How to hang your art in a gallery for the world to see…

The Fisherman

Laughing…   The only way I know for would-be artists to “hang your art in a gallery for the world to see” is to live in a small town.

Seriously, it’s great to live in a small town.  Since fewer folks exist, it’s sometimes easier to find a place to fit in.

For example:  if your graduating class has 40 students, and you want to play basketball or football, you’ll probably find a place on the team.  You might not get a starting position, but you’ll automatically make the team.

Dock and reflection

If you’re a photographer or painter or artist you probably don’t have to dream of placing your work in an art show.  No.

This is how it’s handled in our fair county:

I traipsed down to Gallery 325 today, across the bay, in Baraga.  I have been meaning to visit my friend, Karen, on Wednesday afternoon at the local art gallery.  Have been meaning to do this for at least a year.  Maybe longer. 

Today announced itself as The Day.  I had other errands to accomplish.  a)   banking.   b)  lunch at the Nite Owl restaurant.  Which always consists of two scrambled eggs and homemade whole wheat toast, no matter what time of day,  c)  stop at the library and pick up a book ordered through intra-library loan.  (I have made a grave error in the library department recently…ordering SEVERAL books from intra-library loan simultaneously.  This was a WRONG move.  Now all the books are arriving and I have way too many to read, in way too little time.  Alas….)

Odd angles of cement and rock beneath dock

After accomplishing said items, I motored across the bay.  Followed the signs to the Gallery, refreshing my memory from another visit or two a few years back.

Entered the back door.  And there was–and there was–Karen.  But it was not the Karen I intended to visit.  It was another Karen.  The two Karens had a show a couple of months ago called the Karen & Karen show.  I was now facing the other Karen.

We had met a few years ago at a party and chatted enthusiastically for at least a half hour.  She lives off the grid.  No kidding.  No electricity.  No computers.

“I hear about your blog!”  she exclaimed.  (My, news gets around.  But, in truth, Karen probably heard about it from the other Karen and my friend Catherine who are both avid supporters of the Gallery.)

“I’m here,” I began, clearing my throat, “to find out the themes of your upcoming shows.”

Light, stones and lake

“Are you going to put something in the show?” Karen asked, excitedly.

I then admitted my intent.  It was time to actually print off one of these blog photos and maybe even frame it.  Maybe more than one.  And maybe hang it (or them) in one of their shows. 

Karen was quite excited.  I had to warn her very sternly:  I am not a professional, you know.  I’m really just a beginner; only been shooting for a year or two now.

Then we embarked in another half-hour conversation about photography, the visual eye, art and sixteen other pertinent things.  And now I’m on the mailing list, soon to be given the theme of the Next Show.  (This month’s show is called “Crow Moon” and debuts Friday night.  Doesn’t that sound like a fascinating theme?)

Patterns the water makes when it splashes against stone. Honest, that's what it is.

This is what I love about a small town.  Everybody who wants to be an artist will be given a spot on the wall to hang their creation.  You won’t be laughed out the door.  You won’t be politely declined.  Instead, you’ll be given a bear hug and asked, “Really?  You want to be involved in the gallery?  Oh, this is wonderful!”  (And that is without even glimpsing a single photograph or drawing or painting.)

Blue, blue lake and sky. Notice how the blue color changes from day to day.

 Here is a question for you today.  Do you have any artistic projects that you’ve been avoiding sharing with other people?  Any dreams of creating that you’ve been burying because you think they might be inadequate?   If the Sky was the Limit…what would you create?  If you could pretend you had talent, how would you feature it?  C’mon, imagine!  Think big! 

(And after you’ve thought big…dive into any remaining fear…toss it out the window!  Go for it!  Be an artist!  You are anyway…it just may be the time to recognize it!)

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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46 Responses to How to hang your art in a gallery for the world to see…

  1. Kathy – How COOL that your work is going to be in THE ART SHOW! I’m so EXCITED for you! You’re going to blog about it, right? You will. I know you will.

    You asked:

    Do you have any artistic projects that you’ve been avoiding sharing with other people? I have artistic projects; no avoiding involved.

    Any dream of creating that you’ve been burying because you think they might be inadequate? None that I’m burying; no shoveling for me.

