Sponsored by Lane Powell

The Frog hops as the art world adapts

| Print |  Email
The Latest
Thursday, July 01, 2010
BY JOSEY BARTLETT

The gallery that has replaced the high-end Lawrence Gallery in Portland’s Pearl District might be a sign that the art world is adapting to changing economic realities.

The Dapper Frog lifestyle gallery (motto: “Our treasures make you smile.”) will open at the end of July as a new neighbor to such longtime and notable Pearl District galleries as Elizabeth Leach, Froelick and Pulliam Deffenbaugh.

The gallery business has been struggling during the downturn as fewer customers have the big bucks and more and more are looking for affordable art. “We have done a fair amount of tightening our belts,” said Martha Lee, owner of the Laura Russo Gallery.

Celotto
A Frog work by glass master Afro Celotto
But the Dapper Frog is expanding, with four galleries on the Oregon Coast in addition to the new space in the Pearl. Owner John McDonnell sums up the strategy: “Price points! This has been the right strategy with what has happened economically.”

The Frog's glass, jewelry, and sculpture sell for between $4 and $50,000.

In just five years, the Dapper Frog’s customer list has grown to 18,000, mostly in the Portland and Vancouver area. “We have been fortunate,” says McDonnell.  “Every year we have grown in sales.”

McDonnell is a former executive vice president and CFO for American Express Travel related services. He got into the art business when he got antsy during retirement. He has traveled all over the world and many of the original pieces he sells come from his trips.

The Dapper Frog galleries buy art in full from artists. Nothing is on consignment, which allows better prices, more volume, and faster transactions, McDonnell says. The Frog sells glass pieces by Randy Strong, "Frogman" Tim Cotterill and the "woven glass" artists Markow & Norris. Strong makes only one piece a month, and McDonnell owns 16 of his works.

That makes the Frog a rare buyer providing opportunity for glass artists. “A lot of artists have stopped producing,” says Ron Nolz, of Pacific States Marketing a company that represents some top glass artists. “The cost of creating glass is very expensive; it’s a fact of what’s going on in the economy. The artists who are surviving are producing a market niche.”

McDonnell stores the Frog’s undisplayed works at his 60,000 square feet warehouse in Lincoln City. All web purchases, which comprise 20% to 25% of all sales, come from this giant space as well.

Not bad for a company that started out selling door stoppers online.

Josey Bartlett is an associate writer for Oregon Business, and a visual artist.

 

More Articles

Ski traffic

Linda Baker
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
0121-skiway-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

A place-based multimodal transportation plan for Mt. Hood is long overdue.


Read more...

4 married couples who work together

The Latest
Thursday, January 22, 2015
IMG 0020BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

They say maintaining a healthy marriage takes work. So does running a business with your spouse.


Read more...

7 industry trends of 2015

The Latest
Friday, January 09, 2015
covertrends15-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Industry groups identify top trends for 2015.


Read more...

A legislative preview — and celebration

Linda Baker
Friday, January 23, 2015
012315-speaker-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

The Northwest Environmental Business Council previews the 2015 legislative agenda as Hatch Oregon celebrates Oregon's new community crowdfunding rules.


Read more...

VIDEO: The 2015 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015

videothumbVIDEO: 2015 100 Best Companies to work for in Oregon


Read more...

Thy neighbor's house

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Vacasa may lack the name recognition of Airbnb. But not for long.


Read more...

The week journalism died

Linda Baker
Sunday, February 15, 2015
deadjournalismthumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

As the investigation against the governor moves forward, those of us in the news business should reflect on our own potential for subverting the democratic process.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS