Collecting with Confidence

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Writer / Janelle Morrison
Photographer / JJ Kaplan

Perhaps it is time to replace the prints hanging on the walls with original art. Collecting art can be daunting if you don’t know where to begin and what is available within your budget. The good news is there is affordable, original, quality art on the market, and there are local gallerists who are as passionate about promoting art as they are educating their buyers.

Dianne Wright, co-founder of Coats-Wright Art & Design Gallery, has a passion for promoting original art. Along with her co-founder, Jane Coats Eckert, Wright brings a carefully selected variety of Contemporary Impressionism and Modern art to the public while offering design services to create a comfortable environment for the client and an aesthetically compatible space that allows the artwork to show well.

A few years after studying at Indiana University, Wright began a career in the Fine Art field. For 15 years, she worked shoulder to shoulder with Eckert to develop a strong market for the Hoosier Impressionists in the Midwest and beyond.

Wright took particular interest in Charles Warren Mundy, a major national figure in the Contemporary Impressionist scene, and helped build his career. Wright is also passionate about educating people that are seeking her consultation in art buying and interior design.

“There are people who are compelled to have art in their home and have an appetite for art,” Wright expressed. “It enriches their life, and they buy it because it feeds them. People who are interested in buying original art for their homes should consider a few things prior to purchasing it.

“The first thing for them to consider is to buy what they love. They should buy what moves them emotionally because art is all about emotion. If they don’t know what moves them, then I recommend that they go to museums and start looking around. They should educate their eye as much as they can and pay attention to what moves them.

“I will often ask during a consultation about the experiences the client had as a child and for them to think about the most memorable thing about their childhood. Perhaps they were raised near the water or often hiked in the woods with family. Their personal memories could play in to their selection when buying art. The piece that they buy will evoke memories and feelings.”

Wright went on to encourage buyers to research galleries and develop a rapport with the gallerists. Buyers should be able to feel that they are buying from somebody that they trust.

“My biggest issue with buying from the Internet is that you don’t always know what you are dealing with,” Wright emphasized. “For me, there is no substitute for seeing it, touching it, etc. People should buy what they love, buy from someone they trust and buy the best that they can afford. Things of value hold value. Things that aren’t valuable will never bring value.

“At some point in a person’s life, they may be in a bind, some unforeseeable predicament in the future, and they may have to sell that piece of art. If they invested wisely in something of quality, then the odds are they will recoup some of their money. They may recoup all of what they paid for it, or they may make some money on the sale of their piece. The quality of the piece is a big part of that process.”

Wright suggested that beginning buyers start with buying a piece to commemorate special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc.

“A lady can only wear so many pairs of diamond earrings,” she said. “People should broaden their horizons when it comes to gift giving, though one should never choose art for somebody else unless they know exactly what the person is looking for in a piece.”

As an interior designer, Wright offered some practical advice on designing a space around the art, rather than the art based on the room decor.

“First of all, don’t start with the fabric; start with the art,” she explained. “If the person is not ready to buy the art but they have an idea of what they like, create an environment that will let the art have the loudest voice. Create a neutral environment, and when they find that piece of art that they love, it will work in their space. It will speak to them and to everyone that comes into that space.

“The color palette of the room will be determined by the painting. Rather than spending a lot of money on the fabric for their sofa that is busy or the window treatments and trying to find a painting to work into space, create a quiet environment for the painting. We live in a society where we are inundated with stimulation. It is important to have a space where people can unplug, decompress and heal from the input of the day.”

Coats-Wright Art & Design Gallery has several fine art pieces exhibited throughout its gallery that range in cost. Wright specifically pointed out the pieces that are “affordable” and are available for purchase for less than $3,000 and around the $1,500 price point.

Pieces of fine art by nationally renowned artists such as Charles Warren Mundy and J D Naraine are examples of good quality, affordable art that the gallery has available for the beginning collector to purchase.

For more information on the Coats-Wright Art & Design Gallery, visit its website at