The Post-Art-um Report

A month ago, my head was spinning. I was days away from my first art exhibition in an age, and every detail I’d been trying to finesse into place was either going to come together as planned on November 18th, or it wasn’t going to happen at all. No matter what the event, we’ve surely all gone through this last-minute frenzy of self-doubt, focus, impatience, list-making-and-demolishing, and edgy excitement. In my long-ago backstage days, the knowledge that what was weeks and months in the making would often be a one-night stand of performance and then an all-nighter of striking the sets and packing it all away was no more intense and intimidating than this latest. But those early forays into the public eye (albeit mostly from the comfortably hidden perspectives of various stage crew or directorial positions) were likewise no more cheering when I came out the other end of the production relatively unscathed and mostly relieved—even delighted.17-4 Attendees. (3)

In the present case, I will simply say that the enormous amount of support and kindness and generosity shared with me by a stalwart group of friends, advisors, and laborers made the event a grand success.17-4 Attendees. (4)

Mind you, all success is relative. This show was planned and executed as the latest in a long series of steps intended to keep me moving forward as an artist not only in the practice of my visual and writing skills but eventually, also, as a business practice in the long term. So it needed to feed not merely my already sizeable enough ego but also the ambition and invention necessary to keep some momentum and motivate further growth and progress in my sojourn. That meant risking the investment of more than the obvious monetary expenditures that can’t be immediately recouped, the art supplies and printing, the framing and publicity, the shipping and handling, and the long inventory of other tangible and commodity-based sorts of items necessary to create and present an art exhibition on any scale. It also meant taking the greater risk that an introvert with an inborn fear and loathing of business and all of the complexities Making a Living entails must dive into if she’s to succeed in anything larger than surreptitiously showing her latest scribblings to the members of her own household.17-4 Attendees. (5)

And I am here to tell the tale. That alone is ‘worth the price of admission’ in my book.17-4 Attendees. (6)

Yes, I did make back a bit more of the monetary investment than I feared I might, with a great boost from my managerial spouse (and cashier) and the generous attendees at the show who made purchases. And I certainly gained valuables other than strictly dollar-based ones, too. The advice and physical assistance of those who helped to plan, install, pack, and move the entire exhibition were essential to this success. The attendance of friends, loved ones, and acquaintances who kept me company and peopled the pop-up gallery of my marvelous venue was a tremendous boost in confidence. The further kind encouragements of those unable to attend on the day who have so graciously nudged me onward keep me moving forward, too. All of these gifts continue to be just as valuable resources as the growing belief that I will not only be able to recoup the money spent on this single, singular adventure before I’m a centenarian but will also continue to find further pleasures in the process.

17-2 Artist. (3)

Yep, still smiling at the end of this phase. More to come…!

17 thoughts on “The Post-Art-um Report

  1. Pingback: The Best (and Most Legal) Kind of Exhibitionism! | Art-Colored Glasses

    • Many thanks, my sweet! The next months will definitely be mind- and life-expanding—R just started his sabbatical yesterday, and we’ll be having utterly different schedules and adventures than ever before. So it’s both daunting and exhilarating to think of what might be ahead in the near future! A good starting point for any creative endeavor, no? 🙂 Big hugs to you! And a very happy, fulfilling 2018 for you and your guys!!

  2. Congratulations, Kathryn. I came to visit your blog after reading a very touching and compassionate comment you wrote on another blog and I decided to come and say hello. I really admire your courage for taking on the financial risks and the organizational headaches of holding your exhibition. Those things include so many hurdles and risks and just opening the door is a big achievement….sale or no sales.
    I am currently taking part in the A-Z April Blogging Challenge where you write through the alphabet to a theme. This year, my theme is: Letters to Dead Artists. Ideally, I would’ve started researching this two years ago, when the concept first struck. Instead, I’ve been immersing myself in research and jottings over the past month and keeping my fingers crossed.
    Last night, I was reading letters from Vincent Van Gogh to his brother Theo and the extreme financial handship for him and his fellow artists was almost as much a part of their daily lives as painting itself. I find that so difficult to read when his paintings are so valuable today. If only we could go back in time and give him his share…
    Anyway, here’s a link to my first post:

    • Thank you so much, Rowena! I’ll enjoy reading your A-Z stories, especially the van Gogh ones: I used those as the basis of an undergrad English class I taught on writing about art some years ago, and the students loved reading the brothers’ letters and ‘responding’ to them as much as I did. Yes, they’re disheartening in the light of how so many fine artists suffered greatly and hardly made anything like a living, but also amazingly inspiring in how deeply the same poor people felt nourished by the world they saw with their sympathetic eyes. Even squalor and pain become beauty in passionate and compassionate hands sometimes. I hope I never stop learning that lesson myself.

      Especially since there’s little likelihood I’ll ever gain much financially from my work! 😉 But the other kinds of gains are incredibly valuable, too. Not least of all, the connexions made here with people like you!

      Happy Spring to you.

      • Thank you very much, Kathryn. It is interesting how suffering and hardship can heighten your appreciation of the simple things. I have had some terrible bouts of bad health and spent 2.5 weeks in hospital and once I made it into rehab, I used to disappear into a huge paddock of clover, which actually wasn’t on the hospital grounds I later found out. There was also a beautiful Federation house there and I practiced my walking on the steps and again too loads of photos. It shows my obsessive and incorrigible nature that I was even doing photography while in a rehab hospital and I also worked on short stories etc. It was a very, very difficult time as I was also away from my 3 year old son and 18 month old baby girl but it was also the first chance I’d had in ages to be my own person as well. All my meals were made for me and appeared on a trolley…quite helpful for a creative.
        Anyway, I remember just being dazzled by the blueness of the sky, the green of the grass after being shut away for so long.
        Best wishes,

    • Thank you, my good friend!!! I hope you and your loved ones are all well these days. Right now my husband and I are spending time near our family and friends ‘back home’ while he’s in rehearsals for a concert guest-conducting the Portland (Oregon) Symphony Chorus. I know that with your musical background you can fully appreciate what a delight it is to be in the middle of this process with other wonderful and dedicated artists!

      Happy April to you!

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