In the same week that the New York Times put out an article with the headline, “San Francisco’s Art Market Struggles in the Shadow of Los Angeles,” New York’s Garvey|Simon Gallery opened its second location in San Anselmo.
San Francisco proper might be struggling, but Marin County’s arts community seems to be doing just fine.
Garvey|Simon is women-owned, the result of the partnership between sisters and partners Elizabeth K. Garvey and Catherine G. Simon. While Garvey maintains operations on the East Coast, Simon is the director of the new San Anselmo location, both living and working in Marin County—she and I chatted on her way back from buying a new puppy.
Simon, inspired by her sister, began collecting art in her early 20s. “Outside of my kids, and, as my son would say, peanut butter, my art collection is what I care about the most. It reflects my values, my aesthetic, the various seasons of my life,” said Simon.
Along with this deep love of art and collecting, Garvey—who has had a long and successful career in the fine arts field, including being president and owner of EKG Art Advisory and co-director of Schmidt-Bingham Gallery—and Simon both felt that access to the fine art world was gated and hard to approach for the general public.
The goal of bringing fine art out of an ivory tower and into the eyes, homes and lives of more potential collectors was the impetus behind their collaboration. The two are dedicated to making fine art accessible, and they both derive great joy in assisting new and seasoned collectors alike in beginning or expanding their collections while educating themselves on the contemporary art landscape.
“There needs to be a vehicle to high-caliber artwork not limited by pretense,” said Simon. My hope is to get people more interested, more curious, inviting people to have a more curatorial eye. Helping people discover the joy and the journey of creating a collection is really what we’re aiming to do.”
Simon has an eye, not only for art, but for the profundity, strength and character behind it. As a collector, she sees and deeply values the energy behind each piece of work she selects. Her years in art and humanitarian work have deeply inspired her as a collector and a curator.
“I’m passionate about empowering artists, about empowering people to lean in to their inner artist, and empowering people to believe in and bet on themselves. I feel totally blessed to bring awesome things to great people,” she says.
No need for nervousness or uncertainty, no sense of feeling out of place. This gorgeous gallery space is open to the public to awaken the creative collector within us all.
Garvey|Simon is located at 538 San Anselmo Ave., San Anselmo. Hours not yet listed. www.garveysimon.com