Most artists aren't in it for money but if one can walk away with $100,000 thanks to Sarah Jessica Parker, so much the better.
As her "Sex and the City 2" sequel to her former HBO series continues its theatrical run, the Emmy-winning actress also is serving as an executive producer of a New York-based Bravo competitive reality series that pits artists against one another for a Brooklyn Museum exhibition of their work, as well as for the cash prize.
The Wednesday show "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist" finds 14 talents from Miami to Saigon, and from pursuits ranging from painting to photography, delving into one another's specialties while staying true to their own. Model and actress China Chow ("The Big Hit") serves as host and a judge, and the contenders get guidance from art auctioneer Simon de Pury in carrying out each week's task.
"There's a blueprint at Bravo that works really well, to study and highlight various disciplines," Parker says. "My husband's mother (Patricia Broderick, whose son is actor Matthew) was a wonderful artist who painted largely in obscurity, as most American artists do. Every now and then, she would have a show -- and a year after she died, somebody discovered her paintings, and they're now being shown in a prominent New York gallery.
"It's unfortunate timing that she wasn't around to experience people appreciating and understanding her work, and being compelled by it," Parker reflects. "I thought about how rarefied people think that world is, and about the relationship Americans have with art and museums and galleries, and also about how artists aren't supported simultaneously to that. And I wondered how I could address that in a way that would be exciting and interesting to an audience."
Parker appreciates the investment Bravo is making in "Work of Art," since she notes the show's theme "isn't obvious."
"Art is this sort of intellectual exercise for people," she says, "and I want to express that we all have art in our home, whether you save a postcard from a friend or put your son's or daughter's drawings up on the wall. That's art, and you are part of it and it shouldn't be any less accessible to you than to anyone else."