Lifestyles Report …‘Instill and Inspire’ —the sidebar (April 12, 2017)


I must say, I was totally inspired by Vivian Hewitt. She was delightful. I pray that I will be as vibrant as she is at 97 years old. It was a pleasure to meet her on March 31 at the August Wilson Center.
When I agreed to the assignment, I really did not think that much about it. After I took my seat in the auditorium and began to pay attention to what the evening was about, I realized how fortunate I am to be able to enjoy events like this for a living.
Hewitt talked freely about her art collection and how she and her husband purchased African American art. What excited me was when she said anyone can do what they have done. She went on to say, one should move thier art around, take some pieces down and put others up. When she said that, I got excited. I have several pieces that I would like to move around, but just can’t figure out where they should go.
Hewitt then began to talk about what adds value to a piece of art. She said even a print or poster can be valuable. Then I remembered that I have signed pieces from several artists, Charles Bibs and Paul Goodnight. Both artists were guests on my talk show and signed prints. I also have one by the late Jay Bakari. I remember the day I convinced him to sign it at the Homewood Art Festival. And then, there is the original Geoffrey Holder that I have yet to frame. Yes, Holder, the “Un-Cola” man, the dancer and the Boomerang actor.
As I sat and listened to Hewitt, I realized that I have the beginnings of an art collection. As soon as my “busy season” is over, I am going to assess what I have on the walls and begin to rearrange. I have several pieces that need to be framed. Take a look at your art; you may have some interesting pieces as well. Do you have them displayed so you and guests can enjoy them? Do you have blank walls? My stairwell used to be blank and it is now a “stairwell gallery.”
So often we let that space go to waste. Hewitt said one doesn’t have to be wealthy to be a collector; you should buy what you love and don’t let a decorator tell you what to buy. She said sometimes they would buy about six paintings a year and, at Christmas time, they would pool their money and buy art. I went up to her during the reception and asked if she could recommend an art dealer or art appraiser for me. She answered me very quickly and gave me a name.
What a dynamic lady. Please go and see the exhibit at the August Wilson Center, Downtown.  You have until June 30. Also, buy the book “Instill & Inspire.” I purchased my copy and keep it right with my books on my favorite photographer, Teenie Harris.
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