McElwain, Mary

Art Consultant Mary McElwain discusses the maturing of the art advisory industry, answering questions as to why corporate collections are ideal environments for art, what happens if these collections deaccession, and how art consultants work to secure commissions for artists.

“Connecting artists with corporations for commissioned work is a special skill set –it takes an understanding what the artists is capable of. Both the client and the artist have to trust that I will bring the project to fruition by working with the artist.”

Mary McElwain has been working as an art consultant since the mid-80s, and started her own firm, McElwain Fine Arts in 1994. With her St. Louis-based firm, McElwain works with corporations, law firms, designers and architects, creating collections and managing the acquisitions of work by historic and contemporary artists. McElwain served as the Board Chair if the Missouri Arts Council for five years, and is a member of the International Association of Professional Art Advisors, where she has also served on the board. McElwain received a BA in Studio Art from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville.