In Kyle Sherard's Dec. 26 article, "State of the Arts: Atelier Gallery Leaves Asheville,” gallery owner Gabrielle Egan cited oversaturation of the Asheville art market and the lack of “urgency to collect artwork, because it's everywhere,” as reasons for closing. No truer assessment could be made. We concur wholeheartedly.
Asheville has been touted as an "art's center.” This is a misnomer. Asheville has been and always will be a tourist town well known for it's craft and beautiful environs. On the one hand, Egan is saying that the market here is oversaturated, yet she can't find collectors.
Providing work that appeals to tourists is not what a true collector seeks. Critical discourse has always been missing in Asheville It takes critical discourse to create collectors. When you can find work by the same artist in three different venues for three different prices, it becomes less about patronage and more about pandering to tourist trade. Every artist is called upon to maintain their standards and principles when determining where and to whom they choose to sell.
A gallery should be founded on the idea of creating a collectors' network. We have been successful in that endeavor. We know a collector when we meet one and have appreciated their support and friendship over the years.
— Gary Byrd