A Glimpse Inside the Art Collection of ArtWorks Chairs Bethany and David Johnson

The Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s 2017-18 season is coming to a close, but the party’s just getting started with The Rep’s annual ArtWorks fundraiser on April 28.

Along with a night full of libations, auctions and eats (think: Copper Grill, Ira’s, Ohia Poke and Three Fold), The Rep will host a stunning, for-sale art lineup featuring the work of more than 87 talented Arkansas artists covering everything from painting and photography to pottery and jewelry.

But before the big night, we caught up with ArtWorks co-chairs Bethany and David Johnson to chat about their personal art collection and tips for anyone starting their own.


What was the first real piece of artwork you purchased?

Bethany Johnson: One of the first pieces we ever purchased was at a silent auction. We loved the artist and have since bought two additional paintings by her.


Why did it speak to you then? Does it still, and if so, has it changed?

BJ: I loved the colors. It is an abstract landscape and that is a style I really like.

David Johnson: I was drawn to the painting because its of a lake and it reminded me of where we live.


What’s the oddest piece in your collection?

DJ: The oddest piece we have is probably one we inherited by Eugene Von Blaas. Instead of being on your traditional canvas it is actually painted on slate.


What’s your favorite piece?

BJ: I have two favorites. One is a painting from wine country. I love the memories it brings back of our trip when I see it. The second is the painting we got from ArtWorks last year. We instantly knew it was the one we wanted when we saw it hanging on the wall. It is also of a vineyard, so I am sensing a theme here!

DJ: My favorite is a painting by Scotty Shively. It is a landscape of trees with lots of yellows in it. It is bright and happy when you pass by it in the house.


What was the last piece you purchased and why did you choose it?

BJ: We bought two pieces at Saints and Sinners this year. We planned on getting something different this time, but found two we really liked that fill spots on a wall in our house that needed a space.


What one piece of advice would you give to someone starting an art collection?

BJ: Find a wall that you pass by all the time in your house and look for a painting to fill it first. You will be so happy every time you go by it that you found something you love. The reason I started collecting art in the first place was I was inspired by David’s great aunt’s home. It was filled with art and framed memories all over the wall of her home. It was a beautiful gallery of her life, and that is how I want my home to be one day.

DJ: Go to the ArtWorks event coming up! It is a great way to find paintings no one else has and there is literally every kind of medium and price point there!


ArtWorks starts at 6:30 p.m. at The Rep. Find tickets and more information on The Rep’s website.

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