Collectors for over 20 years, the Whitaker's enjoy museums, libraries and other cultural sites. Their collections are known for their high quality of workmanship and demonstration of the artisan's craft. They see art collecting as a way to help the community by conveying many societal lessons and messages. One of their favorite artists is Frank Kelley, Jr. They are collectors of his work and one of their
favorite pieces is entitled 'Before & After the Storm.' It shows a man who has worries but was extremely burdened after the Katrina Storm hit Louisiana. Art can be full of mystery, beauty, calmness, excitement, boldness, and historical. The stories within each style and piece of art are thought provoking and stimulate conversation
Thomas Moorehead of Sterling Motor Cars was on a plane when he noticed an article in Art & Antiques magazine, featuring the work of artist Frank Kelley, Jr. Impressed with Mr. Kelley's artistic ability and excited that they both hail from the same hometown, Mr. Moorehead reached out and the rest is history. A long-time collector and supporter, Mr. Moorehead and his wife Joyce have collected many pieces for their private collection and have become active mentors.
The Seegers have been long time private collectors of Mr. Kelley's work, owning several pieces. They lean towards his abstracts and figurative paintings for their collection. They began collecting in 1992 when they built their new home. While the home was traditional in style, they wanted the contrast of contemporary art to provoke interest. "Visitors always notice our art and frequently comment on Frank's pieces," says Dr. Seegers.
"When I stood in front of Frank Kelley's painting 'Courage' I was mesmerized. My eyes connected with the eye of the woman wrapped in her grandmother's shawl, I suddenly identified with her feeling of being marginalized.... her standing toward the rear of the line and her wanting more. I became drawn. Compelled...I was in a place in life that called for decisions and I lacked the courage. I stood in front of
'Courage' as if I were transcended to the woman's time and space. After leaving the show, 'Courage' became the theme in my life. I questioned my lack of courage to the point that the painting became a call to action. Overtime, I gained the courage to leave the plantation that existed in my mind. I gained the courage to walk away from employment in an oppressive environment. I gained the courage to start a business and make it highly successful. I gained the courage to become a radio host of my own show. I gained the courage to live my best life. Now, I help others gain courage as I practice healing."
Happening upon Mr. Kelley's work at the General Motors Conference, Mrs. Jackson was duly impressed and moved by Kelley's piece 'Holding On'. She immediately connected Mr. Kelley and her husband, President of Prestige Automotive and a mutual respect and love of Mr. Kelley's art began. Fascinated at the resonance and emotion behind Kelley's work; the Jacksons have not only become significant collectors, but Mr. Jackson also hosted an exclusive showing of Mr. Kelley's work at one of his dealerships.
"I was immediately taken with Frank Kelley's non-representational abstract paintings; both large and small scale. Most of my collection included realism and impressionistic works, but Frank's pieces have proven to be fantastic additions by adding variety and visual interest around and with my more traditional pieces. Frank's abstracts have unique texture, movement, depth, and expressive use of a wide color spectrum."