    If the sky was the Limit … what would you create? I’ve written a book called, “Drop the Bags and No One Will Get Hurt: A Practical Guide to Unleashing Your Potential.

    If you could pretend you had talent, how would you feature it? No pretending. At the end of this month (April 22-25) I’ll be at the Writer’s Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to talk with literary agents and publishers about it. Hot diggity!

    • Dawn K says:

      Very very cool, all of it!

    • Kathy says:

      Laurie, I would suspect that you don’t avoid any artistic projects! Your book sounds wonderful. I’ll bet it will help many people unleash their potential. What a fun time it will be at the Writer’s Institute for you with your art. Here’s to a successful and fun time!

  2. Snoopykg1 says:

    Do you have any artistic projects that you’ve been avoiding sharing with other people?
    I am going to take a different twist to this, my first draft crashed anyway!
    I have been avoiding sharing myself because I did not feel I was important enough to be singled out as artistic or anything otherwise. I always am too nice and polite, and avoid any attention. I have benn working on this over the years and have gotten better, however somehow lost my self Esteem, self Confidence, and self worth along the way, especially the last few years. As you know if you are creative, it would be a good idea to have these things in order. i guess I would say I have been avoiding the project and it has been in the dresser drawer.

    Any dream of creating that you’ve been burying because you think they might be inadequate?
    Have not been sharing emotions and feelings and dreams, basically burying them where noone including myself could find them. Thinking that somehow if they were buried and gone, that I would be great and things would open up and I could be more open with my creativity. Unfortunately it has caused me to ride the tails of others dreams, as if to stifle mine, or live dreams that are at odds with my own repressed ones.

    If the sky was the Limit … what would you create?
    I would probably be more in tune to be in to more photography and writing. I have written some articles over the years for different publications, mostly on safety and quality management. As I have said before I tend not to do much besides work, and ten to family matters.
    I absolutely would love to play in someones garden, as my own garden is off limits, as it is hubbys thing….noone allowed.

    If you could pretend you had talent, how would you feature it?

    Self Promotion any way I could find it!

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Kim! It sounds like you are really working on self-esteem issues and perhaps starting to share your feelings and dreams a bit. Hoping that you will find the courage to get on top of the horse of your own dreams and begin to create more with photography and writing. Don’t sell yourself short! I know you have a lot to offer the world…go for it!

  3. Snoopykg1 says:

    I would also add that 21,000 hits is pretty much a guarentee that your gallery is on its way to being shown to the world…..Awesome!

    • Kathy says:

      Kim…you know…you’re right. This on-line internet gallery probably will show more folks than in our small gallery in town. You’ve got to love the Internet!

  4. Marianne says:

    Absolutely beautiful pictures Kathy! Congratulations, very wonderful news! Will look forward to your blog about the event. In answer to your question, I had an urge to hire a story coach who will assist me to write about a life situation that occurred many years ago. Don’t know why it just seems to want to come out. It will be a process over the next few months. Thanks for sharing.

    • Kathy says:

      Marianne, how cool that you will have help writing your story. I think that is so valuable…to put our stories or life situations into words. Sometimes they help us grow. And sometimes they can help other people gain insights about their own lives. Don’t know when my gallery event will take place…but probably within the next three months.

  5. Dawn K says:

    Ah yes, we are all artists! Will you give us enough advanced notice so maybe possibly we might actually be able to get to the gallery while you’re showing in it? That would be soooooo great!

    I’d paint. I think. Or maybe write. Or maybe write AND paint. I spent 3 weeks in somewhat solitary seclusion, and it was only the last three days that I really got into the painting thing. I think I need time to warm up! LOL

    And the ordering books from the interlibrary loan thing, where they all come in at once? SO CLASSIC!!

    • Kathy says:

      GET to the gallery when I’m showing it? Oh my goodness. Now that would be so fun!

      I am excited that you are getting into the painting scene. Isn’t that energizing when we start something new like that?

      And it’s called inter-library loan, instead of intra-library loan! All day long I’ve been wondering and have been too lazy to look it up…

  6. Jessica says:

    Good luck with the show. I think your photos are spectacular. I have considered sharing my altered art and crafted cards to get on scrapbook and rubber stamp design teams but have never thought I would get in. Maybe now is the time to try out. 🙂

  7. Jessica says:

    Great job Kathy. I think you’ll be proud to see your own photos hanging live and large on a real wall.

