My husband Dean and I after I gave my artist talk at Souls of the Midnight Dreamers.
My goodness how fast time flies.
In late August, I was a guest on WRDW's Morning Mix program to discuss my solo show. A few days after the reception was held, I was interviewed by WJBF's Karlton Clay for a short news segment that aired that week. These were the second and third times I have been on local television this year, and I am still so grateful for the opportunities!
On Saturday, September 2, 2023, the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History hosted a reception for Souls of the Midnight Dreamers, my 3rd-ever solo art show, this one sponsored by RedWolf Advertising. It was a night I will never forget.
Upon arrival at the Conference Center on the Museum campus, I walked the perimeter of the room.
As I walked, I took in all of my 36 paintings and drawings we had hung just a couple days before the reception was to take place. Each piece of artwork had a little caption under it sharing little-known facts about the people I portrayed in my art. (Folks who attended later expressed how they enjoyed reading the factoids and how they learned a lot of things they'd never before known.)
A podium stood at the front of a room filled with chairs for attendees to sit upon while noshing on refreshments. That podium would be the place where I would face my strongest fear.
Let me take you back to that night, for those who were unable to attend, and give you a taste of the magic that was had. At the end of this blog, you will find photos from the evening. Unfortunately, I cannot remember who took what photo, but most of them were taken by Rhian Swain, owner of RedWolf Advertising. I just absolutely adore her.
It was thrilling not only to see so many of my friends but to see so many folks in the community, people I have never met, come out to see my artwork. I introduced myself to each and every person who walked in that door. The love I felt from everyone was intoxicating. It was especially exciting to see Pat Knox-Hudson arrive. To have her present meant the ultimate success and I felt great joy finally getting the chance to meet her.
Our caterer, Nancy Chance Blanchard of Nancy's Fancy Feast, provided a delicious spread of treats, none of which I had the opportunity to sample. Everyone raved over the food and at the end of the night the only thing that remained were cookies. Success! I maybe grabbed a bottle of water before my artist talk. Maybe? I can't remember much prior to that moment.
Music for the reception was provided by BillKarpJazz. Bill and his wife Nancy are two of the most amazing human beings I've ever known. Bill's jazz selections set the tone for the entire evening and the crowd loved his setlist and his bubbly personality. I was thrilled to learn that he was approached for gig bookings during my reception. He truly deserves all the success in the world.
When it was time for me to speak, Corey Rogers, the Executive Director of the Laney Museum, introduced me to the crowd that had gathered. Most of the chairs were taken but it was standing room only once I was given the mic.
I was so scared. So nervous. Public speaking has always been a fear of mine. Any kind of public performance terrifies me. This is mostly why I have never learned to dance, play any kind of competitive sport, do anything physical in front of anyone. That said, I knew I had to give a talk, so I wrote a speech and saved it in a note on my phone a few weeks before the reception was to take place.
Once I stood up in front of the room, I laid the phone down on the podium, squeezed the mic, then addressed the crowd. Within the first two or three sentences spoken, I felt myself soaring with the attendees.
We had become one in spirit.
I spoke a little about my history, my origins, and my journey as an artist. Surprisingly, I found myself looking directly at various people as I spoke, engaging the audience and bringing everyone along on the tale I'd spun about Midnight Dreamers. I highlighted several of the paintings that lined the walls, focusing on the humanity behind the celebrity of each Dreamer I discussed.
My original speech clocked in at just under 5 minutes. The speech I gave, free-flowing and free of fear, lasted nearly 10. When I was finished, the crowd gave me a standing ovation. One of the attendees told me that I was an excellent public speaker and that I should think about doing talks more often.
I know my jaw must have hit the floor.
The rest of the evening went very well. I made two sales and met a lot of great folks. For a little "party favor," I had business cards made by Moo.com. They each had one of five different prints of Dreamer paintings on the back. Those business cards were gobbled up by collectors. My stickers, featuring a self portrait in watercolor I call "Star Girl," flew, too.
Before my husband Dean and I departed, Corey asked me if I would like to paint the Museum's new Little Library. I jumped at the chance. He also stated he wanted me to do another show in 2024, this time with Rhian Swain who, as mentioned earlier, owns RedWolf Advertising.
I was speechless. It was the most amazing time ever, and I left that night exhausted, exhilarated, and emotional.
Before the end of September, the show was extended for another month. If you haven't had time yet to visit the exhibition, you have till the end of October to see the show.
Since that night, I have submitted a painting for the 7th Annual October Spooktacular event at Le Chat Noir. That reception happens on Friday, October 20 from 6-8pm. Just yesterday I found out that my piece, a portrait of Herman Munster, sold already! I have a piece in the upcoming Oysters on Telfair event at Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art. That event happens on November 2. Also, three of my paintings will be available to purchase at the upcoming Winter Art Show at City Gallery. I will share more on that when I have the info.
I have no idea what the future holds, but there are several group events coming up in 2024, plus the show with Rhian and another show with my friend Rachel Shea Beck of Pelted Head Studio. Rachel and I are doing a collaboration on a brilliant idea that she came up with and I'm so excited. Voices of Augusta will happen again next summer at Augusta & Co. Heather Rene Dunaway has asked me to cocurate that one, and I already have some pieces in mind to make for the show. So much to look forward to, and I hope that you will come out to one or all of the events that are coming up.
If you have made it this far, thank you for being here, for reading, and for being a subscriber to the newsletter and/or a reader of this blog. I hope you have an amazing autumn and that life is treating you well.
Please enjoy the event photos that follow. I'll be working on commissions and trying new art ideas going forward for the rest of 2023. Until next time, much love and peace from my heart to yours.