of us delivers and hangs the art in the client’s home, which is the fun part!
Any last words? We love what we do and feel privileged to do it in Charlotte. With an expansion just around the corner in 2013 we are very thankful to everyone who has supported the gallery over the years. We are looking forward to many more years to come!