Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The business of art

The past month, I have been busy beyond belief: painting, marketing the work, writing Examiner articles, and completing a major edit on a novel I submitted to the Florida Writers Association for a Royal Palm Literary Award. I’m keeping my fingers crossed about that, but whether or not I win an award I do plan to pursue agents and publishers. Writing and sending out query letters is grueling work, which I haven’t had the energy to begin yet, but it must be done.

Meantime, I spent two Saturdays covering A Unique Art Gallery (an art collective in Jupiter that opened on June 1) and hours afterwards putting together a binder for the gallery. Though I use the computer all the time, I’m still only semi computer literate, so it was a lengthy process sizing and laying out the photos of my work to make attractive pages in the gallery binder.

Summer is a difficult time for art galleries. There isn’t a whole lot of foot traffic, so the galleries I have contact with are trying to come up with ideas to get people in the door. At least two of the galleries told me that they want artists to come in and set up their easels. The theory is that people will enter the gallery to watch the artist work and then hopefully will purchase some art.

In the Jupiter gallery there’s room in the back for classes, and that’s certainly one way to attract some people to the gallery. I decided to teach a class on creativity, and I’m hoping that people will sign up for the two-hour workshop, Unleashing Creativity. The class is for the novice who longs for the opportunity to unleash creative potential and for the seasoned artist who wishes to deepen creative pathways and to learn tools for overcoming periods of blocking.

For me it’s the opportunity to use my psychotherapeutic skills without doing therapy. I closed my psychotherapy practice over five years ago, and though I don’t miss being a therapist I like the idea of integrating my new art career with my old expertise. I plan to use art therapy techniques to help participants tap into their unconscious and release their inner muse as well as overcome fears, self-doubts, and self-defeating messages which hamper people in expressing themselves artistically. More and more research indicates that physical and mental health is affected by our ability to perceive in a positive light. People can learn to be more positive. Opening up our creative juices and allowing them to flow freely is one of the pathways to establishing healthy minds and bodies.

Lupe Lawrence, one of my fellow gallery artists, teaches at the Center for Creative Education and at the Artists Showcase, both in West Palm Beach, where she inspires young people to express their artistic natures. She will bring her teaching skills to the A Unique Art Gallery as well. So if we don’t sell art at least we might earn some money helping others to create it.

(Photo by M. Schreiber of Lupe Lawrence and her work at the A Unique Art Gallery)