Art collector Ann Beth Strelec enjoys getting to know artists personally, sharing, “There is a fire in there, a voice that they cannot hush. Artists are driven and will do the work necessary to see their art come to fruition.”
Staci Swider was one of the first artists that intrigued Ann Beth. She felt a connection to the artwork and discovered she and Staci shared a common background. By initiating a dialogue, a friendship was formed which has continued through the development of Staci’s art, a variety of which are in Ann Beth’s collection. “I can’t resist the changing styles,” Ann Beth said, “I love her use of nature and enjoy her multi-media approach.”
Entering Ann Beth’s house, you can slowly spin to take in the scene of the large main room, art accentuating the walls as focal points between windows to the world outside. A Philip Morseberger looks across the room at a Lillie Morris near a Troy Campbell along a wall with a Leonard Porkchop Zimmerman squaring off with Jay Jacobs. Without redundancy, Ann Beth has collected works of art which are unique, yet are tied together like an expansive family. “Art is seasonal for me,” stating she rotates the art occasionally.
Ann Beth is often introduced to new artists through fundraisers. From there, she begins to get to know artists better, learning about their backstory and what makes for their personal touch. She delves beneath the superficial to discover their intentions and arrive at a greater understanding of their artwork. Ann beth explained, “I feel like artists evolve. They’ve opened themselves up and taken chances by putting themselves in different situations. They are growing as people; moving beyond comfort. I have a lot of respect for that. It’s easy to be complacent. I believe risks make us better people.” In a way, she implements her own literary angle by establishing a narrative of exchange through time with each artist. This has led to Ann Beth acquiring additional works by artists which serve as hallmarks of their progression.
In the end, it’s about community: “Nothing is more exciting than going to an art opening in Augusta and seeing people who have a common love of art.” Hit an art opening soon and strike up a conversation with Ann Beth, find some art that resonates with you, and bring it into your life.