What I Learned From You

Unknown-1My first art show has wrapped. The pieces are stacked up next to me on the table, the labels are waiting to be popped off the walls, the flowers will decorate our house for a few more days. There is a lot to try and absorb from the past three days, so here are just some of the things I learned:

  • All of your worst fears will be realized – it will rain buckets, people will tell you you’re doing it wrong, the sangria will run out, and you will still be okay.
  • Sangria is popular, make more than you need or you will have people trying to suck it out of the fruit
  • From Iain: It’s okay to tell the same story over and over. Even if your spouse can recite it word for word, it’s still new to someone.
  • Artists really want other artists to succeed. They will show up and encourage you and offer their help.
  • From Lin Manuel Miranda, creator and star of the musical “Hamilton”: Even if you are tired, each person who shows up is seeing your work for the first time so be gracious and grateful to every single person. Not that I’m comparing myself to Lin Manuel. Please.
  • From Amanda Palmer: Your friends really do want to help, so ask.


A few days before the opening I realized I should probably figure out how I planned to hang the portraits in the room, so I propped them up in the diningroom and started moving them around. When I felt they were all in the right places I sat down in a chair and looked at them. I looked at each one and tried to remember the process of making it; I picked out my favorite parts of each one and the parts that had challenged me the most. Here was the life of my child and my childhood goal smashed together, and I sat in silence and tried to absorb it all. This is what an art show is about, I realized. It’s not about the press it receives, and the number of people who show up, it’s about creating a body of work that you love and choosing to share it. After about an hour, the voice of Lin Manuel as Alexander Hamilton rang in my head. “Let’s go.”


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