Art-obsessed duo Hollie Blanchard and Kelly Netishen started out as family and friends. These sisters-in-law then became business partners when they created Art Girls, an art curating business for individuals that also helps find art pieces for auction fundraisers for philanthropic organizations. Blanchard and Netishen are constantly on the hunt for small unknown galleries and undiscovered artists they can bring into the spaces of their clients. They also have access to well-known local and international artists.
“Part of our job is to bring the art live to our clients, so that they can experience that moment when the art touches your soul and you have to have it in your collection,” Netishen says.
Although neither have formal degrees in fine art, they both began their careers immersed in the world of fashion. They graduated from the University of Minnesota and Blanchard went to work in New York City as a celebrity stylist and Netishen worked for Yves Saint Laurent and Neiman Marcus. After getting married and having children, they both found jobs near Edina at the Griffin Gallery and jumped headfirst into fine art, which has been a lifelong interest for them.
Art Girls launched about a year after the women began working at the gallery. They had been working as partners for years, so they figured it would be an easy transition to turn their art consulting expertise into finding pieces to satisfy any clients’ taste and style. The challenge is bringing unique finds into a newly started collection or a space already well curated with great pieces of art.
“We like to say, ‘let the interior designers cover the floor, and we’ve got the walls!’ An art collection is an investment in your life that narrates your story for all that view. Our belief is, art should pull you in and never let go,” Netishen says.
When working with a new client, the Art Girls like to personally view the space to get a feel for the existing aesthetic in the room or rooms they will be choosing art for. They mainly focus on finding art that stimulates emotion for their clients while also making a statement about clients’ personalities and interests. They encourage clients to not be afraid to mix and match styles and time periods and tie everything together with coordinating frames, which they refer to as the “exclamation points” on a piece of art.
Art Girls currently work on curating art for the Unlock Art Series at Le Meridien Chambers, which they are particularly excited about because they can find unknown artists and bring their work out of the shadows. They are thrilled about their discovery of a self-taught artist who discovered his talent while in prison for 10 years.
“We are always searching out artists that we believe are untapped and are offering something fresh and dynamic to the art scene. We like to think of ourselves as that bridge from talented artists to art buyers,” Netishen says.