Opening New Eyes To Art

A Message from Fine Art Connoisseur Publisher B. Eric Rhoads


I magine this scene: Three young children are lying on the floor of a busy museum, staring up at the paintings and sketching them.


I often tell the story of taking my children to art museums, sketchpads in hand. I instruct them to find a painting they really love and sit on the floor and draw it. Their first impulse is to do something fast -- they're 8, and their attention span is short -- but I ask them to look more closely and see what they didn't notice at their first quick glance. The joy they experience is their path to discovery. My joy is hearing them ask when they can return, and telling me the things they saw in the paintings as they looked deeper.


When I meet young people who are tuned in to the fine arts, I usually ask how they acquired their interest. In most cases, it is a result of a family or friend who exposed them to art at a young age.


Influences That Drew Me Closer

When I was a child, my mother exposed me to painting, but, growing up in a small Midwestern town, I had little opportunity to see to quality artworks, or even art books. When I was 11, my family took a trip to the World's Fair in New York, where we also visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Frick Collection. It was my first exposure to real art. I was enamored with the giant paintings of swashbuckling pirates, Old Masters with square hats, and Salvador Dali's interesting world view. I fell in love with art, but that passion was soon forgotten after our return to life in the suburbs, and it didn't resurface at a meaningful level for decades.


The Responsibility To Help Others Find Art

In some cultures, children and young adults are exposed to art at an early age, and a high priority is given to art education. Though it exists in some parts of our society, in America art is rarely part of our educational system. The responsibility is ours, as parents and teachers. I feel the responsibility to expose my children, nieces, nephews, and extended family.


Three years ago, I took my father to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and he breezed through without interest -- until we landed in the section with Old Masters. I remember him stopping in front of a genre painting that had grabbed his attention. He sat and stared for several minutes, then commented to me that he didn't remember ever being exposed to "art like this." He would not have gone into that museum on his own, but he found it fascinating.


In his 80s, he discovered something he loved that was different from his passion for modern paintings. Exposure is the first step, and it often opens the door to a lifelong passion for art. My life is richer for having been exposed to the classics in art and music.


Think for a moment about the people in your life. What can you do to expose your friends, your family, your children or grandchildren to quality artworks? Imagine how their lives could be enhanced if they were exposed to great artworks they might otherwise never have noticed.


What role will you play in exposing others to art? As the holidays approach and families gather, this would be an excellent time to take the family to a museum or local art gallery. That one little step could open their eyes to a new world.



Eric Rhoads

Fine Art Connoisseur


PS: When I was young, my grandparents bought me subscriptions to magazines year after year, to stimulate my interest in certain areas. At first, a sense of obligation made me flip through each issue, but they eventually captured my interest. As a child, I loved receiving mail, and the magazines my grandparents sent were special because having my own subscription made me feel grown up. What about a subscription to Fine Art Connoisseur as a gift for your children, grandchildren, or dear friends this holiday?


As you know, each issue is filled with insightful stories about art and the artists who create it, and every page is illustrated with beautiful paintings from the 18th, 19th, and early 20th century, as well as art from those who are painting beautiful works today. If you look forward to reading your issues of Fine Art Connoisseur, perhaps others will acquire that passion when they receive their own subscriptions as well. I received a magazine subscription as a gift from my father last year, and every time that magazine arrives in the mail, I think of him.


The holidays are rapidly approaching, and you can check several people off your shopping list with the click of a mouse. We hope you'll consider the gift of Fine Art Connoisseur this season. Each recipient will receive an elegant gift card printed with your name, and they will remember you with each issue in the mail.


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