While sitting in her dimly lit bedroom in Chelsea, Manhattan, 25-year-old Shayna Schwartz gestures to a large, colorful, yet elegant print hanging over her neatly made bed.
“I have a Holly Suzanne Rader above my bed,” she said. “I love the colorful stuff, but I’m starting to appreciate the more dark and meaningful pieces. I’m sure not everyone is born liking the more intense stuff, but because I’ve been around these diverse pieces, I have an appreciation for them.”
Schwartz was born and raised in Rumson and has never been a stranger to the world of art. Her father, Kenneth Schwartz, a prominent entrepreneur and former automobile dealer, has been collecting art for the last 50 years. In 2016, in need of a home for his growing collection, he founded Detour Gallery in Red Bank, a 10,000-square-foot contemporary art gallery featuring more than 6,000 pieces.
“[My dad] opened up Detour in his semi-retirement because he’ll never retire. He’s 71, and he’ll never stop,” Schwartz said. “He never drove a nice car, he never wore nice watches, but he loves art, and he loves it two-fold. He appreciates it and it makes him happy, but he also loves supporting the artist.”
While Schwartz always held a similar appreciation for art, following in her father’s footsteps was not on her list of life goals. She graduated from the University of Delaware where she focused on marketing, international business and sales. Soon after returning to Rumson, Schwartz experienced what she refers to as a “pandemic crisis.”
“It was horrible,” she said. “I had been working my entire life to graduate and get a great job, and I came home and the world was over.”
Schwartz decided to take a temporary job at Detour while she navigated her new environment. For nine months, Schwartz immersed herself in the gallery, cataloging countless pieces and keeping the collection organized and cohesive.
“I really loved it, but I had a dream,” Schwartz said. “I wanted to move to New York City, and I got a job opportunity to work in media.”
While she was confident in her decision to leave the gallery behind, the strong call of the art scene always stayed with her.
“I didn’t really fit in in the corporate world,” Schwartz said. “I felt like I was being someone I’m not. I was being an actress every day.”
The thought of quitting her media job briefly crossed Schwartz’s mind but only became a real option after a meaningful conversation with her friends.
“I went to [my friends] and said, ‘I think I want to quit my job and get back on the art scene,’” Schwartz said. “They said, ‘Shayna, you were the happiest you ever were when you were surrounded by art’ and how could I not be?”
Now, three months later, Schwartz has officially left her corporate life behind and is happily serving as gallery director at Detour. In her new role, Schwartz runs the entire operation which includes managing the collection, keeping in touch with the artists and staying up to date on the gallery’s happenings.
“This position doesn’t stop,” she said. “I’m always answering inquiries. People are interested in the art, they’re trying to rent out the space or buy something from us. So I’m constantly answering people, following up with people and making sure that everything is good.”
The collection features a diverse array of artists from across the globe, all with their own unique styles and interpretations of the world.
“One of my favorite artists that we have is Willie Tolbert. He does these amazing collage pieces,” Schwartz said. “Then we have Holly Suzanne Rader who has these tremendous, bright, female pieces. Another artist, Samual Weinberg, does these cool characters. So we have all different things.”
Although Schwartz just began her new journey, she already has her sights set on the future. With the Red Bank location thriving, Schwartz felt like it would be the perfect time to open a second location in the city she now calls home.
“We’re opening up a 3,000-square-foot gallery in the heart of West Chelsea, Manhattan,” she said. “It’s going to be incredible.”
While the new location is still in its beginning stages, Schwartz views her new project as an opportunity to foster her love of the industry and show others that this is what she is meant to be doing.
“This is a whole new game and a whole new level of intensity that we can bring to support and showcase these artists,” she said. “This is going to be my future. The universe was talking to me, and I needed to listen because this is going to be a great opportunity. I’m already so happy and so nervous, but being nervous is a good thing.”