Joining the Conversation on Art and Faith
An art alumnus shares his path to becoming an art appraiser and how he brings his faith to work.
3 min. read
November 7, 2023

A self-professed nerd, Francis Germain ’18 always wanted to be a video game concept artist. Since his time at Redeemer as a fine arts major, his career evolved, taking turns he couldn’t have predicted.

A volunteer position at an art gallery in Dundas eventually evolved into a paid role for Germain. When the gallery’s appraiser was stepping back, Germain saw his opening and stepped in. He began the process of art appraisal credentialing through the International Society of Appraisers and found that he enjoyed it.

“Appraising is like the art world version of accounting,” he says with a smile. “But it turns out I really like learning.” 

His love for learning, particularly in the art space, has led him back to post-graduate studies twice since the completion of his art appraisal credentialing. He enrolled in a part-time master’s program in modern art history and took advantage of some down time during the pandemic to complete his coursework. And since the fall of 2022, he’s been working towards a PhD in art history at McMaster. 

“The art world is in a really interesting place,” he says. “It’s become increasingly disparate from where the general populace is at. It’s the new ivory tower. Where will it go next? That conversation is playing out. There are interesting voices in the Christian art world that are contributing to that. I want to be part of that conversation and my PhD is my ticket to that conversation.” 

Germain has also begun conversations that attempt to find connections between church and art. 

There’s a lot of trust in appraising; you’re only as good as your word.

“There’s a pretty large chasm between the church and the art world,” he says. He hopes to develop ideas that, on a local or community scale, help to increase understanding on both sides and he’s tapping into the experience of others who have attempted to develop similar connections in their own spheres of influence.

Germain’s faith is the foundation of everything he does. While the most exciting part of his work is meeting interesting figures in the art world and working with significant pieces like artworks by the Group of Seven, he’s found unexpected ways to help people through the task of art appraising as well. Appraisals are often required when a piece is changing hands, either through an estate or a separation. These are often sad or challenging seasons for those Germain is working with. 

“You end up supporting and helping people in some difficult situations,” he says. “There’s space in there for some good conversations and just being able to help people in those situations. That is impactful in and of itself.” He says he aims to be a compassionate presence in difficult circumstances to the best of his ability. 

Ultimately, Germain wants to have integrity in his role. “There’s a lot of trust in appraising; you’re only as good as your word.” Being able to add integrity to that space is something that helps him bring his faith into his work. 

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