By Kristine Stewart Hass
Albert Scaglione gets it. He gets the personal relationship people have with art. He gets that collectors appreciate their art at a deeper level when they connect with artists and hear their stories. He gets that taking fine art out of the gallery and bringing it directly to the people opens not only the doors of opportunity for his business but for more people to experience the genuine enjoyment of owning fine art.
He also gets that hard work and discipline pay off in business and in life. He credits his discipline to his father. “I started working with him hauling industrial waste at the age of eight and stayed at it through the beginning of college,” he said. “It gave me a great work ethic – which has translated into my family and business, as well as my attitude toward fitness.
“Fitness is for life,” he says, confessing his approach to well-being is more strategy and less philosophy. Since founding Park West Gallery 45 years ago, he’s been a man on the move, building his business and innovatively transforming the way fine art is bought and sold around the world. It’s an understatement to say he’s naturally energetic, a trait that’s served him well for many years considering his jet-set lifestyle. But about 15 years ago, Scaglione decided to prioritize his fitness by making it part of his regular routine.
“I work out daily with maybe only one or two days off in a week,” Scaglione said. He sticks to a healthy protein-rich diet, eating four or five smaller meals each day. He also keeps well hydrated, drinking five to six liters of water daily. “My diet is typically right on when I’m at home either in Michigan or Florida, and by making an effort, I can usually keep my diet right even when traveling,” he said.
Scaglione’s fitness regime has long included strength training and swimming. When in Florida, he works on cardio and strength training with Miami-based fitness expert, Billy Beck.
“My greatest challenge isn’t motivating Albert to work out, it’s getting him to stop,” Beck laughed. He adjusts the workout depending on Scalgione’s travel schedule, making sure muscles have adequate rest and recovery time. “Albert does much of the same workout I use to train some of the NFL players I work with. He’s in great shape,” Beck said.
“Albert always gives me entrepreneur-to-entrepreneur advice,” Beck said. He said he appreciates the questions Scaglione asks, offering Beck a mental workout. “He makes me think more, and makes me a better person because he’s inspiring,” said Beck. “He’s the type of person I’d like to be when I’m his age.”
Scaglione keeps up with strength and cardio workouts in his home gyms and when traveling. “I can usually find a gym somewhere, making it relatively easy to maintain some form of training,” he said. “At the minimum, I can always do certain exercises in my hotel room.”
A few years ago, recovery from rotator cuff surgery introduced him to yoga, and he’s been a fan ever since. He favors Bikram Yoga, which he practices at Detroit Bikram in Farmington Hills, Michigan, but he also does Ashtanga yoga.
“Yoga is amazing to combine with strength training,” he said, adding that it’s absolutely necessary for flexibility. “The benefits of combining yoga with strength training for my overall general health and well-being are immeasurable,” he said. “I feel great, and at my age, am able to keep up with my busy schedule and play volleyball and other sports I still enjoy.”
It’s only Scaglione’s life story that betrays his age. Born in 1939, the New Jersey native can reminisce with the best about an all-American childhood on the heels of the Great Depression and Second World War. You can picture it – Catholic school nuns, hard-working parents, errands for mom to the corner store, knowing the neighbors with the cookies and those whose grass you had to keep off, squeaking through high school (because he was too busy earning money), and the satisfaction of buying his first car – a 1956 Olds Ninety-Eight convertible with a Continental kit.
So even after you hear the stories and imagine him as a kid on the set of Ozzie and Harriet, when he’s standing in front of you, it’s hard to connect the dots and get that this guy is closing in on 75.
At 30, with a doctorate in mechanical engineering, Scaglione had a career epiphany of sorts. He had been teaching college courses and researching for a NASA Mars exploration program at Detroit’s Wayne State University, when government funding shifted from space to defense. His passion for his work changed, so he decided he’d follow suit and change careers. With a leap of faith and a little experience (he worked at a cousin’s art gallery as a teen), he mortgaged his house and in 1969 opened Park West Gallery in Michigan. That original 900-square-foot space is not far from where the current 63,000-square-foot Greco-Roman style gallery sits today. (Park West Gallery also has a gallery and 181,000-square-foot, business, framing and distribution center in Miami Lakes, Florida.)
Within just a few short years, the charismatic Scaglione established relationships with prominent artists, including the father of kinetic art, Yaacov Agam, and pop art icon, Peter Max. Scaglione took his concept of holding fine art auctions regionally, then nationally, then eventually to the world. Park West Gallery now sells art at hundreds of locations worldwide on cruise ships and at exclusive hotels.
Scaglione’s passion for his faith, family and work motivate him to keep fitness right near the top of his daily to-do list. He starts his day with an hour of prayer, and then he exercises before tackling the day. “It is the total spiritual, physical and mental coalition that really makes it all work,” he says.
His advice to others? “Mental discipline and a consistent steady routine, and when things are not going right or you’re not completely consistent, don’t give up. Go right back at it,” he said. “The benefits of a better quality of life are priceless.”
Trainer Billy Beck says with a guy like Albert Scaglione – who has so much going on – a workout begins with a warm up that requires undivided attention. Some people walk on a treadmill for a warm up – for Scaglione, Beck says he lets him go “all Rocky Balboa-style” on a speed bag. “You can’t hit a speed bag without being 100-percent there,” Beck said.
Since founding Park West Gallery in 1969, Albert Scaglione has completely transformed art collecting. By mixing his passion for art with ingenuity, innovation and hard work, he’s raised the level of excitement in fine art collecting by taking art outside of the traditional gallery walls and making the Park West Gallery experience available to the world. Peter Max, Yaacov Agam, Linda le Kinff, ItszakTarkay, LEBO, Csaba Markus, Romero Britto, Scott Jacobs and child prodigy Autumn de Forest are just a few of the celebrated artists represented by Park West Gallery. Through Park West’s gallery and business centers in Michigan and Florida, galleries and private engagements in exclusive hotels, and onboard gallery and auction experiences on more than 90 ships, Scaglione and his company have opened to door to art collecting to more than 1.4 million customers in 70 countries.
Billy Beck is an inspiring leader and in-demand speaker, trainer and coach. As president of the highly innovative and inspiring BB3 Personal Training & Performance Center located in Weston, Fla., Billy’s expertise is sought worldwide and has been featured on NBC, CBS, Fox and ABC as well as on the pages of Men’s Health, Men’s Journal, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and dozens of other magazines, radio shows and interviews. He is the author of “LEAN & Mean: Fat Burning Secrets of the World’s Best Personal Trainer.” Beck and his team deliver unprecedented results to everyone from the professional athlete to the weekend warrior. Billy’s mission in life is simple but a powerful one – “To make our world even more awesome.”
Kristine Stewart Hass is a Detroit-area writer, photographer and business communications professional.