It’s official: I lived to tell the tale of My First Solo Show! It went really well, including the sales we made. That’s the short version.
The long version goes like this:
I prepared 27 images for the show: printing and framing, packing and shipping. Prices ranged from $65 for small, unlimited edition works to $1000 for the 20”x40” mermaid printed on metal, and many in between. The gallery notified me that they had arrived safe and sound about the same that I was preparing to fly to the east coast, myself.
I had a quick visit my one of my great mentors, photographer Blaine Pennington. We talked shop and caught up over Ethiopian food, as we always do. I was thrilled to hear that he was going to make it down to Rehoboth Beach to attend the opening. My parents and I made the drive with the traditional stop for delicious early strawberries from the farms as we approached the shore. We were too late for me to check out the gallery that day, so it would have to wait for the morning.
The next morning, wearing my mermaid leggings, I walked into the rustic but lovely and light filled main gallery at The Rehoboth Art League, and it was filled with my work. Mermaids in several sizes and media swam on three walls, while other mythic characters made throughout my career adorned the other wall. I had a lovely moment to myself, soaking it up, approving not only the hanging job but the work of a lifetime. The gallery director told me it was and easy show to hang and complimented my very serious packing.
A word to the wise: when you ship art, just over-pack it. Optimism is not warranted, no matter who you choose for shipping services. Framed art with glass needs special attention. I put all my frames in bubble mailers, then into one moving box, and then into another, with more layers of foam and packing material around every layer. Also, FedEx ground was far and away the cheapest.
I was overjoyed by how many friends came out to support me. I had a chance to visit with friends from New York and to celebrate the full moon with them on the beach. Other friends came from DC, and still more from Maryland. I was so honored. Even a crew of my mother’s friends made their regular beach visit to coincide with my show. The event itself was flawless. The Rehoboth Art League put out a lovely spread, and their sponsor Dogfish Head Brewery kept me in hefeweizen.
I had been saving these special hand printed stockings for years for just this sort of occasion.
I even went live on Facebook.
OK, another note, this one about The Rehoboth Art League. This place is cool, my friends. I dream of living near a community resource this cool. I believe the campus was donated in the 1930s to be the Art League’s on-going home. It has the feeling of one of WPA built parks, with charming wooden buildings of basic craftsman design sprinkled through the woods. The have multiple galleries, tons of classes, and great programming. They have some unbelievable potters, and I always want to buy many pieces when I am there. Alas, pottery and suitcases are not the best match. So, what I am saying is that you should go to Rehoboth Art League if you are ever anywhere nearby. *This organization is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.* I hear Ocean City has an Art League, too. You can make it a two for one.
The final jewel in the crown of my weekend was giving my very first gallery talk. The weather was terrible that day, but 15 or 20 intrepid souls made it out. Folks, it went really well! Granted, The Mermaid Project is really easy for me to talk about. It is definitely core generated work, filled with so many of the things I love: theater, myth, story telling, dangerous beauty, costume, and friendship. I knew if folks did not want to hear about how the Odyssey was the true inspiration for the first image of the series with drowned man, they would probably laugh that the tales of how something new went disastrously wrong in every single shoot. Mercifully, they enjoyed all the tales I had to tell. They had great insights and questions, too. The gallery director complimented me afterward and again in a note. I guess I am pretty chatty for and artist.
So, now I am waiting for the works to be returned to me. When the books are closed on the event itself, I’ll be in touch with a summer sale. There is also going to be a drawing for a free piece to all who signed my guest list at the show. If you are interested in any works, please let me know.
What were the most intriguing sales? Three copies of the full bleed image used as the cover for Madeleine Robbins The Sleeping Partner and the Sleeping Beauty image that I made into a Victorian Style small print. The gallery director bought that one.
Also, when you have you show at the seaside, there’s seafood dinner afterwards.
There the story ends. And, she lived happily ever after.