If 2020 had a mantra, it might be, “Just live through this.” But Emillions Art LLC founder and CEO Marlissa Gardner shares why the arts are part of what we live for.
“Art reminds us that there is beauty and joy to be had in life,” she says. “It touches the soul of you. Art reminds us every day of our emotional experiences.”
During COVID-19, when businesses were forced to innovate or implode under the pandemic’s weight, the Naples-based fine art consulting firm and online gallery launched two new offerings: a podcast series, Virtually Emillions Art, which provides a personalized experience in the gallery space, and an online auction platform for discerning collectors.
“We’ve had extraordinary responses, so I’m excited,” Gardner says.
Emillions Art is not the first art gallery to offer online auctions or podcasts, though there aren’t many, Gardner said. Hers also provides a local connection.
“This is not another auction platform—this is something in our own community. If a person knows an artist, they can be proud to know that artist, and there is a good chance they can get a piece [of art] that’s less on auction than it might be in the showroom,” Gardner says.
Gardner has appreciated and created art for much of her life, previously as a sports photographer and filmmaker. She founded Emillions Art in 2014 after a gallery director shared with her some inspiring details of the job.
“In a nutshell, it took everything I loved about travel, history and photography and [enabled] bringing it back and sharing it with people,” Gardner says.
The very next day, Gardner opened the company in Massachusetts, where she lives at the time. “I named it after a wine region in France called Saint-Émilion. It’s my favorite wine.”
Three years ago, Gardner moved Emillions Art to Southwest Florida, where she had vacationed since her mid-teens. It started as a small art-consulting office on U.S. 41 specializing in full-service fine art asset management, which the firm still offers today. In November 2019, Emillions Art moved to its current 2,000-square-foot showroom at the frequented Fifth Avenue South in Naples, sparking a 500% growth in revenue in the last year, Gardner said.
Over the years, Gardner built a sturdy base of business connections around the globe—from the art markets of Miami to Monaco—and she looks forward to expanding Emillions Art by turning the showroom experience into more of a must-see destination. She’s tight-lipped on the details for now.
“Showrooms are places to go and experience, and that’s what we’re looking to do,” she says. “I’m trying to find ways to reach people and make it fun and entertaining at the same time, and maybe bring a little light into their lives.”