Art Advising for Our Times
Tinged with the promise of a summer solstice, a pop-up art event conceived and implemented by Sahra Beaupré and Greta Hagg in 2019 turned into a catalyst for their future. As buttery light filtered through the slats of the historic Story Mill Warehouse, hundreds of community members, artists, and performers experienced a single moment together. Right then and there, Beaupré and Hagg started their plans to go all-in on a gallery and art advising business in Bozeman.
Through years of working alongside artists and art collectors, Echo Arts was conceived as a multi-faceted business incorporating a brick and mortar gallery, with a curated calendar of shows, and a team of art advisors who work with individual clients to infuse art into any design or space. By infusing art into projects, founders Beaupré and Hagg work with project designers from conception to completion, matching artists and artwork with clients.
“We know what engages people,” Beaupré says. “We help them look at their project as a whole from the start. If you include art from the inception of a project, it is easier to attain an aesthetic harmony amongst overlapping design features.”
As art advisors, Echo Arts facilitates public art projects by working with nonprofit and municipal agencies on policies, ordinances, and approvals. For private art projects, they collaborate with designers, developers, architects, landscape architects, engineers, contractors, and collectors. As a knowledgeable authority for sourcing contemporary artists working in a variety of mediums all over the world, they pride themselves on research and due diligence prior to consultations so as to have a wealth of insight when they come to the table with a client. Their collaborative skill comes in when working with other design professionals, which provides a seamless service in art procurement and installation.
If you include art from the inception of a project, it is easier to attain an aesthetic harmony amongst overlapping design features.
–Sahra Beaupré, Echo Arts
“Art can dramatically alter our awareness and perception of a place,” Hagg says. “Whether we realize it or not, that which surrounds us on a daily basis silently dictates our movements, our emotions, and our sense of place. Art holds an incredible amount of power in its raw, untethered ability to revel in the beauty, complex nature, and possibilities of this world.”
Echo Arts provides a variety of services, including collaboration with industry professionals and personal collectors to provide comprehensive plans for art procurement and installation; site assessment and structural, aesthetic, and cultural considerations; budget management for art procurement, fabrication, installation, and care over time; an extensive artist database and curated selection for specific project proposals; overseeing conceptual design proposals; contracting for development and oversight from inception to conclusion of a project; guidance regarding insurance and long-term care; artwork cataloguing, labels, and temporary exhibitions; and coordinated delivery with professional installation.
For both Beaupré and Hagg, it comes down to their life-long dedication to the arts.
“We work with permanent and temporary installations,” Beaupré says. “If it’s important that the project remains regional, we have a vast array of artists and artisans we can use. We help to decide what would be the perfect type and style of art for a specific space.”
Whether it is artist Griffin Loop’s 50-foot steel ‘paper airplane’ landing on a remote hill-top, a site-sensitive installation composed of deconstructed paintings by Danielle Riede, or Sandra dal Poggetto’s visceral narrative based on the Western landscape, Echo Arts draws on a wealth of talent. From contemporary photographers, painters, sculptors, and mixed media artists, to muralists, light and video artists, and textile artists, there is a significant breadth of discovery for their clients.
“The process entails kicking around ideas,” Beaupré says. “How do you want art infused? What is the site supposed to represent? What is the community this space serves? Once we understand the client’s ideas, we can return to them with some proposals. If the project is not solely on private property, there’s an additional process of going back and forth and we’re there to make that process easier. We can work behind the scenes with permitting and associated ordinances.”
Beaupré and Hagg were both educated in the arts, and possess an understanding of what it means to be an artist. Both worked in art nonprofits, gallery management, and community art organizing. When they first met in Bozeman, they began by doing pop-up events, art shows, and talks. They discovered that they worked well together. Beaupré found her love of curation; Hagg had an itch to represent more contemporary artists.
“What’s motivating for me is supporting other artists and being a creative visionary behind the scenes,” Beaupré says. “It’s important right now to express our humanity. Echo Arts persists because art exposes truth and leads to progress.” Hagg adds, “When we give art weight in our world, the world opens up. Communities, big and small, thrive when art is at the forefront of design and implementation.”
“When we give art weight in our world, the world opens up. Communities, big and small, thrive when art is at the forefront of design and implementation.”
—Greta Hagg, Echo Arts