Park West Gallery is a commercial art gallery that’s been around since 1969. Based in Southfield, Michigan, Park West conducts auctions all over the world. In 1995, Park West Gallery began hosting art auctions on cruises, and today, you’ll find them on over 90 cruise ships around the world.
In this Park West Gallery review, I’ll share my experiences with cruise ship auctions as well as a Park West VIP event.
Park West Gallery and Park West Museum
Park West Gallery headquarters and Park West Museum are both open to the public.
Location: 29469 Northwestern Highway, Southfield, Michigan 48034
Hours: Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Contact: 800-521-9654 option 4
Park West Gallery Artists: You’ll find works from well-known artists at Park West Gallery cruise ship and VIP events including:
- Yaacov Agam
- Romero Britto
- Michael Godard
- David Le Batard (LEBO)
- Peter Max
- Itzchak Tarkay
- Tim Yanke
Park West Gallery on Cruise Ships
If you have never cruised before you might be thinking, “WTF does an art auction have to do with cruising?” and if you have cruised before you are probably thinking, “free champagne!”
Art auctions are my favorite cruise ship activity, and it’s not just because of the free champagne. I was sort of an art nerd in high school and college so this is right up my alley. It’s so fun to browse all of the works on board
and to convince your husband you need to buy one.
Park West Gallery is responsible for most of the major cruise ship art auctions and I have been to several of their onboard auctions.
So, it’s time to get liquored up and buy some art!
I’m kidding about getting liquored up to buy art…sort of. These people know what they are doing, so at every art auction, you will find free champagne. It makes holding up that bid card a little easier. So, I guess I am saying if you have an alcohol problem and a limited budget, it’s best to avoid these events.
Park West Gallery Review
Each Park West Gallery auction I have been to has been slightly different, but they all follow the same general flow. I’ve only seen a bidding war a few times. Mostly, they have more than one piece to sell, so it’s not a high-pressure situation.
Park West Gallery offers original paintings as well as signed limited edition pieces. Prices vary based on the artworks available and many can be expensive (think tens of thousands of dollars). However, every auction I have been to also offers more affordable pieces under $500.
Once you get in this under $500 price range, the deals tend to be fantastic — many times the price is worth the frame alone.
Raffles and Giveaways
Every Park West cruise auction I have attended has its fair share of giveaways and raffles. Most of the time you’ll get tickets just for showing up — do this. Each cruise will have a selection of large-sized prints to giveaway. If you win one, you can either pay to have it shipped in a tube ($30-$50) or pay a couple of hundred dollars to have it framed.
If you really like the “free” piece, I would recommend paying to have it framed. The first time I won one of these I figured it would be cheaper to frame it at home — I was wrong. I ended up paying $400 to have this thing framed when it would have cost maybe $200 on the ship (with a much nicer frame). Lesson learned.
They also give small sized art prints away to anyone who attends the auction. And free champagne.
This is for all of the true art nerds! The auctioneers do a great job of giving you a little art history during the auction, and they have plenty of stories to tell about the works and artists. Many cruises will also offer art seminars that are separate from the auctions. These events focus on art history, a few specific artists, and art terminology.
Is Park West Gallery Reputable?
Park West Gallery is a reputable company, but you should go into each auction with caution.
While I’ve found great values on artwork at Park West Gallery auctions, keep in mind that they are doing everything they can to get you to buy something.
I’ve found that their claims of value can be a tad exaggerated. If they’re selling you a piece of art for $500, they might claim that it’s worth $1,500. To me, if they’re selling it for $500, it’s worth $500. That doesn’t mean they’re trying to scam you into buying junk — they’re trying to sell you a piece of art that’s worth $500. Make sense?
The artists Park West works with are well-known and many were world-famous artists before having any relationship with Park West (Peter Max, I’m looking at you).
So, as long as you go into the auction with open eyes, you’ll be fine…and hopefully you’ll find some great art to take home!
Pro Tip: Try out a couple of different auctions before passing judgment. Some auctions are better than others. Unfortunately, the auctions on the Norwegian Star were pretty mediocre. As someone who has been to lots of Park West Gallery events, I was confused by how they were running it. If that had been my first auction, I would have never gone to a second.
Park West Gallery VIP Events
Once you purchase enough art from Park West Gallery, you’ll have the opportunity to be invited to a VIP event. These can be held on cruise ships or on land — they range from weekend events to week-long European cruises!
I attended a Park West Gallery VIP land event in French Lick, Indiana as the guest of a family member. The event included food, drinks, and accommodations.
The VIP events feature specific artists and often the artists will actually be at the event with you! I was thrilled to meet Peter Max at the VIP event I attended as well as Yuval Wolfson and Peter Nixon.
Park West Gallery is a well-known name in the art world. Based in Michigan, you’ll find Park West art auctions all around the world on land and sea.