top of page

ABouT THe Artist

BUILDING A BUSINESS FOR ARTISTS IN IOWA... 

Looking for Representation Outside of a Gallery Setting...

Wyrick felt lucky to have been commissioned to do Eighth Continent by the Andersen's in Des Moines because Ann Andersen viewed and liked Wyrick’s Post Sculpture in Iowa City so much that she contacted Wyrick to do a sculpture at her family home in Southern Hills, Des Moines. Wyrick designed Eighth Continent  for them and she and the Anderson's worked closely together on its realization.

 

In 1978 following the installation of Eighth Continent  for the Andersen's, Wyrick was offered a one-person show by Bonnie Percival in her well-respected Des Moines gallery. The exhibition was a success, but by this time, Wyrick had become most interested in securing commissions for larger-scale outdoor sculptures, especially for permanent installations. (Even though a smaller scale commission was generated by that show, Wyrick found that the gallery owner was not versed in how to follow through with commissioning art.)

 

During those years, Wyrick learned a good deal about gallery structures in larger cities (Chicago and New York) from visits there on her own, with Ulfert Wilke, the first UI Museum of Art director and with her husband, Darrell Wyrick, head of the UI Foundation whose first capital campaign was centered on building the University of Iowa’s first Museum of Art. Ulfert and Darrell often called on particular gallery owners, art patrons and even well known artists to help the Museum of Art collect contemporary art. Shirley was included on some of those calls and benefited by meeting some of the leading artists and art dealers, especially in New York and Chicago.

 

In addition, Ulfert led a 1978 UI Foundation Presidents Club tour to Italy and France that was arts-oriented and whose purpose was to cement ties with UI alumni who had interest in Art and some who had sizable art collections. Darrell and Shirley were helpful in this endeavor and learned a good deal about the Art World as well.

 

Wyrick started to see that gallery owners in the Midwest were limited by the need to support their galleries and were, in general, unaccustomed in dealing with finding and carrying through with commissions. She made a few unsuccessful attempts to obtain gallery representation in Chicago and then she started to evaluate the possible ways to get an “agent” to represent her so that she could connect with doing the larger scale works she would like to propose.

Finding the Fit...

Wyrick had observed firsthand that she didn’t have the skills OR the time to fully represent herself. She thought a good friend who was an “older” student (as was Wyrick) in the School of Art and Art History might represent her. Winifred “Teddy” Shuttleworth was majoring in Art History, lived in Cedar Rapids and had deep connections to the Arts around the State and to others who love art and have the means to collect it.

 

But when Wyrick asked Shuttleworth if she would be willing to represent her and serve as her agent without having to maintain a gallery, Teddy thought about it, but countered, “Why not include other artists?”

The Beginning of Artworks incorporated...

Both Wyrick and Shuttleworth felt that artists in the State of Iowa were underserved. They agreed that many people that they knew in the area were collecting art but these people thought primarily of purchasing art from Chicago or New York dealers or galleries. And although “Women’s Liberation” was at its peak, they felt that both men and women artists in Iowa were in need of representation.

 

The two friends’ concept for Artworks Incorporated was to select about 12 fine artists in Eastern Iowa with a wide range of work to represent. Then they proposed to approach businesses, corporations, banks and other institutions that had art purchase programs or sometimes just spaces that could be used for exhibits of these Iowa-based artists who produced excellent artwork that Artworks Incorporated could choose to represent.

 

ARTWORKS did not operate a gallery that would require them to support the gallery through sales. Its business plan was based on making presentations of represented artists’ portfolios and slides directly to heads of businesses.

 

To eliminate misunderstandings they spent much time drawing up a detailed business plan based on conferring with and drawing up contracts with the twelve artists they initially represented.

 

The content of the artists’ works were wide-ranging, so presenting all 12 artists’ works also served an educational purpose, in addition to seeking sales. Some of the represented artists were university professors and some were freelance and some had dealers in other cities.

ARTWORKS Incorporated, a visual arts consulting service... 

Major decisions Shuttleworth and Wyrick made in forming the business were to:

  • limit the number of artists represented to twelve artists who produced a broad range of fine art
  • include every artist’s works in each slide show presentation to expand awareness of the range of selected Iowa artists
  • treat every showing as a way to inform (educate) potential buyers about the best possible works available right here in Iowa
  • draw up a detailed Artworks contract in consultation with the represented artists (a vital aspect) and with the legal advice of attorney William Shuttleworth, Teddy’s husband.
  • decide the amount of Artworks Incorporated’s commission on works sold or exhibitions mounted to provide compensation for Artworks’ representatives. Bios were provided for each representative

ARTWORKS Brochure... 

Heightened Awareness of Artists working in Iowa...  

From the time it opened at the 1980 State Architects Convention in Cedar Rapids, to the many exhibits and sales generated in banks, in businesses and university facilities; to individual and corporate sales and commissions, Artworks, Incorporated fulfilled a needed new look at representation by consultants unencumbered with managing gallery space.

 

Wyrick would like to express her gratitude for ARTWORKS impact on advancing both her career and her own ability to represent herself.

The Beginning of Artworks incorporated...

In 1980, Marcia Beckelman of Cedar Rapids joined Teddy Shuttleworth as an Artworks Incorporated representative. [When Artworks began, Wyrick agreed to serve as artist consultant for five years (through 1985) in order to be free to do her own work.]

 

Gail Zlatnick (Iowa City), Marj Dodd (Ottumwa) and Randee Fieselman (Des Moines) were added to the Artworks’ staff fairly soon after its founding. Fieselmann purchased the business from Shuttleworth in the late 1980’s. As the business evolved, the staff found it necessary to expand the number of artists it represented.

 

Each rep deserves a heartfelt thank you for opening so many opportunities for artists working in Iowa.

ABOUT SHIRLEY WYRICK

bottom of page