An Interview with Liz Lidgett
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Liz (virtually speaking, as one does these days) to visit about her, her art gallery, her business, and more…
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I am a proud Midwesterner and live in Des Moines, IA, with my husband Nick and our son Rocky. I am also eight months pregnant with our daughter, and we recently adopted a kitten we named Fuzz Aldrin.
When I am not working, I love dance parties with my family, working on my home, playing tennis, and my next goal is to take up fencing (you know, when I am not massively pregnant anymore).
This month marks the first anniversary of Liz Lidgett Gallery and Design. What prompted you to start your own business?
I started my art advisory business eight years ago because I saw a need in the market for art advisory that was approachable and inclusive. Due to that experience, I felt that I could help my clients and artists that I adore even more if I had a gallery space.
I started the gallery with the intention that we could create our own little art world utopia. We could promote artists well and treat them with respect. We could represent at least 50 percent women artists and support all of our artists well, and we could give a high level of customer service to our clients.
What is your background professionally and educationally speaking? Have you always been an art aficionado?
I was always the art kid and loved taking art classes and took any chance to be around it, but it wasn’t until college that I realized that I could truly build a career in the art industry.
I graduated with my Masters from USC in Public Art and moved back to Iowa in 2010 and became an in-house advisor for an incredible corporate collection. Moving back to the midwest was the best decision and gave me so many opportunities. We love being here and supporting the art community.
You’ve curated such a fantastic collection of artists! How do you decide who to represent at the gallery? Stylistically, how would you define your gallery?
Truly, I always go with my gut, but there are many things that I like to take into consideration. I like to find artists who have a high level of execution, have a variety of price points and have a unique perspective they are sharing through their art.
I like to represent a variety of mediums and styles so that our clients can continue to collect our artists and build a beautiful, cohesive collection. Subconsciously, I also see that I continually choose artwork that is colorful and joyful.
I know that, in general, the amount of money spent on art by female artists is an abysmally small percentage. But female artists seem to have a strong representation in your gallery! Tell us more about that.
Yes! We represent at least 50 percent women artists. It’s our commitment to making sure that we are doing our part to promote and expand the careers of women artists around the country. It’s something about which I am quite passionate. Aside from that, I often find that I just connect with artwork by women and their perspective on the world.
How have you pivoted your business during these COVID times?
We are all about adapting and pivoting as a gallery team. We are small but mighty and love to try new and exciting ideas you may not expect from a gallery.
During these COVID times, we have focused so much more on our digital presence. First and foremost, we made our website 100% shoppable, which was a significant undertaking but has helped us in so many ways. We have also focused on bringing as much education to our clients through social media and our blog so that they feel comfortable buying artwork online, without seeing it in person.
We are an approachable, non-pretentious gallery and want to help our clients begin or continue to build their collections as easily as possible. Since we are not in the gallery every day, Tina (our operations manager) and I have even been sharing how we decorate with artwork in our own homes to educate and inspire.