CoCollect’s Art Membership Brings Museum-Quality Masterpieces to Local Homes
Founder Keli Hogsett wants to give people access to high-end art that will influence and add to their daily lives
By Liz Harroun
Photos by Brittany Dawn Short
Most of us use memberships for certain benefits we might not otherwise be able to access. What would we do without our gym amenities, streaming services and grocery delivery — all readily available in exchange for paying a reasonable monthly fee? Now CoCollect is using that same model to bring museum-quality art collections to members’ homes. CoCollect custom curates art collections, installs them in Austin homes and then sends text messages that tell members about the art hanging in their homes.
The woman behind this new way to experience art is Keli Hogsett, a 35-year-old mom of three boys who was born and raised in Austin. After graduating from the University of Texas, she knew she wanted to raise a family of her own in Austin someday. However, she also wanted to experience something different first. So she spent time living in San Francisco and Denver, where she worked at fast-paced agencies on global brands.
“The inspiration for CoCollect was a slow burn as I experienced the same problem over many moves,” says Keli. “One thing I know about myself is that I am in a better mood if the space I live in is well-designed, inspiring and interesting to me. So with each new place we moved into, I would want to quickly feel settled and take careful consideration on the interior design of our space.”
Keli moved a lot throughout the years — from rental homes occupied for only a year or two, to owned homes that she and her husband remodeled, and finally to their current family home in Deep Eddy. Getting art on the walls in the way she wanted, especially amid all of the moves, was always a pain point.
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“Art is one of the only things that is still purchased with the intention of keeping forever,” says Keli. “It’s one of those things you want to connect with and love so much that you’re excited to stare at it for the rest of your life. However, building that kind of meaningful collection is not only overwhelming, if you don’t know where to start, but it takes time, education and patience.”
When visiting friends’ homes, Keli found that others were struggling to make lifetime art purchases with limited time and knowledge, and they too had blank walls to show for it. Some compensated with temporary, but still costly, decor prints from big box retailers. This meaningless art might have taken up some space on the walls, but did very little to achieve the long-term aesthetic that homeowners were going for. Keli empathized with how difficult that process was for people with full-time jobs and kids, making time and patience precious resources.
“I started considering a way that we could get people to fill those blank walls as quickly and conveniently as people wanted to, but with original art that supported our actual arts community,” says Keli.
After realizing nothing that filled those needs existed, in 2021 Keli founded CoCollect to give more people convenient access to having high-end original art in their homes in a relatively quick time frame along with education about that art. Her ultimate goal is that more people not only live with fine art, but they become lifelong supporters of the arts.
“Art is an important visual language that can greatly influence and inspire our daily lives,” says Keli. “Visually connecting with a work or thinking it’s beautiful is just the first part of it. Knowing about the artist’s life, why they created it, the concept they’re communicating, the process, and also how that artwork speaks directly to a viewer’s personal experiences are all combined into why a collector may find an artwork meaningful. Artworks become visual beacons of those concepts and ideas in our space, whether they bring us positivity and joy, or challenge us.”
To connect CoCollect members with their art in this deeper way, every other week they get a short educational text message with an interesting “dinner party fact” about one of the artworks in their current collection. They are also able to purchase artworks in their collection at any time and, if they’re not ready to purchase at the end of the year, they can extend their collection into the next year or swap their collection for new artwork.
CoCollect sources artwork directly from artists, galleries and private collectors in collaboration with curators and advisors. This offers members a unique mix of artwork that might otherwise be unavailable to them. The artwork ranges from local artists living and working in Austin to well-known artists that have been collected by the world’s top institutions (including Andy Warhol and Picasso!).
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CoCollect is well on its way in its mission to help people live with and learn about art. Their beta collection sold out, supporting an initial 20 members. Just last month, they opened a new larger collection with an additional 500 pieces to accommodate new members. New memberships are in high demand, with a growing waitlist, so CoCollect plans to continue expanding their collection.
“Learning about art allows us to connect with it and connecting with art helps us recognize its value,” says Keli. Thanks to CoCollect, that deeper intimacy with art is now made easier for those of us in Austin.