Youth Ambassadors learn the “art” of art dealing
by: London James, Youth Ambassador
Special to HISTORIC CITY NEWS
When the 450th Youth Ambassadors met for their regular monthly event in March, they weren’t too sure what to expect. But, when they left to go home, they had a whole new appreciation of the art scene in St. Augustine and the skills and passion of local Art Gallery Director Ryan Sheckels.
Sheckles, owner of DaVinci Fine Art on Cathedral Place and Gallery Director of the James Coleman Signature Gallery located in the Casa Monica Hotel, shared his fascinating experiences in the art world with the students, encouraging them to begin collecting and become aware of the talent around them. He is the publisher of several artists including the photographer, James Thomas.
“Art has always interested me. The effort, the creativity, the variety, all of it is fascinating to me,” Ambassador London James said, as he described his experience. “It was the subject I’d look forward to most in elementary school, the career path I pursued (but ultimately abandoned due to my less than impressive artistic skills), and a pretty substantial section of human history itself.”
The Ambassadors were also given a tour of the Coleman Gallery with Sheckles pointing out the various forms of art; from oil paintings to the whimsical bronze frogs by “Frogman”, Tim Cotterill.
Everybody has heard of the art masters; such as Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Picasso, etc. But most, including myself, do not know that there is a different kind of “artist” behind the scenes. Not one who works directly on the canvas — but one who helps the canvas get worked on, in the first place. People like Ryan Sheckles.
Sheckles’ job, as the art dealer, is to make aspiring artists known. He takes care of and supplies works of art to lovers of the canvas. Truthfully, I had no idea a profession like that existed; or maybe I never really considered how artists became well known.
That seems a bit silly not to take into account, now. An art dealer has to have connections and relationships, well placed jobs, and especially unbelievable luck. All of these have been acquired by Mr. Sheckles. It’s inspiring, knowing that he made thousands on his first day of working in an art gallery. I’m more mindful of those behind the scenes figures thanks to Mr. Sheckles.
“I’m happy that you make a positive boost in the art community,” James wrote in a note thanking Sheckles for taking the time to share his career with the Ambassadors.
Following their inspiring evening of art encouragement, the Ambassadors were asked to participate in Ancient City Mosaic. Canvases were handed out to those who want to “be the artist” and submit their own creations to the 450th project.