We began the process of planning our 100 Artist show during the month of August. You can see how my kitchen table became my production space for preparing the books before they were sent out to the many artists.
To begin we try to figure out what to send. This year we decided to send old books. We began collecting and deciding just how to prepare them for the mailing. This year we had a bit more to think about and that was to figure just how we could hold each book closed. Seemed pretty simple to me until I met the man at the post office with 100 books in my arms with my eager face. First off, the post office wouldn't allow us to tie the books together with twine or even use a rubber band. What's a person to do? I just didn't fit into their little outline of the perfect shipper. "Oh, you are an artist....shipping to other artists.." I became a novelty.
And yes... the post office person thought I was a bit nuts...they couldn't quite understand why I was sending the book "as is" and why I wouldn't want to place each book in a little box. What perplexed them more is that I wanted actual stamps (and my god..."she wants to pick them out herself and not use our metered sticker?!#*). I was never good at following directions!
When I finished I was pleased with the outcome and love the idea of these books passing through many hands across the country and then landing on the doorstep of each artist.
When leaving the post office I couldn't help but smile...it's fun messing with the system.
With the economy drastically slowing, many artists are calling with nervous voices wondering about sales, or lack of sales, regarding their artwork. I sometimes find that not only am I a gallery owner but also an art therapist of sorts. I talk with my artists about how they can market themselves, I tell them that yes, the economy sucks but their art doesn't - just because it's not selling now doesn't mean their work isn't beautiful and thought provoking and, most of all, meaningful.
All of us at the gallery spend much of the day educating the general public about our artists....not just who they are but how artists must rely on sales to live, support a family, pay taxes, pay health insurances, pay for gas, raise their children and basically live just like everyone else but on a much tighter budget. We mention that if we stop buying art we cut out a valuable segment of our visual environment. I just can't imagine MY life without art or artists....can you?
When I hear people say..."I'm just not going to buy stuff anymore", I hope that people realize that art is not "stuff". Stuff is filler...things...copies...manufactured items made by machines...stuff is usually not touched by human hands except when packaged and placed in boxes for shipping. When looking at your "stuff" do you know who actually created it?
Take a closer look at what surrounds you. Is it "stuff" or is it meaningful? Is it art?
The strained economy is making it increasingly difficult for artists to consistently maintain reliable health insurance and continue working within the fine art field. It is important to raise awareness throughout local and national communities by helping others respect the fact that artists are individual contractors or sole proprietors who need support as equal as any other profession. Our community cannot afford to see a diminishment in creativity and art production. Throughout history art has played a pivotal role in life. It continues, as we should continue its advocation.
We represent Northwest artists working in a variety of media including painting, sculpture, works on paper, ceramics, jewelry and mixed media.
Our second gallery features exhibitions on a monthly basis, as well as selected group shows and special exhibitions. To arrange an appointment, please call 503-581-3229 or email; firstname.lastname@example.org
During our years of operating, we have successfully encouraged the broadening and blossoming of the Salem art scene. We are dedicated to serving our clients as well as our artists. The relationships that we cultivate with our clients and our artists have been and will continue to be long and rewarding. We encourage you to take the time to be acquainted with us and take the time to appreciate the art we enjoy so much.
My name is Mary Lou Zeek and I own the Mary Lou Zeek Gallery. I spend my time promoting artists while attempting to keep my creative momentum in my own life. This blog is about people, places and things that inspire my creative process.