More Wall Space: The Collector’s Journey To Connoisseurship – Stephen Zimmerman

Stephen Zimmerman

What drives most art collectors, and how they decide what to collect, might surprise you. Stephen Zimmerman is an art collector and co-founder of the Western Art Society of the Eiteljorg Museum. He also serves as an advisory board member of the Clark Hulings Foundation for Visual Artists, and is based in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Stephen explains that collecting is driven by self-made aficionados who often attain a level of education about a given artist and stewardship of a school of art that far exceeds that of the official mediators of taste. As a result, collectors are often driven by an intense curiosity, passion, and (profoundly) personal relationships with individual artists. Whether your an artist, art patron, or another collector – this episode is a joyous exploration of the a commitment that is anything but a hobby.

What Art Collectors Know That We Don’t


  • Collecting as diversification, therapy, and self-education (the collector as autodidact)
  • “The wisdom of collecting original fine art”
  • Art patrons and art collectors
  • Collectors are internally driven, not externally persuaded. Art collecting is discovered, not taught.
  • Generational differences among collectors
  • “Anyone with a genuine interest at any economic level can acquire a collection.”
  • Art collecting is about the “subject matter & consistency of approach”.
  • The collector as rebel vs. follower. Collectors vs. tastemakers.
  • Curation does not necessarily confer conversance in the arts.
  • Personal relationships with artists (not curatorial direction) drive collectors’ choices of whom to collect.
  • “Helping artists who need business acumen enter the ring with the world’s great visual artists”
  • Why join a non-profit board, as an art collector?
  • Art collecting is not a hobby.

Steve also discussed:

The Mission of the Clark Hulings Foundation:

Real artists get up and work every single day; they need business training to enter the ring with the world’s great visual artists… Some need legal advice, some accounting advice, some marketing advice, and some need help connecting with collectors whose acquisitions are often driven by personal relationships with artists.

CHF Collector Salons

Collector salons offer collectors access to their peers (and insights into peer collections), as well as an insider’s view of working artists to watch and emerging markets for new work.

Indianapolis: The Best Kept Secret in Fine Arts

(Except to anyone who has stepped out of the airport)! Stephen is passionate about placing Indianapolis into its proper role as a Mecca of the fine arts. Given the guests we’ve had from Indianapolis, and the events we’ve touted to our audience and supported with our media, we quite agree! With that in mind, for more information on the Eiteljorg Musem visit

How to Sell More Art

Sell More Art

Sign up (free) for an introductory course for professional artists: Sales Strategies for Growth.

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Daniel DiGriz
Daniel DiGriz is CHF's Creative Director and Director of Educational Programming. He's a founder at corporate consulting firm Free Agent Source Inc., and Digital Ecologist® at MadPipe which provides creative direction and marketing leadership to multiple firms. His background in Fortune 500 life is in sales and education. Daniel is a corporate storyteller and collector of brand stories who speaks at conferences and hosts podcasts, including The Thriving Artist™ Podcast. His personal website is

1 thought on “More Wall Space: The Collector’s Journey To Connoisseurship – Stephen Zimmerman”

  1. I so agree, art collecting is not a hobby. It’s an internally driven passion, therapy and the closest I’ve come to religion. Thanks, Daniel, for bearing a light on my life’s passion.

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