McCanna Lutherie & Appraisal provides violin family instrument services and personal property appraisals for the purposes of insurance, damage and/or loss, estate planning, equitable distribution, charitable contribution, and personal discovery.

We specialize in the appraisal of fine and decorative arts, including, but not limited to, paintings, sculptures, prints, ceramics, porcelain, glass, furniture, photographs, and instruments. Our organization is not affiliated with any private dealers, galleries, or auction houses, helping to ensure the objectivity and integrity of our valuations.

We offer clients experience in lutherie, valuation theory and methodology, relevant economic, price, and market trends, report writing, research and the development of comparable sale data used to substantiate and explain our conclusions.

Our appraisal process includes at least one site visit where object(s) are carefully inspected with a variety of noninvasive methods and documented thoroughly with photographs. This visit establishes the scope of work and determines the rate for the project. Meticulous research begins and an appraisal report for the specified purpose is developed. Clients receive a drive that includes all photographs of their objects, an abstract, the completed appraisal report, and physical copies of the appraisal report and any other relevant documentation. All of our work is created in compliance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), the generally recognized ethical and performance standards for the appraisal profession in the United States adopted by Congress in 1989. We bring the greatest level of competence and commitment to ethical practice to each assignment, whether it is work on a single instrument or appraising an entire estate.

Our Team

Kara McCanna, Luthier & Appraiser

Kara McCanna is an appraiser of fine and decorative art. She is a graduate of the Appraisers Association of America Comprehensive Appraisal Studies Program and holds a certificate in Appraisal Studies from the Appraisal Institute of America. She has successfully completed the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice test and is USPAP compliant through February of 2020.*

A dynamic and creative professional, Kara is a published poet, short story author, and an experienced performer and artisan. She has played the violin professionally for 20 years with opera, theater, and ballet companies, as well as symphony orchestras. She continues to study violin performance through the Music Institute of Chicago with Addison Teng and has performed in the Ear Taxi Chicago Festival of New Music.

Kara is a member of the Violin Society of America, British Violin Making Association, International Society of Folk Harpers and Craftsmen, Red Wing Collectors Society, Red Wing Area Chamber of Commerce and an Associate Member of the Appraisers Association of America. She attended The Chicago School of Violin Making from 2016-2019 and completed a certificate in Museum Studies from the Northwestern University School of Professional Studies in June of 2019. She is currently a luthier at Stoney End Harps in Red Wing, MN and has been accepted to the 2019-2020 Violin Repair Program at Minnesota State College Southeast.

Collin McCanna, Print Specialist

Collin McCanna is the Development Director at the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Red Wing, MN. He is a professional artist, printmaker, composer, drummer and fundraiser. He attended Lawrence University for Studio Art with an emphasis in Printmaking as well as the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music for Percussion Performance.  He formally studied Art History at the American University of Rome in 2010 and graduated from Lawrence as President of the Class of 2011, Captain of the Lawrence University Swim Team, and Executive Board Member for his fraternity, Beta Theta Pi.  In 2017 he completed a certificate in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Organizations through the Northwestern University School of Professional Studies.

Collin has exhibited original artwork in galleries and museums across the Midwest and his commissioned work is in collections in Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.  He is an accomplished percussionist with notable recent performances including the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, The Frequency Festival, and the Bloco Maximo ensemble at the Roosevelt Theater. He currently performs with the Sheldon Theater Brass Band.

Julie Sarton, Painting Specialist

Julie Sarton began her study of painting at Marietta College in 1967 with C.L. Peterson, a watercolorist nationally known for his paintings and his print series entitled, “Memories”. Since then she has continued her studies through various schools, studios, and seminars. She has studied with Frankie Johnson for over 15 years at Main Street Art Center in Lake Zurich, Illinois. She has also studied portraiture with Rommel De La Torre for three years, winner of ‘Artist Magazine’s’ 1997 Portrait Competition and front cover, Margaret Baumgaertner, whose work appears on the cover of The Best Portrait Painting, Ron Riddick, and Zhaoming Wu of Guangzhou, China. Her professional memberships have included board participation in the Geneva Lakes Art Association and the Portrait Society of America.

Julie’s main interest has always been portrait and figure painting, and she has run a commissioned portrait business from a studio in her home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, for over 25 years. Her portraits hang in private as well as corporate collections throughout the US. Her commissioned portraits have included a First Lady of the United States of America and the family of a Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Another portrait was accepted into the permanent collection of the Janesville, Wisconsin, Art League/Women’s League. Julie works in oil and pastel, and her work has been represented in galleries in Wisconsin and Illinois. In addition to her artistic achievements, she is fluent in Spanish and proficient in French. She graduated from Marietta College in 1967 with a BA in Spanish Literature as well as the University of Illinois where she studied Spanish Literature in the Graduate Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

Mike Sarton, Furniture & Frame Specialist

Mike Sarton is an outstanding artisan who has been creating frames, flooring and furniture in the Arts and Crafts style for over 30 years.  The majority of his oeuvre, which includes frames for original artwork, dining tables, bed frames, grand floors, staircases, sideboards, armoires, jewelry boxes, butcher block, and more, is crafted with heartwood from black walnut trees.  His work is featured in private collections across the US.

A retired Agronomist, Soil Scientist, and Certified Crop Advisor, Mike shares a deep connection with the natural world and has a passion for dendrology. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1966 with a concentration in Liberal Arts, and received his Law Degree from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1969.

Katy Cowan, Contemporary Art Specialist

Katy Cowan is an artist and educator based in California. Cowan received her MFA in Studio Art from Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles, CA (2014) and her BFA in Drawing and Painting from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA (2004). Her educational and studio background encompass drawing, painting, and sculpture both in the historical and contemporary context.

Scott Cowan, Photography Specialist

Scott Cowan is a photographer and philosopher based in California. Cowan is currently pursuing his PhD in Philosophy from UC, Berkeley in Berkeley, CA (2022); he has also received an MA in Philosophy from UW-Milwaukee in Milwaukee, WI (2017), an MA in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA (2014), and a BFA in Photography from Columbia College in Chicago, IL (2012). His educational and studio background encompass photography and its historical and contemporary context.

*“The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) are the generally recognized ethical and performance standards for the appraisal profession in the United States. USPAP was adopted by Congress in 1989, and contains standards for all types of appraisal services, including real estate, personal property, business and mass appraisal.  Compliance is required for state-licensed and state-certified appraisers involved in federally-related real estate transactions. USPAP is updated every two years so that appraisers have the information they need to deliver unbiased and thoughtful opinions of value.” (The Appraisal Foundation)