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Getting to Know: Miller Gaffney and Carol Lee Brosseau, hosts of “Art Breakers” on Ovation TV

Ready for a new season of a cable TV reality show featuring two Baylor grads?

No, not that one.

Miller Gaffney ’02 and Carol Lee Pryor Brosseau ’03 are hosting “Art Breakers,” which premieres Sunday evening on the Ovation cable channel and focuses on their worlds as art brokers who connect buyers, collectors, and artists.

“The show provides viewers with a rarely seen, behind-the-scenes look at the art world,” says Miller, who splits her time between New York and her native South Carolina.  “We show you what the business side of the art world is like and how we go about curating and commissioning artworks for our clients.

The pair filmed four episodes that will air throughout October starting Sunday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. Central.  Ovation is the home to nearly 50MM subscribers and champions artists through the Ovation Digital Arts network.  The pair are hoping to get the green light soon to film more.

Carol Lee Brosseau and Miller Gaffney (Photo by Sam Hon)
Carol Lee Brosseau and Miller Gaffney (Photo by Sam Hon)

The pair met in 1999 in a freshman English class, bonded in the back of class, and rushed Kappa Kappa Gamma together.  And the rest, as they say, is history.  The pair developed the idea of the series, took it to a producer and filmed it, and ultimately took it to Ovation for what Carol Lee said offered the perfect marriage of concept to an audience that is passionately interested in the arts.  The first episode features actor and businessman Mario Lopez and contemporary artist Sam Hon and follows the pair as they try to deliver an original work, inspired by Mario’s new brand of tequila.

“We’re so fortunate to be able to share our passion and what we do on a daily basis,” said Miller, who has appeared on the PBS series Antiques Roadshow and starred in Market Warriors.

Miller founded Miller Gaffney Art Advisory in New York in 2006 to collaborate with private and corporate collectors with appraisals, acquisitions, divestitures, and management of fine art collections.  Her Baylor degree is in public relations and political science, and she is also a graduate of Sotheby’s Institute of Art.  Carol Lee, who received her BA in art history from Baylor, is also a graduate of Sotheby’s and has been a gallery director, auction house specialist, and a contemporary artist’s studio manager.  The two joined forces in 2013 to guide clients through the world of art collecting.

The pair caught up with Line Notes by phone from Los Angeles this past Friday, just hours after a red-carpet premiere of the show that Carol Lee said had a “lot of energy; they were excited and laughing throughout.”  She added that they were surprised – even though it was the reaction they had hoped for – by the number of attendees who asked specific questions about art and art buying after the show.

How did your Baylor Experience shape your life? 

  • Carol Lee: The people and friends I met at Baylor have most certainly shaped and impacted my life.
  • Miller: Baylor challenged me to always have goals and succeed. Baylor surrounded me around wonderful friends, excellent caring professors, and the right classroom size to succeed.  The nurturing environment and leadership at Baylor gave me the tools for success and motivated me to move to New York and continue my dreams.

Which Baylor professor had the greatest impact on you and why? 

  • Carol Lee: Dr. Karen Pope in the Art History department. I took a lot of my classes for my major with Dr. Pope, and traveled with her to Paris and Chicago to study art.  She made studying art great fun, and a week does not go by that I don’t recall her saying, “Art History is a giant puzzle, and as art historians, we constantly keep looking for pieces to fit together.”
  • Miller: Tommye Lou Davis, Latin Teacher and Sorority Advisor. As a freshman, thousands of miles away from home, she always made me feel like family.

Tell me one thing that’s not on your resume: 

  • Carol Lee: My dad was in the car business, and I had to work in the dealership every summer. One summer I was a mechanic’s assistant changing oil and brake pads.
  • Miller: I love fashion.

What’s your superpower? 

  • Carol Lee: I can look at a bowl of peanut M&Ms and pick out the ones missing the peanut. It’s a cool party trick, but rarely comes in handy.
  • Miller: Incredible Memory. I have a photographic memory. I can instantly tell when clients rearrange art in their house, small details, or the clothes I wore to something, Beneficial with the art world.

What’s inspiring you right now (great books, movies, topics, leaders)? 

  • Carol Lee: Artist studios are a constant source of inspiration. I’ve been visiting quite a few of artist’s studios in Los Angeles recently, and I even changed my computer backdrop to an image of a great studio as a daily reminder of why I do what I do, which is to support artists to allow them to continue to create! I also just bought a book of all of Pablo Neruda’s Odes. It is beautiful poetry. He wrote an ode for everything, including French Fries.

My creative process begins with…

  • Carol Lee: Looking!
  • Miller: Hot Tea and Complete Silence

What one word or phrase would you use to describe yourself? 

  • Carol Lee: Imaginative
  • Miller: Determined. And never gives up.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?

  • Miller: Two best pieces of advice: To always remember someone’s name, and There is no room in this world for shy people.

The last movie I saw and enjoyed was:

  • Carol Lee: A great documentary about the top sushi chef in Tokyo called Jiro Dreams of Sushi
  • Miller: Hot Pursuit

Do you have a go-to karaoke song? 

  • Carol Lee: Summer Nights from Grease if I have a partner.  Or Total Eclipse of the Heart
  • Miller:  Girls Just Want to Have Fun

What advice do you/would you give to young college graduates:

  • Miller: Stay close to your friends.  No matter what success you reach in life, you need your network of friends for support.  Nurture those friendships and don’t lose touch with your friends with your success and busy life.

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