A little bit off the First Friday beaten path, right on what might be considered the cusp of downtown, sits a real gem. Nestled on the corner of 27th and Minnesota is Piper Custom Framing and Fine Art Gallery. As a custom frame shop foremost, it’s possible that it might not even be on your radar as a gallery to stop in and visit. Living only a few blocks north, I have driven past the storefront countless times. Each time curiously eyeing it. Done the same? Save yourself prolonged wonderment. Go in.
The gallery is cozy, and full of carefully selected, beautiful art from Midwest artists – print to sculpture and everything in-between. Not only that, the framing selection makes Hobby Lobby’s wall o’ frame look like a cheap floozy, and the staff are incredibly welcoming, experienced and wonderful to talk to. They welcome local artists with open arms, and are always willing to sit down and have a chat with them.
You can feel that this is a place where quality, and the individual customer experience is the top priority. They care immensely about what they do, and that passion shows the minute you walk in the door. Reaffirming, once again, that there is really nothing better than small business, and really nothing better than buying local art.
I’ve lived in Sioux Falls for three years now, but this was the first time that anyone in my family had been to a First Friday. While my dad enjoyed a couple of beers outside Stogeez Cigar Lounge, I explored all of the great art. At the end of the evening, we both remarked that we’d never seen so much diversity in Sioux Falls all in one place. It was beautiful to see.
Eleven years ago, 20 local artists started Eastbank Art Gallery in a storefront at 8th and Railroad Center, at a time when that part of town was known largely for the rail yards, and not much else. Over the years, things have changed exponentially, with even more change promised since the City of Sioux Falls purchased more than 10 acres of the downtown rail yard from the BNSF Railway for redevelopment. People know where Eastbank is now, and as a gallery, they have forged a good reputation with artists.
The spacious gallery has one of the largest, readily available collections of local and regional art in Sioux Falls. Unlike any other gallery in town, they are member-stocked and member-ran. The walls and display cases boast the work of the current 16 members, and range in style, technique and trade.
I sat down with vice president, Jim Heroux, to talk more.
June 3rd kicked off First Fridays for the summer season, and boasted a long list of happenings. We tried our best to check off as many as we could, jumping place to place in-between rain clouds. While the rain botched many of the outdoor festivities, including the block party at 8th and Railroad, the sky offered a double rainbow for a trade.
Here were some of the highlights.
The library is featuring the works of 16 local and regional artists from Eastbank Gallery. If you’re picking up a book or two, make sure to take a stroll by the East and West walls.
We did a sweep through Unglued to wish them a happy first birthday, and decorate some cupcakes. Hands down, one of my favorite shops in town. If you haven’t been, you better.
A reception for Joshua Spies, a wildlife painter, was held at Rehfeld’s. Spies is a Watertown native, and a dedicated conservationist. Through his work, he has helped raise millions of dollars to support wildlife and conservation foundations. Impeccable detail, color and depth, give his paintings a very realistic, photo-like quality. Eye to Eye, a life-size painting of an elephant, is something you definitely have to experience in person. His work is on display the month of June.
New in the Everest Gallery is The Boomer List, an exhibition featuring photography by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. Consisting of large format, celebrity portraits of members of the generation, it is a fascinating compilation of both people and their experiences. A video of the photo shoots add behind-the-scenes depth to the exposition. It is showing until the end of August.
Sioux Falls Design Center’s PechaKucha Night, Vol. 18
The Design Center put on a very successful, 18th installment of PechaKucha Night, this time in partnership with the Washington Pavilion. If you are not familiar, PechaKucha is a presentation style originating in Tokyo that allows the presenter 20 slides, at 20 seconds a slide (about seven minutes a presentation).
Ten local creators and innovators got up in front of a packed Everest Gallery to talk about their passion. Some of the topics ranged from yoga to women’s rights to facing fears. Presenters included: Jordan Thornton, Ashley Thompson, Brett Cooper, Amy Gehling, Lisa Nolen, Kara Dirkson, Bryan Kegley, Matthew Rennels, Meagan Dion, and Rick Knobe. Make sure to keep your eye out for the next installment. Want to know more about PechaKucha? www.pechakucha.org
Third Eye Gallery at Vishnu Bunny
Third Eye Gallery’s June show, Visions, features the works of local artists Glory Yount, Ruth Comfort, Donna O’Dea, Luke Arens, and Art by Carly. An eclectic, electric and expressive display of talent worth stopping by for. Maybe get some new ink while you’re at it.
I was disappointed to miss a couple stops. They are definitely worth noting…
Exposures show, Echoes, featured the works of Jeff Ballard and Dave Lethcoe, as well as Kelsey Benson in the back gallery. Make sure to stop by and check it out! They will be up through June.
I have been living in Sioux Falls for about two years now, and am humbled to admit this was the first time I have really been able to fully take advantage of a First Friday. Like Dylan eloquently put in last month’s review, “If you have not been downtown on a First Friday, you are seriously not tasting the heart of Sioux Falls.”
I have tasted, and it is good.
For being April, it was an unseasonably cold evening. Whiskey promised to warm my bones at the end of the night, but not before beholding some of Sioux Falls’ finest. Here is a little recap of some of the happenings.
There is something special about viewing an artist’s work in-progress. The raw, intimate glimpse of a temporary existence, an image in flux of both content and time. For Sharon Wegner-Larsen, this type of documentation is simply a part of her creative process; each piece seems to be painstakingly documented, and generously offered to the public in an engaging way. Talking to Sharon, you can tell she is a natural born teacher, someone who values the dedication and discipline attached to strengthening a craft.
