Today, I’m gallery sitting. Which means, I am the cleaner, curator, sales person for this gallery today. A little before 11 am, I unlock the door, turn off the alarm and turn on the lights. The street outside is eerily quiet.
I don’t like sitting still. And it’s very quiet in here, I put in a cd of soft instrumental music. I get up and dust. Kill spiders and other bugs. Clean handprints off the front door. Water the plants. And wait.
Around 11:30 cars and people showed up hurrying past the gallery, down the street to the sub shop to pick up their lunch orders. Some nod through the windows. Some peek at the displays. Some are just too busy looking at their phones.
I wonder why they don’t come inside? Are they afraid? Do they think if they come in, they’ll have to buy? I prop the door open, to see if that’s more inviting.
A woman peers in the window, smiles and nudges her husband to take a look, too. It happens to be a little sculpture of mine. Ok. I may be breaking some gallery rule but I get bold and go outside to say hello. Yes, I tell them the piece they are looking at is mine. I tell them I’m glad they like it and there are many more wonderful pieces inside.
They walk away.
Surprise! A few minutes later, they come back and buy the piece! I’m so glad because they love it and it made them both smile. As I pack up their purchase, I tell them about all the new art coming in September including my new Party Animals.
Then another couple strolls by, the woman admires a painting in the window. She comes in. As we walk around the gallery, I point out the art by the painter that attracted her attention in the window as well as another artist that caught her eye.
Many times over the years, I’ve talked more about an event, other artists or other work. And I did that today, too. I showed the work of the other artists in the gallery because I genuinely love the work in here. As the people oohed at the glass, paintings, wood, jewelry or pastels, I did too.
But to approach people I don’t know, to step up, say hello and talk about my work, and show pictures of my new work is different. I answered their questions about how I got started in art, why clay and how I go about making my work which is, honestly, still a mystery to me.
I admit, I thought gallery sitting would be boring. It was exactly the opposite.
It was enriching and enlightening. It gave me a chance to ‘come out’ as an artist and share a little of my solitary studio self with others.
But most important, it made me happy that what I do makes other people happy, too.