I’m Still Here

I hope you haven’t forgotten Handy Concepts because though we struggle, and despite 2014 being such a dismal year for me, we have yet to give up the ghost.

RECAP

Kerry’s Green closed unexpectedly on January 1, which meant the gallery also closed (way to start the year) and it took me two months of calling and writing to get the doors open so that I could collect all of the artwork and shop items I had there. All of which I moved and stored in my home studio until most of the artists could come and retrieve their art.

I then made a halfhearted attempt to generate sales and maintain a presence via my website with minimal results. Truthfully, I haven’t updated my website in over a year now. Can’t get much leverage that way…

I started quite a few paintings but finished only one. My annual goal is to complete new 6-8 paintings and I have achieved that goal every year until 2014. I started one painting FOUR times – I’ not talking start, stop, start, stop – I mean I started 4 different canvases, and worked them all to varying degrees of “complete” before deciding that my errors were too far gone to correct. I tried hard to get it done (again) before the New Year but alas, still working on it.

In the spring our house was put on the market as my husband and I struggled to keep afloat but the market being what it is, it’s almost impossible to get back what we’ve put into it. So we push on.

My biggest blow however came mid-year when I became caregiver to my mother, running her to doctor visits, cheering her on through several surgeries, daily visits during hospital stays and sometimes working my job remotely from the hospital. Despite the successes of the surgeries and the promise of recovery and rehab, mom lost her battle on October 2, 2014. I was fully expecting to have her around another 10-12 years, making me laugh, getting on my nerves, imparting words of wisdom, bossing me around. She was 78 years young. I never thought my heart could break into so many pieces.

NOT ALL BAD

The silver lining of 2014 shone through in late June with the birth of grandbaby no. 10. Thank God for the smallest of miracles.

MOVING FORWARD

2015? Who knows? Maybe it will turn into a banner year, maybe not. What I do know is that I have a lot to do, a lot I still want to accomplish and no one can make it happen but me. I’ve taken the last week of this year to plan and push myself to get up and get moving. I want to thank all of the artists who started with me in 2009 and hung in there during the lean years and a special thanks to those few who still hung around this past year even though I only managed to sell one painting.

I want to thank all of my clientele who still look forward to new art, who still inquire about my artists, who still encourage me to keep art alive in our community and continue to support our efforts. Thank you to those who have commissioned art and have waited patiently for your finished product.

I hope to see you all in 2015, online and in person. And I have so much more creativity in me that I promise it will blow you away in the coming year. Besides, Mom has been chiding me. I can hear her clearly – “Shouldn’t you be painting?” “What are you working on now?”

So even though you may not have heard from me all year, and just in case you were wondering – I’M STILL HERE.

It’s Daylight Savings Time…

…KEEP SMALL BUSINESSES FROM GOING DARK

I overheard a conversation the other day between two gentlemen who were discussing the early demise of a neighborhood eatery.  Being familiar with the little shop I listened as one of the men regaled upon the other how the subject business was in operation for just a little more than a year before it folded.

The man commented on the amount of money and labor that was put into restoring the old building to its former glory, updating the interior and preserving the exterior. He spoke of the ample availability of parking and how nice it was to have that little family oriented shop in the neighborhood.

It was  shame that the shop had such a short-lived existence. How sad it was when it quietly closed its doors.  And after all that was said he admitted that he himself had never set foot inside.

At this point I stopped listening, reminiscing instead about a little art gallery that was located just down the street from that small shop, the only art gallery in town.  It offered a myriad of original jewelry, pottery, sculptures, photography and paintings ranging from $30 to $3,000 – a little something for everyone.  The gallery flourished for the first year and then put up a really good fight midway through the second year before it too succumbed to a failing economy.

I remembered also, how amazed I was at the number of people who stopped in during those final days to say, “I pass by here every day and this is my first time in.  Sorry to hear that you are closing,” or “I live just a few doors down but I’ve never been in,” and  “It was really nice to have a gallery in town, it’s a shame you have to close.”  “I’m so sorry I missed your artist receptions, I heard they were really nice.”

The shame of course is that those people who dislike big box stores and thought these small businesses were good for the neighborhood, those who looked through the windows but rarely or never set foot inside, those who saw the value after the fact, are the very people who could have made a difference.

Thankfully for that little gallery the “closing” was converted into a move to a new location.  We have yet to see our heyday as we continue to struggle to balance the scales between “need” and “want” in a tough economic environment, but we push forward and for now I still own the only art gallery in town. Check us out at www.handyconcepts.com or email us to ask about our payment plan or gift cards at info@handyconcepts.com.  We support the American Diabetes Association and the Disabled American Veterans by donating 5% of all art sales to either organization.

If there is a small business in your neighborhood give it a fighting chance before you allow it to go dark. The power is in your hands.

PS. Remember, November 30, 2013 is Small Business Saturday.