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Speak Out: How About Art Repositories?

By KARL VOLK
arttimesjournal February 24, 2017

An art repository should exist in many areas of the country. There are many senior artists burdened with their life's work in their possession when they reach age 60 and over. Each individual senior will experience their art as a burden at different times in their life. For me I realized that my art was a burden when I reached the age of 80. I no longer wanted to travel to outdoor art shows. Partially it was a winter storm that destroyed the pieces upon which I would hang my art. I did want go get new ones and I no longer wanted a car that had a rack upon which to place them, nor did I feel secure in getting them up on the car. This then lead me to think what would happen if I were to go to a retirement home and had to sell my house.  What would happen to my art? The retirement homes all said "you can bring your art with you" until they realized the size of my collection. Well, 30 pieces might work, but 300 pieces? That was a bit much.

I then turned to Arts Mid Hudson for some solutions, but all their moneys are geared to creating art and shoring up the under structure of helping students of art and emerging artists.  Not one cent is going to preserving existing   but unsold art. So they have no knowledge of how to help senior artists who need help in getting their art into safe places outside their homes. After that became clear there followed many letters to colleges to see if they wanted the work. Some failed to reply at all and others simply stated that they are not prepared to take on entire collections of relatively unknown artists.  They will take on single pieces from former students if the artist is known and thus would enhance their collection.   I then found a person who is also reaching seniordom who made a brochure about Art Repository for me. Carolyn Edlund made a fine brochure and I had the ability to ask other senior artists if they wanted an art repository. They agreed it would relieve them if they knew there was a place to bring their collection. Yet none of them felt comfortable to become an officer of a not-for-profit corporation. One has to have a president, secretary and treasurer to create a not for profit corporation. This body would then try to get funds from other corporations to accumulate funds to buy a building where art could be safely stored, auctioned and placed in collections. This means a salaried director.  So in essence, this would be an inverse of a museum. The emphasis on storage with some viewing space, rather than the other way around. At least that is how I see it.  Other minds might come up with other possibilities.

(Karl J Volk lives in Poughkeepsi, NY • karljvolk@gmail.com)