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Lessons Learned from an Extremely Ambitious Art Project


by Bryan Embry 25 Feb 2010

Guest blogger Bryan Embry is the owner of Ross Akard Gallery. Or should I say projects? Sometime before Christmas – around Dec. 12 – half way through the build out of my new gallery Ross Akard Gallery, I’m talking with a couple of my peers at an art opening and decide that I’m going to […]

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Guest blogger Bryan Embry is the owner of Ross Akard Gallery.

Or should I say projects? Sometime before Christmas – around Dec. 12 – half way through the build out of my new gallery Ross Akard Gallery, I’m talking with a couple of my peers at an art opening and decide that I’m going to take advantage of my location in the Fairmont Dallas and hold a satellite fair to the Dallas Art Fair. Now, at the time, I realized that the Dallas Art fair was two months away, but my peers who had previously showed at Basal Switzerland and had offered to help (showing in a fair and putting on a fair are light worlds away from each other). We decided that, although it was short timing, it could be done. So let me stop and say … we did pull off the show, and it was in my opinion a great looking show and the galleries involved got great exposure for next to nothing. Could it have been better? Of course, but it would have required a larger investment from every gallery involved, and that wasn’t the vision for year 1. So thank you very much to all the galleries for your patience and your support (Boyd Simmons, Cameron Gallery, Dahlia Woods, Galleri Urbane, Mighty Fine Arts, Rising Gallery, RO2 and Select Art)

But I digress …

So with my grand opening a month away and the Dallas Art Fair a month away, I am approached to help an event in North Dallas that had a need for a curator to come in and help solidify the Savor The Arts event. So, of course, I agree, mainly because two of my favorite artists/friends – Michael Ledoux and Shane Pennington – are showing and I would do almost anything they asked me to do.

So just to put it in prospective, I have a grand opening on Jan. 21, Savor the Arts Feb. 4 and the Satellite show Feb. 5-7. Can you say full plate?

Would I do it again? Yes, emphatically YES!

The reason for committing to a chaotic schedule is simple it is good for the arts in Dallas and Dallas artists. Even If I fail at something but it propels the arts and artist in Dallas, it is a win in my book.

Main lesson: Organization is key

Second lesson: Use your team. Namely: HAS Events (Hamilton Sneed), The wonderful Lauren Allen and the amazing Kristi Cameron (Cameron Gallery). Because when problems arise, and they will, you need a team you know and can count on. One that doesn’t need to ask directions they just go!

Third: Space the events out so you have time to enjoy them! Most importantly, it gives you time to fine tune all the details so that nothing is over looked and left ’til the last minute.

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  • Byran,
    Thank you to you and all the other people involved for putting this art fair together. I know that there were some hard spots and unexpected issues, but the end result was a great looking show. I really wish someone would have filmed the whole thing. It would have made a great documentary film.

    Can’t wait until next year.