Owners of Whistle Pik Galleries • Fredericksburg, TX
By Bonnie Gangelhoff
What are some of the biggest changes you have seen in the art world during your career? In my opinion, one of the biggest changes has been the declining collector base for traditional representational work. Galleries now have to be extremely proactive in searching for, and reaching out to, new collectors. I believe this trend has been influenced by a few key factors. The most obvious is that many major collectors of traditional representational work have filled the available space in their private collections. We are seeing some second-generation collectors, but the seasoned collectors are dropping out of active collecting faster than the second or third generation is picking up the slack. Also, there is a general perception among collectors that the museum fundraiser shows get the best works from the artists. While that is not true, and we have wonderful art in our galleries all year, it is hard to change their minds. All of this is good, as it makes us more creative and innovative in coming up with ways to attract new eyes to see our artists’ work.
How have collectors’ tastes changed over the years? Right now we are working with more new collectors—new to our artists, and also new to the art world. With them we see more sales of trompe- l’oeil or photo-realism styles and subjects.
Of what accomplishments are you most proud? Developing personal relationships through the years with some of the best artists and best collectors in the United States.
How have you contributed to making Fredericksburg an art destination? How exciting to have our wonderful city finally considered an “art destination” and for Whistle Pik Galleries to be an active part of it. When Pamela and I opened the gallery in 1995, there were two regional galleries in town, and we were the first to represent national artists. We acknowledged years ago that we couldn’t represent every artist to every collector. If we don’t have what a customer is looking for, then we send them to another gallery in town that does. That was the premise for First Friday Art Walk Fredericksburg when we helped start it in 2009, and it continues to bring us together today. We now have 14 galleries. It is truly a unique community that you have to see to believe.
What do you hope to accomplish in the next 10 years? First and foremost, I hope to maintain our integrity among our artists and collectors. Secondly, I believe that we must expand our efforts to reach new collectors who are not aware of the availability of traditional representational art, and who are very market-savvy and more likely to be diverse in their collecting habits rather than collect within one genre, style, or subject.
Featured in May 2012.