A special benefit . . .

Who ever stops to think that his or her creative juices might flow to the concrete benefit of others? That has certainly not been common in my experience. Oh sure. I’ve had the occasional request for the donation of an image to a fundraiser of one sort or another. That, I’m afraid, is common to anyone occupying a retail establishment of almost any sort.

Spring Blossoms and an old stone barn.

Spring Blossoms and an old stone barn.

But, in a week, I have the opportunity to benefit a whole community through the sale of my photography.

A couple months ago, with the painful recognition that my gallery sales were abysmal, I decided to try and do something about it. I totally understood that in shops such as ours at Gallery 54 in Skaneateles, traffic and therefore sales are typically poor from January through April and even May. So, I wasn’t really beating-up on myself or anyone else. I just wanted to try for a better outcome . . . or maybe I should really say “a better income.”

Rudbeckia speciosa

Rudbeckia speciosa

At any rate, with the support of my fellow owner/artists at Gallery 54 I targeted the month of April for an experiment. I had wondered to myself as well as to others if it was possible to get people interested in coming out before summer is upon us. April is often linked to the beginning of Spring (even though we all know the first full day of spring is March 21) so what better excuse to get people out . . . we’d plan a gala of sorts to help everyone Spring into Spring.

As it happened, the First Friday of April falls on April 1st this year . . . April Fools Day. How could we miss with this combo? But, rest assured. This is not a prank.

First signs of spring at my house are these backyard tulips, planted in the woods.

First signs of spring at my house are these backyard tulips, planted in the woods.

So, we agreed to host a Springing into Spring opening, featuring a special collection of my flower and garden photography.
“Let’s take this a little further,” I told myself. “let’s offer something other than the standard fare, something other than photographs printed on paper and mounted in frames. The result has proven to be a labor of love. Right now, sitting on the counter in my office, are three boxes of images. Some are printed on canvas and wrapped around frames, others are printed and fused to plexiglass (wow!), some (panoramas) are printed on canvas and mounted/wrapped on slabs of wood, still others in printed traditionally (both color and black & white) but displayed in special wooden stands crafted by a fellow Gallery 54 owner, Fred Weisskopf. Nothing standard here.

This collection caught my interest in Manhattan.

This collection caught my interest in Manhattan.

As our target date grew closer, so did other ideas about how to make this event into a real celebration of spring. How could we make this meaningful to others beyond our Gallery 54 family? Immediately we agreed to use the April 1 opening to benefit a Skaneateles area charity. Quickly we settled on one, Laker Limo, whose transportation services benefit countless local people. It was agreed that 10% of all photo sales during the show would be donated to support Laker Limo’s services to our community.

What else could we do? Well, normally, our fellow Skaneateles retail owners and operators are petty much tied to their stores on First Friday evenings (in Skaneateles the First Friday Art Trail begins in May and runs the first Friday of each month through December) so we decided to reach out via the Chamber of Commerce to invite these folks to join us for the fellowship the evening promises.

Then, Terry Askey-Cole, ceramicist and fellow Gallery 54 owner (who I think really does know everyone in Skaneateles . . . just saying) had the idea to invite Skaneateles’ own, Anyela’s Winery to join us. So, Anyela’s will be serving their marvelous wines all evening.

Remember the date and make plans right now to join us:

Friday, April 1 from 5 to 8 pm

                                        Gallery 54, 54 Genesee St., Skaneateles