“WE’RE THE MATCHMAKERS,” SAYS GALLERY MAR OWNER MAREN MULLIN OF HER MISSION TO CONNECT ARTISTS AND COLLECTORS.
In making these connections, Mullin has become one of the more hands-on mentors in the business. “I bring in art and artists that I love,” says Mullin of Gallery MAR’s emphasis on a wide range of media and styles. While much of the gallery’s portfolio speaks to mountain living and experiences, that’s not a stylistic or thematic litmus test for Mullin. She describes her choices as being based more on feeling and professional experience rather than picking up trends that will sell. Mullin instead chooses “Art that speaks to me,” and says that “If it thrills me, and I believe in the artist and [their] career, I know it will sync with our collectors as well.”
Mullin carries this relationship through initial consultation and site evaluation for private collectors and public spaces to the installation of the final works. Facilitating custom commissioned works from featured artists is one of her favorite parts of gallery work.
Mullin frequently plans studio visits and activities with her top collectors so that they can meet gallery-represented artists in their element. Last winter, Mullin planned a snowshoe hike and après-hike gin tasting with Western art painter Matt Flint and an immersive art tour to Bridgette Meinhold’s (featured on pages 48-49) remote studio via vintage snowcat followed by cocktails and fondue at a nearby patron’s cabin. She also arranged for Colorado glass artists Jared and Nicole Davis to do a live glass-blowing demonstration at a local studio.
Says Mullin of these powerful encounters, “We bridge that gap between an artist’s experiences and having our collectors experience the physicality of our artists’ lives,” through everyday inspirations and unique creative processes. “It’s all about storytelling,” she says of these collaborations, “and giving artists the opportunity to share their stories with collectors.”
After over 10 years, Mullin sees her work at the gallery as being more than just a job. “As I see myself grow as a gallery owner, I’ve realized that my ‘gallery life’ is integrated with my personal life,” she says, noting that making personal connections between clients has become a joy as well as a priority. “Art is such an intimate glimpse into someone’s life,” says Mullin of the unique position of being a gallery owner. “It’s like your clothing. Art is incredibly personal and is the out-ward expression of who you are in your home.”
That moment when a collector falls in love with an artist’s work is one that never gets old, she says. “I feel very lucky to be the person who helps make that happen.”