by Monica Chamness
The Corporate Art Tour is ready to raise the city’s cultural awareness.
Sponsored by the Downtown Enhancement Committee of the Chamber’s Downtown Council, the tour is scheduled for Tuesday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Haskell Building on Riverside Avenue. For the second year, the public will be able to view Preston Haskell’s collection of approximately 200 pieces of modern art.
“We find the tour gives the city another opportunity to say it is a great place to live, work and play,” said Doug Wilder, committee member of the Downtown Council. “Right now, downtown is just a great place to work. Recently, residents have moved in. The next step is to answer the question, ‘Are we able to play downtown?’ We don’t have that. The sidewalks roll up at 5 p.m. What we want is, as we enhance the downtown living experience, to have other corporations and business leaders provide art that is open to the public.”
The foundation of the collection is based on pieces created during the abstract expressionist movement of the 1950s and 1960s. With bold colors and dynamic patterns, the art work practically jumps off the walls. Haskell began collecting art in the 1970s. Each year, he attempts to add 10 to 20 more pieces, rotating the existing pieces to keep the environment fresh.
“The building was designed with art in mind with its large walls and high visibility [glass partitions and spacing considerations],” said Haskell.
The tour will begin with an introduction by Haskell, followed by guided tours from docents and concluding with a reception in the lobby. The contemporary works of artists such as Sam Francis, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler and Frank Stella are some of those that will be on display. The site for the next annual tour has not been decided yet.
“I enjoy outsiders enjoying and appreciating the collection,” said Haskell. “Having a significant collection sends a signal to the community that art is valuable.”