Saturday, September 4, 2010

Life is but a dream!

I've been so enamored with the day to day experience of operating the gallery these last few weeks that I've neglected the blog. So far, its been just incredible. I am so excited each day to head into the shop. Most days I still can't believe that I've done it, that its all come together, and that I'm actually here living my dream.

Our first month was a huge success! We celebrated our Preview Night with a huge crowd of friends, family and fantastic sales. For our official Grand Opening, the shop was packed from start to finish, and we exceded our goals by 50%. The month rounded out with many new clients and several people in Louisville are happily adding new art to their collections.

Our first exhibit in the REV has come down and we are preparing to hand the next one, ABANDON by April Rietze. Opening next weekend (9/11 from 7-11), its sure to please and intrigue. April has really poured herself into this creative collection of new works, featuring photos printed on gallery-wrapped canvas and then embellished with new media, acrylics and found objects. I've only had a preview of a few of the pieces, but she's been teasing us with videos of her "junking" (searching for embellishment objects), tea staining, and generally pushing herself to create something new and amazing. I can't wait to see the final products on the walls!

In general, I just couldn't be more pleased. I feel so happy to be here!

Friday, July 30, 2010

The night before...

1:00 am, and here I am still putting together the store. Its coming together and things are in place but its still hard to believe its reality. This has been such a long standing dream and its finally here. I've never worked like this before. For the last few weeks, the typical schedule is office from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm then on to the gallery from 6:00 pm until sometime after midnight. I fully appreciate now the value of sleep for the health of the body and mind- both have been failing me over the last few days! With hundreds of details and tasks to manage, there hasn't been a full 60 seconds of idleness. I'm moving at a breakneck speed. I'm looking forward to the chance to catch a breath, reflect on the wonder that is whirling past and beam in the joy of making the life that I want. I've scarcely had the chance to really appreciate what is happening. In a few days I think it will really hit me.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Home Stretch

With the Preview Night less than a week away, this life-long dream of mine is just about a reality. I've never worked so hard (15-16 hour days), yet my energy and enthusiasm has been just about boundless. I couldn't be any more excited to see the gallery coming together.

Every day more artists are signing on and new work is arriving. We've only been in the space for a month now, but so much has happened that I feel like we've been working for 6 months. Just 4 weeks ago we had a long list of leasehold improvements and almost no contracts. Even 2 weeks ago I feared that we might be opening with blank spaces on the walls, or that no one would attend the opening events. Those fears have subsided now, as we've signed on plenty of artists, have gallery exhibits for both galleries booked out through May, and have over 100 guests confirmed for the Preview Night. Our first advertisements were printed this week and media coverage is gaining momentum for the coming weeks. By the time the Grand Opening rolls around on August 14, I hope operations will be smoothly sailing and we'll have a steady flow of daily customers.

There's still a very long to-do list for this week and we'll be soliciting a lot of helpers, but I know that by next Saturday evening, it will all get done and we'll officially open the doors for the first time. My anticipation for that evening is mounting and mixed with some fear and worries, but mostly astonishment that I have created this reality. I'm so grateful for the support and assistance of my friends and family, and especially thankful that I connected with such a sweet and wonderful partner, Mary Le.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dreams can become reality

Authenticity: genuine, truth, faithfulness

I seek to live my life with authenticity. This means to be the best version of who I am and to appreciate the best version of those around me for who they are.

When I was in college, I couldn't decide which passion to follow (or maybe I couldn't decide who I was). I have always been an artist. I love the creative process, I love making beautiful things, and I appreciate watching how others create things for the sake of creating. But I'm also a businessperson by nature. Creating a process of bringing something to a customer and turning that supply and demand into a win for both parties always thrills me. So I majored in both Fine Arts and Business Administration. Every semester, I split the load between both fields, and this created harmony and balance for me that was both stimulating and satisfying. This life felt genuine and whole.

After college I went to work for the family business, Specialty Tool & Machine. We are a custom manufacturer of machined and fabricated goods. I've had the privilege of working there with my dad, one of my greatest influences and valuable teachers. I've had the opportunity to play a lot of roles and learn the day to day mechanics of how to run a business. After working in accounting, implementing an ERP, serving project management and special projects, and acting on the board of directors, now I head up Business Development (sales). What an opportunity for experience, growth and prosperity!

But this career left a big hole in my life.... ART.
I've missed the congruity that comes with living with my foot in both the structured, logical world of business, and the free flowing, rule-breaking world of the creative arts. When I was younger, I envisioned an establishment I would have one day, where I would be surrounded by beautiful, handcrafted items, where I could connect with other creative souls, and where I could bring beauty to the lives of others. I fantasized about creating a structure that was solid and profitable, but connected me to the artistry of creating for the sense of expression and aesthetics.

As the years rolled past, this vision was neglected, and I was caught up in the business and pressures of making a living and a life. But the hole was eating away at me and a time came when I realized that it must be filled. I remembered my vision with a new enthusiasm, drive and passion. I committed to myself last year that it was time to make my dream a reality.

And then I struggled.
I was filled with anxiety. How could I do this? I have a successful career, and an important role for my family's and co-workers' stability and prosperity. I have commitments and obligations to fulfill. I couldn't leave this to become an art gallery owner. Yet, I knew that would make me so
happy! I had no idea how to reconcile this conflict.

I believe that the universe will provide for you. What you seek, you will attract. Your AUTHENTICITY is THE MOST DIRECT ROUTE.

Last fall, at my 10 year high school reunion, I had a chance to reconnect with many friends that I hadn't seen in a decade. As I mingled and chit-chatted, I conversed with a quiet girl that I had always found beautiful, sweet and interesting. Mary Le had recently quit her job at a bank to focus on her jewelry line, Misobel Creations, and was wondering what her next step in life would be. Our meeting suffused my consciousness for a few months before I realized that she could be a perfect partner to make my dream come true. So after 10 years of silence, we met and I laid out my ambitions and a proposal for her to join me. This would allow me to stay at the family business and launch my new venture. To my exhilaration, she accepted! In fact, just the day before, her husband had woke her to share a dream he had of her working in a boutique in Louisville.

We spent the next months planning, planning and planning. The final business plan is over 100 pages! Slowly, the dream became something real. Step by step, it has fallen into place. Finally, as we applied for financing and scouted locations, the storefront that had long been my inspiration suddenly became available for lease. Even though it was about a month ahead of schedule, we knew we had to take it.

So here we are, making a dream come true, opening a gallery-boutique at a break-neck speed.
I've never worked so hard! 15+ hour days, 7 days a week to keep up with my full time job at Specialty Tool and get this business off the ground. But I've never felt happier, more excited, and as balanced as I do now to be creating this reality. It helps that I have a bountiful network of loving friends and family to encourage, support and assist. As well as an amazing business partner to share the experience! Thank you for sharing the story of my happiness. I'll use this blog to share all about the experience of living out a dream, and the peace and delight that comes with creating a reality of authenticity.