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Hidden Gems: Meet Victoria Kennedy of Kennedy Contemporary

Today we’d like to introduce you to Victoria Kennedy.

Hi Victoria, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Hello! My name is Victoria Kennedy and I own an art gallery – Kennedy Contemporary – in my hometown of Newport Beach. I realize being raised in Orange County is a total blessing. Still, after growing up in the OC, I wanted more! I wanted a change of scenery, climate and community. Stanford University provided me that opportunity in the beautiful setting of endless hills under the Bay Area fog. It is here where I fell in love with medieval and early modern history and majored in Religious Studies and Art History. Again I wanted more – so I studied abroad at Oxford, moved to France to lead luxury active travel vacations, and used the time in Europe to travel constantly and absorb its rich history. Eventually, I moved to Park City, Utah, and worked at a contemporary art gallery. It was my first real exposure to the contemporary art world and I felt that I had found my passion. What appeals to me most about this industry is the artists’ stories. Every time I meet a new artist, I’m exposed to a new narrative, a new way of thinking about our world and understanding art. As a gallery owner, I now have the privilege of sharing those stories and ideas with clients who have the same passion of discovery. And ultimately, I love the joy a new acquisition brings to my clients.

From there, I received a Masters in Art Business from CGU, worked at Berggruen Gallery in San Francisco, and most recently at Saatchi Art (the leading online art gallery). As a young company, Saatchi Art was pushing the boundaries of buying art online and as a curator, I attended international art fairs through their sister company, The Other Art Fair, advised emerging artists, and facilitated sales for clients around the world. It was a dream job until I began to miss the in-person connection with art and my clients. And so – full circle – I realized that the unique combination of culture, clientele, and community made Newport Beach the perfect place to open an art gallery. Kennedy Contemporary was born from a culmination of my experiences and my continued belief in the strength of in-person connections with art. We opened in late January 2021 – under pandemic restrictions – and have received an overwhelmingly positive response from our community. It’s truly been a labor of love.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The road to opening the gallery was definitely not smooth! The pandemic delayed a lot of our initial plans and made it (surprisingly) difficult to find a lease as a new small business in Newport Beach. Art galleries have very unique website and technology needs – and I’m grateful for the local company Rocket Farm who helped us build our web presence and integrate our back-end gallery system. There are also a lot of things about running a small business in California that no one ever teaches you – like permitting, additional taxes, paying sales tax, etc. Luckily, my husband has been running his own small business (Wesfilms.com) for over a decade, so I had a great support system for my (many) random questions. I’m grateful that the hard work I put into building the business is starting to pay off. It’s an incredible space filled with uniquely talented artists and I’m so excited to share our artists with the broader community.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Based in Newport Beach, Kennedy Contemporary is an art gallery that proudly showcases exceptional emerging and established artists. We strive to break down traditional barriers by focusing on accessibility and connecting collectors with art that will enrich their lives. What makes us unique is that we are transparent about our pricing and inventory. A lot of galleries don’t list prices online (you have to inquire) or their websites are dated and inaccurate. We are proud to be technologically forward by having a robust web presence and utilizing Instagram as our primary marketing tool (@kennedycontemporary). As the pandemic restrictions ease, we are looking forward to engaging with our community IRL. Our inaugural exhibition will be with local artist Elyse Katz, opening June 3rd, and we look forward to hosting more private and public events this summer. Although our primary focus is representing and telling the stories of our artists, we also assist clients with art advisory consulting. This can be as simple as finding some options for a single wall or outfitting an entire home with new art.

In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
Like most businesses, the art world is shifting online. We’ve had clients DM us about works they’ve seen on Instagram and use our website as their primary point of discovery. That being said, we’ve seen an increased demand for curated and concierge services. Clients want the art buying process to be as easy as possible – so we bring works to their homes for memos, do photoshop mockups, create personalized curated selections, etc.

Pricing:

  • “Fig Leaf with Bird” by Copper Tritscheller – $875
  • “Lupine Blooming in Hawk Canyon” by Joli Beach – $965
  • “Afterglow #1” by Amy Van Winkle – $1,540
  • “Hide and Seek” by Elyse Katz – $2,215
  • “Blue Traces” by Joseph Justus – $3,775

Contact Info:


Image Credits:

Lauren Cate Photography http://www.laurencate.com/

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