These Innovators Are Leading the Charge in Orange County

Allison Mitchell, Modern Luxury | Riviera, February 23, 2022

Victoria Kennedy

Owner of Kennedy Contemporary

A graduate of Stanford University and Claremont Graduate University, Orange County native Victoria Kennedy is painting the town at Kennedy Contemporary, her debut art gallery that bowed in January 2021. Tucked in The Walk on Westcliff Drive in Newport Beach, the gallery is the culmination of Kennedy's passion for showcasing both established and on-the-rise contemporary artists. And when it comes to matters of art, Kennedy knows her stuff—she's worked in galleries throughout San Francisco and Park City, Utah, plus served as the curator of the world's leading online gallery, Saatchi Art. Here, the entrepreneur waxes poetic about turning her passion into a full-time business.

We know you as an innovator in the arts. What sparked your passion for your field? While at Stanford University, I focused on medieval and early modern art history. It wasn't until after graduating, when I started working in a contemporary art gallery, that I developed a love and appreciation for contemporary art. It is a powerful thing to be able to support an artist's career; by selling their works to collectors, you enable them to continue to create meaningful art.

To you, what does it mean to be an innovator? To me, an innovator is someone who introduces new and exciting changes or products. Personally, I believe the most impactful innovators are committed to improving the community in which they live and serve. We're in this for the long game and plan to be supporting our artists and serving our clients in Orange County for years to come.

What's next? We will be premiering a solo exhibition with renowned Laguna Beach artist Chris Gwaltney on May 19. This will be Chris' first local solo exhibition since 2011 and we are excited to share his collection of abstract works with our collectors as he is primarily known for his figurative works. We are also bringing on two new artists, Christopher Benson (Santa Fe, N.M.) and Shane McClatchey (Laguna Beach). Both Christopher and Shane are incredibly talented artists who will bring fresh perspectives to our gallery roster. Christopher is a two-time winner of the Pollock-Krasner Award and has been painting for over four decades. Shane received his MFA from the Laguna College of Art & Design and is at the start of a promising art career.