Blog / 2023 / I’m a Public Library Artist.
January 9, 2023
The aborted eye-roll was making my brain itchy, but I kept my gaze glued on the gallery owner, a big smile pasted across my face. It was vital that I remain polite.
Because I’m an artist and because the gallerist knew it, they seemed to think that I must want something from them. As a result, they’d turned their snobbiness up to eleven.
Here’s the thing though: I rarely want anything from gallery owners, and, in this case, I found myself extra not-wanting. For starters, before I even set foot in the venue, I knew my art didn’t fit with its aesthetic, so I was definitely not looking to show there. For another, the patronizing advice and attitude of gallerists like this one is intensely underwhelming when you’ve been making your living as an artist for twenty years.
Still, I kept on chatting away, because I live in a small town and politeness can’t actually kill me—just make it feel like my brain has hives. When the gallerist asked who represented me, I explained that I rep myself and that I was, at that very moment, planning an exhibit at the gallery in our local library.
“On the second floor,” I replied, thinking maybe they’d only been up there during the early pandemic years when the walls had been artless.
The gallery owner clarified: “no, where’s the library?”
And that’s when my thwarted eye-roll finally escaped. I’m convinced that, without public libraries, civilization crumbles, so I have a hard time taking seriously anyone who doesn’t know where theirs is.
That conversation happened three months ago, and the library show I was referring to has been and gone, but I’m currently showing with two other libraries: Englewood’s and Jersey City’s.
The Englewood exhibit is Baby Sees ABCs and it’s on display through the end of the month in the Leonard Hansen Gallery. When you visit the show, you can peruse the labels for unusual animal facts and then share your favorite one with the librarian at the circulation desk to receive a sticker or art print!
The Jersey City show isn’t actually at the library, but in a park. The Surprising Thing About Gratitude is a public art project presented by the Jersey City Public Library along with Walk_Bye Art at Canco Park. Come to the opening this Saturday between noon and two o’oclock to enjoy hot drinks and creative company as well as the yummy art!
The Surprising Thing About Gratitude
47 Dey Street
Jersey City, NJ 07306
Reception: January 14th from 12p to 2p
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