Baton Rouge entrepreneur: Ann Connelly of Ann Connelly Fine Art

    Ann Connelly
    (Brian Baiamonte) Ann Connelly

    (Photo by Brian Baiamonte: Ann Connelly)

    Ann Connelly

    Position: Founder and Owner

    Company: Ann Connelly Fine Art

    What they do: Fine art placement in residential design, corporate consultancies and specialize procurement services

    Address: 4221 Perkins Road

    Next Goals: Build a new gallery in Studio Park, a development focused on creative and lifestyle businesses at the corner of Lobdell Avenue and Jefferson Highway.



    A self-described interior designer, curator, consultant and artist, Ann Connelly established her fine art business 25 years ago in Baton Rouge, first as a consultant and later opening a gallery space. She has built her business on word-of-mouth referrals rising to become a standard-bearer of fine art in the community. Despite her reputation, Connelly does not consider herself successful. “I am thrilled to have this presence in the community, but I got lucky,” Connelly says. Her early inspiration came from her time spent working with Adalié Brent, the first director of the Louisiana Art and Science Museum. It was Brent who encouraged Connelly to follow her passion. “‘Just jump and go do it,’” Connelly says, describing Brent’s push. “She encouraged me to start consulting.” But for Connelly, success only follows passion. “You work hard,” she says, “and you figure out your way every day.”


    The only one of its kind in Baton Rouge, the gallery juggles three main tasks that ultimately make up the heart of the business. “I am creating on multiple levels,” Connelly says. Between exhibitions, consultancy and community outreach, the wheels are always turning in the mind of Connelly and her team of six, not including the dozens of artists that call the gallery home. When a new business comes to town, like IBM or L’Auberge Casino Hotel, they often call Connelly to take on the task of consulting and procuring art for their space. As a corporate consultant, it is Connelly’s job to communicate with words an artist’s ideas for a space. “It is hard to build a visual picture,” Connelly says. “There has to be a lot of trust and [it is hard to] be exactly on the same page.”


    When Connelly opened up her first gallery space about 20 years ago, she knew she had to figure out a business plan. With her creative mind, that task didn’t come easy. “When we are in art school, we are taught to be completely out of the box,” Connelly says. “It goes exactly against the grain of business.” However, with her finger on the pulse of the art world, Connelly says every business move has been very intuitive. “Also, I surround myself with really smart people.” After many years working to establish herself in the business community, Connelly can express her creativity by sharing the gallery’s artists with everyone. “It is important for us to engage with the community,” she says, “because we feel like the arts is one of the most important building blocks for our society.”


    Early in her career Connelly enjoyed life on the road, wandering through the cobblestone streets of European cities—gaining inspiration not only from the art, but also from rich culture that comes with it. When she opened her retail space, she thought, “Now I am going to take my suitcase home and connect with the community.” Managing a gallery and consulting for clients at the same time has its challenges. Consultancy takes brainstorming, collaboration and planning, while managing a gallery requires precise organization and the ability to play host to visitors and clients. Luckily for Connelly, the balance comes naturally but not without the help of her team. “I am right in the midst of the team because it is creative,” Connelly says. “There is a lot that can go on without me and a lot that can’t.”


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