Steven and Kathleen Sidwell spent their lives together moving from place to place, making their home and family in seven cities across the USA. Because of Steven’s career as an NFL defensive football coach, the Sidwells led a fluid and unpredictable lifestyle. Everywhere they landed, they laid down roots, immersing themselves in the various art communities, cultural centers and galleries of the region. As a practicing artist, Kathleen often enrolled in art classes, working alongside local artists. And, as part of their Life in Art, Kate and Steven articulated their love for art through their growing collection.
The Sidwells’ home inevitably became a hub for artists, gallerists and collectors, encouraging networking and collaboration. On Cape Cod in their Studio on Slough Road multipurpose work, exhibition and living space, the Sidwell home developed into its own unofficial cultural center where artists and collectors could mingle, discuss, exhibit and purchase/sell artwork.
A Life in Art: The Steven and Kathleen Sidwell Collection is a celebration of the Sidwells love of art and their commitment to supporting local artists through their patronage, everywhere they found themselves. The exhibition includes art collected by the Sidwells from 1970 to the present. Over 50 artworks are on display including paintings, prints, sculpture and multi-media artwork. Susan Danton, Proprietor and Curator of Miller White Fine Arts in Dennis, MA is guest curator for A Life in Art.
A Panel Discussion by art leaders on The Impact of Collecting will be held on Thursday, November 2 from 5pm – 6pm in the Museum’s D’Alessandro Auditorium. There is no fee to attend the panel discussion. RSVPs appreciated.
Guest Curator's Statement
As curator for A Life in Art: The Steven and Kathleen Sidwell Collection, it is my profound pleasure to invite you to a rather unique family reunion, one composed of art, good friends and the stories they share.
When Kate Sidwell* asked me to curate her and Steven’s fifty-plus years of gathering artworks over the course of their marriage -- beginning at age eighteen -- there was no hesitation on my part. Literally, I permitted myself a gasp of delight, and then I was off on an adventure like no other I’ve known in my thirteen years directing the exhibitions at Miller White.
To be invited to curate a collection of such extraordinary merit was, itself, a privilege beyond measure. However, beyond that, the magnitude of my own experience of handling and organizing the Sidwells’ collection grew exponentially from months of immersing myself in the stories surrounding each acquisition. The impact for me was tantamount to a loving and life-affirming embrace from the heart of two of the most passionate advocates of the arts I’ve met. And, in fact, this is really what collecting art is all about.
The Sidwell Collection is much more than the art. It is indeed a reunion of myriad passionate souls; the makers themselves, their works, and the human connections that result from those who view and buy. All involved experienced the inexorable rise in the value of their tenure on Earth that only the pursuit of higher aesthetics may bring. The Sidwells, by mounting their stunning collection upon the renowned walls of Cape Cod Museum of Art, give their Cape community an equal opportunity to experience the same, if not greater, benefit.
The unassailable truth is that the Sidwells never knew where their collecting would take them, only that their relentless passion for art would endure over the lifespan of their union. They moved with an open willingness to be fascinated, whether in revolt or peace, with the dynamic emotion that their collection of art generated throughout a life together. Aesthetics are an option; high aesthetics are crucial, begging the question as to whether true, soul-level communication is possible without art.
Again, art doesn’t analyze life so much as it contextualizes it. As such, a family reunion best describes A Life in Art: The Steven and Kathleen Sidwell Collection. For the Sidwells, the bigger the better, and we, the visual recipients of their aesthetic largesse, are warmly urged toward realizing our own ideals lived richly through art.
Susan Reid Danton, M.A., Guest Curator, October 2023
* Steve Sidwell passed from his life on earth on August 23, 2023, two full months prior to the opening of The Sidwell Collection, leaving multiple legacies for the rest of us to enjoy and learn from. While we ache for his living testimony, his spirit fully imbues the spaces wherever his collection proudly stands, and we can all agree that he is smiling yet.
Artists in the Exhibition
photo by Susan Danton, Curator