Dealing in works of art
Luxury-auto seller teams with curator in venture
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/12/2014 (2789 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Some of the world’s most exotic cars have been compared to works of art, and now a local luxury-auto dealer is about to bring the two together under the same roof.
Nott Autocorp is teaming up with Winnipeg’s Gurevich Fine Art to open what Nott owner Trevor Nott describes as the world’s first luxury auto and art gallery.
“This (Nott Luxury Auto & Art Gallery) is not just a car dealership with art on the walls. It’s a car dealership and an art gallery sharing the same space,” Nott explained during an interview Thursday, as a horde of tradespeople scrambled to convert an old, 20,000-square-foot warehouse on the corner of Waverley Street and McGillivray Avenue into a hip new retail space for the unique new venture.
Although there is still plenty of work to be done, the goal is to have everything done in time for a soft opening some time during the final week of December.
When it’s completed, the gallery will feature up to 70 vehicles and at least 40 pieces of original art on display in the massive showroom.
Nott Autocorp will own and operate both sides of the business, with a separate sales staff for each. Gurevich Fine Art will be the curator for the art gallery, dealing with the artists and deciding which pieces are on display there.
“To me, it’s like peanut butter and honey together,” Nott explained. “I’ve always loved cars and I’ve always loved art.”
He’s betting a lot of Nott Autocorp’s customers feel the same way.
Nott also noted most cars start off in a design lab as a drawing or sculpture, “so this basically just brings a car back to its birth as art.”
Gurevich Fine Art owner Howard Gurevich said when Nott pitched the idea to him — they met through a mutual friend — he was instantly intrigued.
“It’s presenting art in a different kind of way, and art is all about getting people to look at art in different ways,” he said.
“I think the cars will enhance the art and the art will enhance the cars.”
Nott said the autos and the artwork won’t be in separate spaces. The paintings, sculptures, and three-dimensional pieces will be on display throughout the showroom, which Nott says will be the largest auto showroom in the city.
Gurevich said most of the art will be by local artists, with some pieces from out-of-province clients. Prices will generally range from about $500 to as much as $25,000.
“The people who will be featured there will all be what I would call established artists,” he said. “They’re people whose work belongs in galleries. These are serious players.”
Nott said he originally planned to try out the concept in Calgary because it’s a bigger market with more high-income earners. He even had a building picked out, but when that deal fell through he decided to shift gears and try it out in his hometown.
“I grew up here and I live here. Winnipeg also recently has had this renaissance, so I think it can definitely support it.”
Because they plan to hold art openings and other special events for their customers, the new gallery will also boast its own wine cellar. Nott stressed the wine will only be served during special events. The last thing he wants is a customer waking up the next day, all hung over, and wondering why there’s a Ferrari in his garage.
The new retail outlet — Nott Autocorp’s second in the city — will have a staff of about 30. One of two other buildings on the 2.2-hectare site will also be converted into an auto-repair facility.
Former Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Charles Roberts, who recently moved back to Winnipeg from California, will be the outlet’s sales ambassador.
Roberts recently told Free Press auto writer Myron Love he used to play basketball with Nott and also bought a Cadillac from him. So he was glad to be back and working with him.
“I spent some good years here and I missed the city and the people here,” said Roberts.
Nott said once the new dealership opens, the company will be converting its original outlet on De Vries Avenue into a wholesale outlet/service centre that will handle trade-in vehicles and pre-owned autos priced at $20,000 or less.