When our children were young and my wife Janice and I would take them on long road trips, we would often stop at wayside antique stores. To allay our children's protests and overcome their boredom while we shopped, we would give them a small amount of cash and a challenge to search for something to collect for themselves. It worked!… and soon enough they started to form their own collections and look forward to the next stop. Eventually, what they came to realize is that we were tapping into a fundamental trait that we all share: collecting.
What people collect varies—everything from stamps to rocks to works of art—but the impulse is the same. Collecting is a lifelong, rewarding activity that can change the way you see the world and how others see you.
Collectors form the heart of any art museum. For example, at the FIA over 90 percent of the 8,000 works of art in the collection were gifts made by donors who gave their art or gave funds to purchase art for the museum. Bishop, Bray, Johnson, Mott, Willson, Hurand, and White are just a few of the many names from the Flint community who have given works of art over the last 87 years. From the beginning, our role has been to foster connoisseurship among our patrons and assist collectors in making collecting decisions. We still do this by presenting exhibitions of some of the world's most outstanding collections, operating the Flint Print Club and its related programs, and organizing tours of local collections. Another way we encourage collecting is through a special exhibition.
Back by popular demand, the exhibition Art of Collecting (last held in 2011) opens with a preview starting on the day after Thanksgiving followed by a silent auction the week after on Thursday, December 3. The exhibition reflects all the areas of art that the FIA collects, from ancient to contemporary, and contains a range of media, from works on paper to paintings and sculpture, all of which meet the collecting standards of the museum. Selected from over 30 of the most reputable galleries in New York, Chicago, and Detroit, and representing some of the art world's best known artists, this exhibition presents an opportunity for patrons to collect significant works of art with confidence. With prices ranging from as low as $250 to $250,000, selections are made with both the seasoned, as well as the novice collector in mind.
Private tours of the exhibition, where we will discuss the trends of the art market and our rationale in bringing each work to Flint, will be given on December 2 (see page 6), but can also be arranged by calling the FIA's Collections and Exhibitions department.
John B. Henry