    Here is my Brave Heart Women blog post about a similar topic: a one woman show.

    I settled and made-do with a digital only gallery.

    • Kathy says:

      Jessica, you are a VERY talented artist! I went to look at the pictures on your on-line gallery and they are very cool. Love the portraits very much…I hope you are still keeping up on your work. Our gallery would accept these in a second!

  8. lagarlika says:

    Great news! Your pictures are so inspiring! Good luck with it! 🙂

  9. kseverny says:

    small town, that makes sense

  10. pearlz says:

    That is so true about small towns, I am doing an exhibition this year too, and am self taught like yourself, I loved this blog!

  11. Barb says:

    It will be interesting to see which photos you choose to hang. I like small towns, too.

    • Kathy says:

      Barb, now that is going to be the Challenge. How in the world would you decide which pictures to pick? Eeny, meeny, miney, moe…. I have no idea! (And glad you’re a small town fan.)

  12. Jeff Stroud says:

    Kathy good for you! You get that photograph framed and hung in a gallery, way to go!

    I loved the journey today, wonderful vision of your path and adventures, culminating with your discussion at the gallery and how thrilled they where to have your work included! Simply joyous I would say!

    Yes I have many projects, gallery’s and coffee shop, photography groups I have researched and considered joining and or entering my Photography but have not followed through as of yet… These things are on my to do list, truly, honestly, and now that I have made these public statements I guess I will have to follow through!

    I love the Dock and Reflection Photograph! well captured, what where you standing in the lake or on the water?
    I am Love, Jeff

    • Kathy says:

      Jeff, you would know a LOT about have a show–I know some of your works have been in an exhibit recently. You would probably be able to give lots of advice! I think you might consider putting lots of your wonderful photographs in galleries…yes, you should follow through so more people can enjoy your work!

      Actually, for that dock and reflection photo I was standing on another dock to capture that. I loved the stillness of the water and the way the numbers reflected. Thank you, Jeff.

  13. p.j. grath says:

    Well, you already know that I pulled back from sharing my drawing. Photographs are out there, on my blog. Short stories I’ll share more widely when I have the whole lot of them into what seems more like “final” form.

    I love the photograph above titled Light, Stones and Lake. Love your attitude, too, Kathy!

    • Kathy says:

      Pamela, you take great photographs and I’m sure you have lots of us waiting eagerly to perhaps see those short stories you’ve been working on this winter in Florida!

      As for the Light, Stones & Lake photo…I am just barely learning about how to capture light. That seems the direction that perhaps the photography might open up in the future…

  14. pajamadays says:

    Yeah for you! I can’t wait to hear how the show goes – I am always amazed when my little bubble is popped and I realize that more people than myself tread reluctantly through doors of potential when it comes to their craft. I am excited that you are sharing so much of yourself to your community.

    • Kathy says:

      Yes, pajamadays, I do also love it when my little bubble is popped! (OK, gently popped, that is…) Isn’t it fun to be sharing ourselves with the community? Both our physical communities and our on-line ones…

  15. Colleen Lloyd says:

    Kathy, your wonderful photography drew me in. Your words captured my imagination and now I’m such a big fan of your work! I grew up in the country and our closest town was a very small one. As much as I rushed to leave it all behind, I left a part of my heart there. Your work touches that part of my heart.
    Am also reading your 365 Day blog and enjoying it so very much.

    • Kathy says:

      Colleen…you had me grinning from ear to ear! You are actually reading through the 365 day blog? Girl, you should get an award! Thank you…that is so wonderful. I am glad if, perhaps, this small town in-the-woods life brings you back a piece of your heart. Blessings!

  16. Reggie says:

    Congratulations, Kathy! Can you remember the beginning of your other blog ( – when you began to photograph things in your world every single day? For a whole year?

    I think that was the training, inspiration, encouragement and feedback you needed to hone your skills to such an extent that you can now confidently march into a gallery and end up being part of an exhibition. How awesome is that!

    You just wait, in the not too distant future you will have an entire show of your own! We just KNOW you will. You rock, Kathy. 😀

    [excitedly jumping up and down, clapping hands in delight, and cheering with joy!]

