Melanie Werner is a renowned curator at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort: a family owned art collection house located in Farmington, PA. Her duties entail collecting and managing over 700 paintings, sculptures, and objects. She also directs the Nemacolin Art Studio and Nemacolin Gallery. Melanie is also a well-known personality in the skin care industry, having invented MixByMe (Trade Mark), the first customized, on-demand Fragrance and Skin Care Technology. During her tenure as Director of Brand Development at MIXELLE Fragrance for me by me, from May 2011 to September 2016, Werner oversaw Design Engineering, Concept Marketing, and Product Placement. From 1995 to 1996, she was the Director of Advertising and Marketing at Warren General Hospital in Warren, Ohio.
She was tasked with reorganizing the marketing department, handling media relations and retooling the operating systems at the hospital to meet the set objectives. At the Pittsburgh based Galerie Werner, LLC, Melanie Werner served as Sales Director and Chief Curator from 2002 to 2016; specializing in American and European fine art and vintage photography. Werner has an extensive experience serving the community as a volunteer and is currently a Board Member of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and an instructor at OSHER Lifelong Learning Institute, a constituent college of the Carnegie Mellon University. Werner studied at Westminster College in Philadelphia from 1980 to 1983 and graduated with BA in Communications and Marketing. She later joined WICE, an Adult Division of the American University of Paris to pursue European art history and architecture along with creative writing.
Where did the idea for Galerie Werner come from?
When growing up as a young girl, I was surrounded by lots of beautiful paintings. With such artistic opulence firmly ingrained in my mind, I wanted to be part of this culture. Out of curiosity, I began by visiting art galleries, antique fairs and auctions combing over timeless pieces. It was during this time that I took the opportunity to quiz dealers, visiting artists and seasoned art lovers on a host of issues. Once I completed college, I had already formed an opinion of what I wanted to do. Galerie Werner is a dream come true for me. We exhibit an impressive collection of European art and antiques, from contemporary art to timeless 18th and 20th-century paintings and thought-provoking works on paper. Our paintings span from portraits and still lifes to Old Masters Style and landscapes.
How does your typical day look like? How do you make it productive?
Well, I juggle quite some responsibilities, being the founder, sales director, and curator of Galerie Werner. I begin my day with an early morning jog. Once I get into the office, I follow through on the previous assignments before engaging my team members on incoming projects. As a curator, I oversee the restoration work with the help of licensed restoration artists. Besides documenting and keeping records, I also do a lot of research, staff training and traveling.
How do you bring ideas to life?
A critical part of the curator’s work is collecting pieces to add to the existing collection. The collection strategy requires serious thought to ensure only the right pieces are selected. We work closely with our team of experts in Europe to verify and authenticate dates and artists as well as identify provenance. When it comes to improvement ideas, I am always open to innovative ideas targeted at growing our outreach and enhancing productivity. The experience I have gained over the years in the art world also informs some of the decisions I make.
What are some of the trends that excite you?
I believe art directors and curators must look for new ways to provoke and entertain their audiences. I am at the forefront of promoting open exhibitions, where we afford up and coming artists the opportunity to showcase their talents and mingle with renowned artists. We’ve also set a strong foundation for the sales and marketing area. In fact, clients who work with us can take advantage of our link to Europe and established rapport with dealers and vendors in the art world to find precious pieces of art.
What challenges do you encounter in your profession?
Like the other professions, challenges abound in the art world. Our role as curators has been changing over the years with emphasize turning to education in museums and the arts, new advances in technology and dealing with the entry of the Millennials. To bridge the divide in the digital space, artists and gallerists must embrace new technology and stay updated with the trends shaping the industry.