Art collector Rita Harowitz at home

CE collector feature: Rita Harowitz

Posted on April 1, 2015

We recently sat down with Rita Harowitz, a long-time Creativity Explored volunteer and avid art collector, to hear her tips and tricks to art collecting.

The impetus for our talk with Rita is the launch of #CurateWithCE, a social media campaign in which we are asking fans to post photographs of CE artwork in their homes, offices, gardens, garage, treehouses, etc. on Instagram. Feel like you have curated your artwork in an inspiring way? Make sure to hashtag your photographs on Instagram #CurateWithCE.

When did you become involved at CE?

I first became involved at CE five years ago. My friend Jack Fischer of Jack Fischer Gallery introduced me.

When did you start collecting? What is the main motivation behind your collecting?

I first started collecting around five to ten years ago. I was an art major in college so was always interested in art. It was not until I took a Gallery Fundamentals class at College of Marin around ten years ago that my eyes were opened to the San Francisco art scene. Our instructor took us to a variety of galleries and nonprofits. Collecting became a way for me to get back into art. 

My daughter interned at Creativity Explored while in college at University of San Francisco, then shortly after I joined the CE studio as a volunteer arts instructor in 2011. I wanted to expand my role of collector by engaging with the art making process in the studio. I started to collect CE artwork as a by-product of working with various artists at CE and wanting to live with the work. Each CE artwork has meaning for me, since I have either worked with or seen the artists working in the studio. It is the artists themselves I really love.

What do you look for when selecting work?

When selecting work I am looking for something that speaks to me and moves me personally. 

Is there a specific medium, color, theme, etc. that you are particularly drawn to?

I love outsider art and am particularly drawn to large-scale colorful and abstract works in painting or clay.

What are some of the CE works that have special meaning for you and why?

Lance Rivers’ Sutro Towers sculpture is one of my favorite works because it is such a feat of engineering. It also is orange, a color that is incorporated throughout my home. 

Albert Meyer, an artist that is no longer with CE, is an artist that holds special meaning for me. He wore coke bottle glasses, and although he was hard to understand, his artwork spoke for him. Meyer created topographical maps made from found objects that revealed Meyer’s unique way of seeing. I can only dream to see the way Meyer does myself.

You do a wonderful job incorporating art into every space even the kitchen! How do you decide and design the hanging?

I am constantly rearranging the artwork in my home. When hanging work I trust my eye visually and think about color, composition, and putting works in dialogue with one another. I look for visual clues within the work, whether that is a color, subject, or motif. I juxtapose black and white work of my own or friends with bold colorful works. I famously have joked that there is always the ceiling for when I run out of wall space!

What is your most treasured artwork?

I will never forget how for my birthday, my husband working in cahoots with Ann Kappes, Marketing and Business Development Diector at CE, surprised me with a COMMES des GARÇONS Fall 2013 Ready-to-Wear suit featuring artwork by CE artist Dan Michiels. This beautifully intricate suit is the most meaningful thing I own.

What advice would you give to young collectors?

My advice for young collectors would be to not collect art as an investment. Do not be afraid to collect work that speaks to you. If you truly love something, then you can convince everyone to love it too! Art is more than paint on a canvas; it should make you feel something. Collect for the long haul, not for a certain space in your home. If you buy from the heart, you will never tire of the work and it will continue to inspire you. Open your eyes to a deeper creative connection that you can have with art.

Creativity Explored would like to thank Rita Harowitz for sharing her collector tips with us. If you would like to be featured in a collector feature, please contact

Photos by Tom Seawell. 

Portraits by Paul Pulizzano and many more
Artist Camille Holvoet and many more
Artists Doug Sheran, Steven Liu, and Lance Rivers
Vincent Jackson, Walter Kresnik and Yah Kakabutra
Turtle ceramic by Ricardo Estella
COMME des GARÇONS Fall 2013 Ready-to-Wear collection artwork by Dan Michiels.

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