Not all art collectors are globe-trotting billionaires. The New York Times has been making a push to generate more local news and in the process its blog for Maplewood, NJ has uncovered the artworld surrounding the Oranges in northern NJ. Pat Bell is local fixture in the network of museums and galleries. Larry Dell, the Times blogger, gives her some gushing support:
Ms. Bell is the kind of collector artists dream of. “When an artwork comes into my home I feel as though I’ve made a connection to the soul of the artist,” said Ms. Bell, who clearly gets it — the struggle, challenge and intellectual rigor that goes into the creation of a work of art. […]
If you’re interested in collecting art, our area is ideal. Ms. Bell moved to South Orange because of its cultural diversity and interesting, artistic people. Artists tend to flock to communities that are open to new ideas, so there’s a good chance one lives close by.
Equally important is attending local art exhibitions. There are numerous galleries to choose from including the Pierro Gallery and Seton Hall’s Walsh Gallery in South Orange and 1978 Maplewood Arts Center in Maplewood to name just a few. And take advantage of local museums. The Montclair Museum, the Morris Museum and the Newark Museum are all 30 minutes or less away.
Ms. Bell’s involvement with local arts institutions goes back more than 20 years. Currently she sits on the boards of the Montclair Museum, the Visual Arts Center of NJ, and the Aljira Center for Contemporary Art, and has provided artwork to SOPAC that’s currently on display.
She’s also a valued fund raiser and contributor to the Newark Museum, and has played a role in that institution’s renaissance.
“The Newark Museum is a cultural jewel literally on our doorstep,” Ms. Bell said. “It’s a regular must-see that should be on every local art lover’s schedule.”
Local Locals: Pat Bell, Art Collector (NY Times)