The extensive art collection of Tabitha Oblinger Bean – a longtime Wichitan artist and collector who has been instrumental in supporting and mentoring other local artists – goes on sale this weekend.
Collective Intelligence, an art exhibit and fundraiser for the Kansas Food Bank, is a fitting tribute to Bean, according to her family and those who knew her. He mixes Bean’s love for art and artists with his passion for helping others in need. Bean, special exhibitions coordinator with Wichita’s CityArts for 15 years, died in November 2020 at the age of 60.
More than 125 works of art by nearly 80 artists from the region will be on display and for sale from Friday evening October 8 to Sunday afternoon October 10 at the Vertigo 232 gallery, located above Hewitt’s Antiques, 232 N. Market . All proceeds from the sale of the artwork will be donated to the Kansas Food Bank.
Even before his 1995-2010 tenure with CityArts, Bean had made art and championed local artists, often buying and trading art with emerging artists.
As a result, she has amassed what her sister Sarah Oblinger calls a quality art collection âan eclectic museumâ.
âFor me, looking at his collection, I’m amazed at the diversity, from folk art to fine art,â Oblinger said. âShe loved the art and the people who made it. This show reflects that.
“She had a keen eye and she would spot something before anyone else,” said Paul Hudson, the former owner of the Lawrence Photo Gallery who helped build collective intelligence with Oblinger. Bean bought, traded, and received artwork, and she also enjoyed browsing thrift stores and other art places.
She once traded in her blue Volkswagen for a work of art from her sister. This piece, “Expect Delays”, will be in the art exhibit. In the 1980s, the two sisters shared emerging artistic careers and their works were often indistinguishable until Sarah, who now lives in New Mexico, moved.
Other artists with works in the collection include local notables such as Wade Hampton, Marc Bosworth, Christopher Gulick, Charlotte Martin, Patrick Duegaw, Terry Maxwell, Lester Raymer, John Boyd, Neal Harrington and Curt Clonts.
The collection, of course, also includes the work created by Bean. Bean’s work was in great demand.
While other artists might have a hard time selling their art, people lined up for his, Hampton recalls.
âI would feel like I was winning the lottery when I have a Tab coin,â said Hampton. He added a coveted “tab piece” to his collection when she offered to exchange works of art with him early in his career.
Her style, personality and role as an artist and at City Arts have made her an icon and a heart of the Wichita art scene, Hampton said.
This is probably why Hudson sees collective intelligence as more than an art show and fundraiser.
âWe’re making it as much an art show as it is a party and a celebration,â said Hudson.
Art exhibition “Collective intelligence”, fundraising
What: Art exhibit and sale featuring the extensive collection of local artist and collector Tabitha Oblinger Bean. All proceeds from the sale of the artwork will be donated to the Kansas Food Bank.
When: 6 pm-10pm Friday October 8; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, October 9; and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, October 10
Or: Vertigo Gallery 232, located above Hewitt’s Antiques, 232 N. Market
Admission: To free
More information: facebook.com/Vertigo232art