SoWa Gallery Owner Julie Mussafer Reveals Her Personal Collection

The eclectic array includes photography, sculptures, and mixed-media pieces.

Art consultant Julie Mussafer stands beside Madera by Shane Snider. “The curve of wood [Snider] used was literally cut down from his backyard, then repurposed to create one of my favorite ladies,” the collector says. “That it mimics the live edge of the table was serendipitous.” / Photo by Matthew Williams / Styling by Kate C. Sheppard/Anchor Artists

Julie Mussafer, proprietor of the SoWa gallery Jules Place, always knew she would launch her own business. That it would revolve around art crystallized only after she purchased her first noteworthy piece, a photo transfer with oil paint by Per Fronth. The experience of seeing the work at a New York City gallery—then circling back and purchasing it after returning to Boston—was life-changing. “It was a pivotal piece and a pivotal moment,” says the art consultant. “I realized that the gallery world was where I was meant to be.”

Mussafer has since placed thousands of works in clients’ homes and more than a few in her own. Last year, she and her husband, William Andrews, moved to a contemporary house in Weston, where they are slowly hanging their collection. While Mussafer likes a layered look—she grew up in a house with floor-to-ceiling art—Andrews prefers a sparer approach. So they compromise. Mussafer curates the living room with her favorite photography, sculptures, and mixed-media pieces. The dining room, meanwhile, shows off the more minimalist, modern art that Andrews had a strong hand in selecting.

Unsurprisingly, their teenagers have their own styles, too. “They hang what they can afford, like vintage posters and work by young Basquiat-driven graffiti artists,” Mussafer says. One has a completely collaged wall that reminds the consultant of her own aesthetic. “I could never stand a blank wall,” she says.

“I love listening to music while I cook, so it seemed appropriate to surround myself with favorite musicians,” Mussafer says about photographer Max Steven Grossman’s Rock Sq ZE bookscape that hangs in the kitchen. / Photo by Matthew Williams / Styling by Kate C. Sheppard/Anchor Artists

Mussafer is drawn to the “beauty and innocence” of these young girls from an Indigenous tribe in Brazil, captured by artist Per Fronth. “The girls project an unspoken sisterhood,” she says. She enhanced its warmth by juxtaposing it with a colorful mixed-media piece by Stephen Wilson. / Photo by Matthew Williams / Styling by Kate C. Sheppard/Anchor Artists

“Given the bold color and commanding nature of this painting, we chose to keep the rest of the room sparsely hung,” Mussafer says, offering insight into the placement of Monica by Boston-based artist David Palmer. As for his process, she says, “[Palmer] is known to create hundreds of sketches on paper before putting paint to canvas.” / Photo by Matthew Williams / Styling by Kate C. Sheppard/Anchor Artists

“I love combining textures and mixing mediums but remain mindful of the strength of each piece,” Mussafer says. “The large breadth of artwork that hangs together in my living room works because each piece feeds off the other pieces around [it].” / Photo by Matthew Williams / Styling by Kate C. Sheppard/Anchor Artists

A true collector doesn’t buy work for only one location or worry about what it will look like when they move. -Julie Mussafer

Illustration by Naomi Elliott

Finders, Keepers

Dress up your space with pieces from these tried-and-true local galleries.

By Rachel Kashdan

For Fine-Art Photography
Robert Klein Gallery

This gallery opened in 1980 with the works of photographers such as Diane Arbus and Annie Leibovitz, and features photos by celebrated shutterbugs and rising stars from the 19th century to the present.

38 Newbury St., Boston, 617-267-7997,

For Vintage Posters
International Poster Gallery

With more than 5,000 posters stocked in the gallery and online, plus ever-changing exhibitions, this two-decade-old spot is a treasure trove for graphic art. Here, works span a variety of continents, subjects, and eras, ranging from 19th-century Italian art nouveau posters to French ski posters from the 1920s.

460C Harrison Ave., Boston, 617-375-0076,

For Sculpture
Boston Sculptors Gallery

This New England sculpture collaborative maintains a SoWa gallery featuring contemporary 3-D works from its members (longtime artists and up-and-comers working in a variety of media), as well as exhibitions from international sculptors and curators.

486 Harrison Ave., Boston, 617-482-7781,

For Art From All Eras
Childs Gallery

Childs Gallery has filled its space with oil paintings, drawings, watercolors, prints, and sculptures since 1937. The gallery boasts American and European art dating back to the Renaissance, as well as drawings by famed artists like Rembrandt and Goya.

168 Newbury St., Boston, 617-266-1108,