Much like her marriage of painting, illustration and design, Sharon combines her love of science and art to create vivid, detailed explorations of life on earth and the space above. Seeking to create a dialogue between the two, her pieces celebrate exploration, and the wonder of the natural world. Read on to find the inspiration behind her work, how she keeps herself on task, and how she has watched the Sioux Falls art community grow. ~Amy
I have not stepped foot in the halls of a high school during school hours in over 10 years. Initially, everything seemed pretty true to form, aside from everyone having his/her own laptop and a smart phone. Lunch hour was still the same balance of chaos and control, even more so were the halls in between class periods – like a Jackson Pollock of noises, bodies and puberty. The minute you walk into Mollie Potter’s classroom, there is a very contrasting tranquility. Whether it is the neatly lined rows of empty tables ready like blank canvases, the organized walls of previous art assignments or the instrumental yoga music, you immediately feel a particular kind of focus. This is a place to create, and I want to stay. Forever.
Over the last few weeks we’ve talked about rejection, communication, and the importance of contracts. By now you might be exhausted. I assure you we’re nearly done. Before I set you free to go sell your work we need to cover what goes into your contracts.
Last week we talked about rejection. But let’s step back into the light and assume you’ve nailed it. That potential client is ready to be a client. Can I say, “booyah?” No. Stop celebrating for a moment. This is the most dangerous point of working with a client, in my opinion. Before you can move forward, you must a establish a contract with the client. Here’s a secret: all four of us have made the mistake of not using a contract before. “Contract” can be a spooky word. It’s binding. But it’s protection for both you and the client. So take some time to put together a comprehensive contract that conveys all the agreements that were made in negotiating the project.
Once you’ve both signed and agreed to the contract you can get to work. Sometimes re-negotiations happen. But that’s an article for another time. Just remember, moving from potential client to official client can happen in mere minutes and you need to stay on your game, and conduct yourself professionally.
If you’re thinking you’re ready to start selling your work then you are a professional. Something Travis and I concluded was, “you may not have mastered your field yet, but if you’re selling, you are a professional. Never be afraid to acknowledge that about yourself.” Conducting yourself professionally will ensure better work and happier clients. There are bad clients, rejections, and dry spells, but you should always strive to be a good service/product provider. In doing so, you’ll see fewer things fall apart, with more things coming together.
Pro Tip: I can’t stress the importance of contracts enough. It’s a professional relationship you’re building and you want to protect that as much as possible. If you want to see an example of negotiating a contract, watch this Strip Search Episode. (May not be suitable for all audiences)
Get yourself comfortable with communicating with your audience.
I’ll get more into what needs to be in your contracts next week, in our final article, “Contracts and Closing Words”.
So, you’ve been honing your craft for at least a week. That’s great! But, before we get into successfully landing a client, let’s go down the dark road of rejection. Sometimes potential client expectations don’t match up with their budget and what you can offer. Don’t undercut yourself. If you have an hourly rate, stick to it. They’re good to have as a base to build from. If you know your rate can’t go lower, if you can’t rework the scope of the project, respectfully walk away. As Travis puts it, “if a client approaches you for something you can’t do, or are not comfortable doing, refer someone else. It builds community and a relationship with the potential client. Never turn away a chance to make a connection.” Be honest and forward with a potential client at all times. It’s better to turn them away than upset or disappoint them.
Pro Tip: Jeffrey mentioned, “they don’t see the years of struggles, tears, breakdowns and rejections.” It can be hard, but remember that you have a different perspective on your work and educating clearly is very important. And keep this in mind, too: “The phrases ‘Never make compromises’ and ‘the client is never wrong’ are both wrong. Find a balance. Clients are not money cows,” reminds Galacia Barton.
So the hunt is over, you have a client on the hook and it’s time to start working. Like us, you’re probably so hungry for work it feels like you’re starving. And that can lead you to making any number of mistakes.
If you’re ready to sell any of your work, you should have at least a strong idea of what you’re worth. Never undercut yourself. Before even considering numbers, get a grasp on the scope and expectation of the project. It won’t be uncommon for clients to be working on fixed budgets, so understanding their intentions will allow you to negotiate the cost effectively.
It’s not crucial to have the client lay down the first number, but it doesn’t hurt. And it can be easier to “tailor your skills to fit their range,” as Galacia says. Don’t be afraid to offer an augmented, or simplified service to accommodate what the budget is.
Tailoring isn’t always the resolve though. Unfortunately, powerful tools like the internet can hinder professional work with services that allow people to sell their skills for unimaginably low rates. This is where your knowledge of your work will put you in the role of an educator. Especially in the realm of digital artwork, clients can sometimes be blind to “the decisions and research that goes into great design,” says Travis Bentley. No matter what you’re doing digitally, teach your potential clients about your processes to show them exactly what they’re paying for.
All of this will help you build positive relationships with your client, and help you refine your audience. Your audience won’t always be idly viewing your work, think of them all as potential clients. In understanding your audience you’ll be ready for next week’s topic of client interaction.
Pro Tip: My animation client somehow got my contact information. I failed to inquire from whom. Always find out how someone found you. Know your audience.
Next in this article series is “Client Dealings and Contracts”. Stay tuned!