    • Kathy says:

      You are so darn right, Reggie. You nailed it. An entire year of taking photographs—10,000 of them!!–is what opened up this world. And to have people actually saying that they liked ’em, well, that was major. Actually, the spirit of all that feedback and encouragement will be hanging with the photos in the gallery. It’s really YOUR show, too, all of you who have been so encouraging. Sniff! Thank you so much, Reggie…

  17. giiid says:

    This is exciting, and well deserved. I wish you good luck.
    (Wich photos are you going to show at the exibition?)

    • Kathy says:

      giid, I am befuddled about the answer to that question. I have no idea how to pick. I will probably go through some of my favorites and then ask my husband which one he likes. Of course anyone can offer suggestions! I have about 15-16 months of the photographs to contemplate. And thank you!

  18. Nicole Smith says:

    Small town or no, your photos richly deserve more venues, though the internet may remain the way most people see them! Wonderful.

    • Kathy says:

      Definitely, Nicole, the photos will be seen by more people here on-line. I love that the big-wide-world has come to the little-tiny-towns and woods of our nation. Hurray for this on-line world! and thank you, dear friend.

  19. Emma says:

    Oh, yay! I’m happy your photography will be seen by more people and that you are honoring it this way!

    You are so right that everyone can be creative and everyone can create art.

    In the coming year, I plan to put my art out in the world way more than ever before. I’d like to make a lot, lot, lot more of it, for starters. Then, I’d like to enter it in some shows, sell it various places, and I’ll also be creating some creativity-themed workshops! =D

    • Kathy says:

      Dear Emma, one of the most creative people I know, you are so right. We need to honor our art. Our art is like our children. If we don’t honor the little ones, that’s not respecting them enough perhaps. How happy I am that you are putting your art out in the world. And doing workshops! How very impressive.

  20. Dawn K says:

    Kathy, I thought of something else…when I was in grad school at UM in 06-08 I volunteered with a PhD student in the school of education who was working with a group of high school students after school in downtown Detroit. So for a period of time I’d go with her (along with some of my classmates and some education grad students) and we’d meet the kids in the school library. The project consisted of taking photographs of their Hispanic neighborhood near the Detroit River. It was pretty run down, but very photogenic in an urban sort of way. Then they wrote pieces that went with a few of their photos, and the whole thing was put up on the web.

    At the end of the project the PhD student selected one photo from each student and had it printed larger, framed and hung in the school of education building on the UM campus. For the “graduation” event at the end the kids were bussed in for a dinner/award ceremony. I don’t think they knew their photos would be shown there. They walked in, and all along the hall their work was hung, framed, behind glass, with art spotlights on it. Each photo that might have seemed mediocre when viewed alone looked SPECTACULAR when framed and hung and lit.

    You will have that same wonderful experience! I can’t wait!!

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn, I can imagine what excitement that would have been for the students to see their photographs on the wall! They must have been blown away to see their work featured that way. I can almost imagine the expressions of their faces. Thank you for sharing this great story which proves…yet again…that we can ALL be artists. (Or, as a friend said elsewhere–we are all Art Itself!)

    • Reggie says:

      What an uplifting and inspirational story, Dawn – I can imagine how they must have felt. 🙂

  21. Cindy Lou says:

    How will you ever, ever choose the photos to be included in the show?!?!? I get attached to your photos and would never be able to select the ‘rejects’ – they are all worthy in my mind! Congratulations, sweetie….well-deserved! By the way, a few of the comments here made me wonder what happened to your WiMoNaNo novel? (I know that’s not the name of it – as close as i can get?!? 🙂 )

    • Kathy says:

      Cindy, I have NO IDEA how to pic the photos. The poor rejects will be weeping and the winners will be gloating and it will be mayhem in the photo archives! Maybe I won’t even do it…to better prevent sibling photo rivalry. LOL!

      As for my novel…it sits in a lump on Miss Ellie, glowering up at me every time I pass. “What are you going to do with me?” she asks. “I don’t know,” I reply. And that’s how far we get…

  22. kathusitalo says:

    Your only “problem” will be making the selection, you’ve done such great work.
    Sounds like a one-woman show to me!

    • Kathy says:

      Kath (whispering) I don’t think they would probably let me do a one-woman show. I’ll be lucky to get a space on one wall! But thanks for the sweet compliment, nonetheless. 🙂

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