Meet Pete Scantland, CEO of Orange Barrel Media and Benefactor of the Art Museum
When the Columbus Museum of Art moves one of its most recognizable pieces across town to make room for new artwork, it’s safe to assume that its executives are excited to show off the acquisition. The new work, “Stockroom Ezekiel” by Brooklyn artist Derek Fordjour, is a room-sized installation. The piece she moved, “Nocturne Navigator,” Alison Saar’s monumental blue female figure, heads to the Pizzuti collection, the museum’s Short North outpost.
The Fordjour installation is an immersive work that references the letters of Ezekiel Archie, a black man unjustly imprisoned in Alabama in the 1880s. This is part of a new exhibition,Generations present, composed of 27 works of artists offered to the museum by Orange barrel holder CEO Pete Scantland and his family. These gifts, along with the pledge of future donations, are part of what will become the Scantland Collection, with its donor, a once controversial outdoor advertising innovator, becoming the latest in a line of museum benefactors that includes Ferdinand Howald, Phillip and Suzanne Schiller, and Howard and Babette Sirak.
Tyler Cann, the museum’s curator of contemporary art, calls Scantland’s gift transformational. “It has the potential to catalyze what this institution can really do in the contemporary art space,” he says. “The ambitions are really to develop a representative image in our collection of what is happening in art now, in this generation. And that’s huge for any museum.
The Scantland Giveaway – which Pete says is currently worth $ 5 million and will grow, supported by his parents, Alan and Peggy, sister, Susan Littleton, twin brother, CoverMyMeds co-founder Matt Scantland, and all of their spouses – includes an endowment to support community education.
Pete Scantland, 42, has always been interested in art. In fact, he studied it at Elon University. But he didn’t start buying art seriously until about four years ago, he says.
In 2020, Scantland caught the attention of the art world. “My goal is to build one of the best collections of artists of this generation,” Scantland recently told Artsy, the online magazine of an international art broker. “And he’s on track to do it,” commented Artsy writer.
In a recent interview withMonthly Columbus, says Scantland. “What attracts me the most are the artists who share our values. Many of them are about social justice, many of them are about politics, many of them are about identity and globalization.Generations presentincludes works by Jerrell Gibbs, Somaya Critchlow, Louis Fratino, GaHee Park, Lauren Halsey, Deana Lawson and others. This reflects, according to Scantland, “today’s increased visibility and representation for people of diverse backgrounds, women, people who have been overlooked in the canon of art.”
When asked to draw a line between the art collection and his other passion – huge downtown billboards that catch the eye (you remember the giant soccer ball or the wall and parking lot painted lime green?) – Scantland smirked like that was the question he was waiting for. “A big part of our initial success has been designing things that people love to watch. ”
Recently, Orange Barrel has collaborated with artists on its outdoor exhibitions. “I honestly think we have a huge opportunity to uplift the city culturally,” said Scantland. “It’s one of my goals.