‘Art Adventures’

Elizabeth Whelan and Adriana Eftimie uncover the art world on MVTV.


Artists Elizabeth Whelan and Adriana Eftimie took time off from their busy painting careers to create a delightful, upbeat, and educational 12-episode television show, “Art Adventures.” These slightly irreverent half-hour segments air at 6 pm through June 27 on Martha’s Vineyard Community Television’s Public Channel 6.

“Art Adventures” eschews a rarified “ivory tower” approach. Likewise, having hosts who are artists provides an interesting twist on traditional television art programs. From thefts to secret codes and hidden meanings, each half-hour episode begins with an amusing skit in which the two bungle some interpretation of the topic before delving into the theme during the main segment, in which, through lively conversation, they share engaging information and intriguing stories and opinions.

“We want people to feel that their reactions to art are valid, even if they don’t know a lot about it,” Whelan explains. “I think it’s important to empower everybody.”

Two things are immediately apparent when watching the show: The pair are enjoying themselves immensely, and they have done their homework. Even those familiar with art and the art world will learn something new, while simultaneously being entertained.

The series came about when Whelan discovered that MVTV had funding to help people develop their own shows. She already knew the topic was of interest from the positive response she had received when speaking about art theft, forgery, and money laundering as part of the classes she teaches on Zoom through the Vineyard Haven library. “So I reached out to Adriana, who is always up for an adventure. I can always count on her to do anything crazy,” Whelan laughs.

MVTV staff trained the artists on how to use the cameras, edit the footage, and present the show, as well as lending them the equipment and studio space. Eftimie and Whelan also wrestled with their overwhelming initial list of topics, and how to balance developing something fun while being informative. “We wanted people to watch it and say, ‘Oh, that’s interesting. I didn’t know that,’” Eftimie says.

Narrowing the list down was quite the feat; their initial list had some 30 ideas. The final choices include art forgeries, theft, artificial intelligence, secret codes and symbols, auction houses, the value of art, myth and marketing, money laundering, artists without borders, the destruction of art, art vandalism, offensive art, and a behind-the-scenes look at how they made the series. “Little did we know how much research and work we had to put into it,” Eftimie says, “but it was so much fun working with Elizabeth and the amazing MVTV crew. It was also incredible, because there are so many spicy subjects.” Whelan adds, “We don’t agree on everything, and I think that’s important that we have that give-and-take.”

“I became fascinated with the idea that these paintings we generate become commodities, unlike, say, when the gold market goes up, all the gold becomes worth more,” Whelan says. In the art market, the price can be manipulated up or down by people in business, criminals, or those trying to launder money. “Once that painting is out of our hands, we lose complete control over what happens next,” she says.

“I hope viewers will find the stories interesting, the artwork amazing, and the art world will be a little more demystified,” Eftimie says.

Whelan concurs, “We are trying to part the curtain and say, This is how the art world works. I hope that when people see art, they have a little more connection, and that it isn’t something you are required to admire whether you like it or not.”

“Art Adventures” runs weekly on Thursday evenings at 6 pm through June 27, at MVTV Channel 6, and will be available afterward on the Art Adventures website, Art Adventures YouTube channel, and MVTV’s Video on Demand page.

Visit artadventures-tv.com to explore the art and information from each show, which will be posted after the show airs, as well as links, books, and movie recommendations on the theme.