Tomorrow is the conclusion of months of preparation and the beginning of a new chapter in my life as an artist.
Over the years I have participated in festivals, been juried into art shows, showed my work in galleries, joined a cooperative gallery and served on its board, juried other artists into galleries and festivals, worked in community arts organizations and so on. Always in the back of my mind was the desire to open my own gallery. It took all these experiences as well as my design and business education to be able to make this dream a reality.
When a space in Historic Downtown Apex became available in January I didn't hesitate. There was enough room to house a wide variety of artworks and for me to include my studio and supplies so that I could continue to be creative in my medium of feltmaking. Then the clock began to tick. I wanted to be open in the spring before the festivals start. My goal was the beginning of April.
I had already decided that the gallery would focus on functional art. In other words, all items would be utilitarian rather than decorative. I love paintings and sculpture. They are transformative in their own way. However, there are many galleries that focus on these traditional fine art forms. Not so for galleries focused on high quality functional art. My goal was to choose master artisans of highly crafted works of art that people would use in their every day lives. The more people are enveloped in creative works as a part of everyday life the more opportunity there is for transformation. Thus the name Cocoon Gallery was born.
Through research and networking I found the artists in North Carolina, and one just over the border in SC, that I would recruit. I met them in their studios and shops and learned about their medium, how they work, and what makes them unique. The proximity of these artists allows for a continuing relationship with me and with my clientele.
I envisioned a gallery environment with fixtures and furnishings that were natural and light and would highlight the creations rather than being the focus of any attention. I sought the spaciousness of an art gallery rather than the clutter of many gift shops. Providing visibility of the whole space from anywhere in the gallery while implying opportunities were awaiting in another area was the target. My studio would be visible for an ongoing demonstration, but not a focal point in the space.
Of course there were many other details to arrange, but hopefully all of those things are invisible to those that walk through the door.
Tomorrow is grand opening. I hope I have achieved all I set out to do and the gallery will be received positively. The fixtures are in place. The items are tagged and displayed. The signage is up. Refreshments, flowers and cake will be here in the morning. I'm looking forward to the party with the artists, friends, family and community. And I look forward to Sunday when I open the doors to a regular business day and the beginning of a my new chapter.