Longtime friends, Katharine Hidell Thomas and Rebecca Brooks, who shared a common love for art and a vision for the Charlotte art community, opened the doors of Hidell Brooks Gallery over 18 years ago. The gallery, which still occupies its original, but now expanded, space in the Southend Steelyard, initially focused on showing American artists not widely seen in the Southeast. Today Hidell Brooks represents both national and regional artists, providing a place for artists who have a strong visual voice to exhibit at the gallery. Katharine and Rebecca select artists whose works speak to them no matter the style or medium.
Sitting with Katharine and Rebecca, I quickly see why their gallery is sought out by both seasoned and beginner collectors. They are so inviting and care about making the collecting process accessible to others with an interest in art. A small viewing room sits off the main gallery, offering a space for interested buyers to look more closely at works of art. The space provides a more intimate setting, connecting its visitors with the art. As I sit there chatting with Katharine and Rebecca, I am drawn to the sculpture on the table in front of me and envision the large painting on the wall in my own home, all while being completely inspired by talking art with two ladies who know it well.
Noteworthy: What inspired you to open Hidell Brooks Gallery?
Katharine + Rebecca: Our love and passion for art inspired us to open Hidell Brooks.
Noteworthy: Share with us a little about the artists you represent and what type of art someone would expect to see on display at the gallery.
Katharine + Rebecca: We show emerging and well-established, regional and national artists in all types of mediums and styles including abstract, landscape and figurative works. We exhibit art we love and would collect ourselves. We both have extensive art collections curated over the last 25+ years. Rebecca has a cherished Claes Oldenburg and Katharine a collage by Jessica Stockholder acquired many years ago pre-Hidell Brooks.
Noteworthy: What advice or tips would you offer a new collector?
Katharine + Rebecca: The best advice we would give a new collector is look, look, look, and buy what you love. The viewer should have an instant connection to a piece of artwork.
Noteworthy: What do you enjoy most about the Charlotte and broader Southeast art community?
Katharine + Rebecca: We have enjoyed watching the Southeast art community change and evolve over the years. Social media has brought artists, galleries, and museums together through exposure that was not available 10 years ago. Social media has also connected our gallery to collectors both near and far.
Katharine Hidell Thomas and Rebecca Brooks have been the best of friends for over 20 years and love Charlotte, NC, and feel blessed to work in the arts in a town they love and have watched grow into a city full of amazing culture.
Featured images of artwork by gallery artists Selena Beaudry, "Just Paper" exhibition, and Page Davis, "Talk to me" exhibition, up through the end of April at Hidell Brooks.
Images by Candice Lanning, www.thebeautifulmess.com.