An ebullient dachshund puppy and a dignified springer spaniel form the greeting committee for P&M Artworks, a private gallery business run by Patricia Glenn and Michael Pronko from their Mission Hills home.
Glenn, a Kansas City native, expected she’d go to work in a museum after earning a bachelor’s degree in art history at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., and a master’s at the University of Chicago. But as it turned out, her career in the arts took a much less conventional and more diverse path: She was director of research and education for the Historic Kansas City Foundation and then wrote two children’s books on architecture. She taught art history at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Williams College and in Florence, Italy, and also did appraisals while raising two children.
Four years ago Glenn married Pronko, a Kansas City psychiatrist, and the two came up with the idea to start an online gallery that would highlight international artists they found while traveling, as well as Kansas City artists they encountered through their periodic presentations of pop-up shows at local venues.
Their house is a showcase for both, along with Western art inherited from Glenn’s father, Turkish rugs, Berber jewelry, Japanese netsuke and Chinese furniture.
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Let’s start with some of the art that you’ve collected.
Our house is a reflection of everywhere we’ve been and all the things we love.
The kachina dolls in the den are from my father, a collector of American Western art. I’m obsessed with Berber art and jewelry from Morocco, like this fibula a woman would wear on a caftan. And I love this tortoise shell mascara bottle with engraved silver, turquoise, amber and coral.
The slab table in here was made by Andy and Aaron Sanchez (based in Santa Fe, N.M.). The top is mesquite, inlaid with turquoise and agate, and it is supported by cypress “knees.”
I see furniture as art as well, and we love rugs. The carpet in here is from Turkey. Interior designer David Immenschuh helped us put it all together.
What is this sculpture resembling animal horns over the fireplace?
Ann Carrington, an artist based in London, made this piece out of forks and knives. It’s called “Wildebeest.” Ann was hired to reproduce the queen’s “ensign” out of buttons for the queen of England’s sesquicentennial, for her barge on the Thames. She used 500,000 buttons.
Tell me about this unusual powder room.
David Immenschuh designed it using iridescent tiles. He found the green pendant lamps in the (Kansas City) Stockyards. They’re from Turkey, and so is the font that we’ve made into a sink. That’s from Christopher Filley Antiques.
The framed play dough boutonniere is by Kansas City artist Christopher Bell, and the colorful framed print is by Emil Schutzel.
You have a lot of Kansas City art …
Roberto Lugo is a really marvelous ceramic artist we met when he was an undergraduate at the Art Institute. We bought a piece and became his patrons. He’s now at Penn State.
Yulie Urano made these Japanese geta wooden platform shoes in the vitrine in the foyer when she was a student at the Art Institute. Normally the supports underneath would be made of wood, but she made a cast of her family’s fingers. Those are what hold her up as she goes into the world. And she made the thong part on top out of her own hair.
There’s more Kansas City work upstairs, by Anthony Babb, Deanna Dikeman and Jennifer Boe.
Tell me more about your father’s collection.
His name was Maynard Brown, and he owned the Mid-States Supply company with his brothers. He collected Western art by well-known artists, including Gilbert Gaul and R. Brownell McGrew. My dad give me the R.C. Gorman print in the foyer, and it sets the color scheme for the downstairs. He also collected Red Ryder cartoons, which we have displayed in frames in the kitchen.
What inspired you to get into showing and selling art?
I discovered Tania Babb, a popular ceramic artist from South Africa, at the Nelson-Atkins gift shop. Those are her works in the foyer
I bought a small piece of her figurative ceramics from the Nelson, and then I called her. I bought a few more things and then had a show of her work with Allan Winkler at the Frame Gallery in KC in September 2010. It was called “Beast and Beauties” and marked our first foray into the “pop-up gallery” idea. We didn’t want the rent and overhead of a permanent space.
You’re now using your dining room as a center of operations?
We just had it redone. We wanted the room to be versatile enough to accommodate pedestals. We put in the big marble-topped table and the Turkish rug.
We’re going to use it as a showroom for small collections that we’re trying to sell on consignment. Our first show will be of American Western sculpture, and the viewing will be by invitation only.
But P&M is best known so far for the pop-up shows you put on at different venues around town.
The most exciting thing we’ve done is to come up with a word and have a show based on that word. The first word was “home,” and the show was at the Writers Place. The art photographer E.G. Schempf introduced us to artist Megan Mantia, who helped organize everything.
We sent out a call for artists over age 18, working in any medium, and we paid curator Heather Lustfeldt and fiber artist Pauline Verbeek-Cowart to join me as judges. We also gave prizes to the artists of $500, $300 and $150 and a couple of honorable mentions.
Kate Clements did a series of glass tiaras for the “Home” show. We urged her to contact the fashion industry, and one of them ended up on a model in Milan Vogue.
What’s next with the pop-up shows?
We’ve just put out a call for artists for “Heat,” which will open in April at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center. We’ve extended the range to include Lawrence and Manhattan, Kansas. The jurors are me; Burton Dunbar, professor of art history at UMKC; and Jan Schall, curator of modern art at the Nelson.
For more information on P&M Artworks artists and shows, go to pm-artworks.com.