For eighteen months I have created, opened, managed, and owned my first and only art gallery in far East Texas. No real vacations, no employees other than an occasional shop sitter, and few work days off. I’ve seen more than a hundred artists come and go as part of the consignment sellers. We’ve made more money than I’d expected and certainly more total money than most artists in our part of the woods would have imagined. Like any new business we’ve made almost, but not quite enough to be self-sustaining. However, we’ve done alright enough that I’ve been able to make up the difference from personal savings in order to stay open. You might ask, why would you do that, and my answer is simple….I’ve always wanted a venue for the vast number of artists I know to have a place to exhibit….sort of a bucket list thing. No, I’ve no plans to kick the bucket, but I am at retirement age so from some people’s perspective it just seems nonsensical to do this. Not to me.
What I was, though, was burned out and I was keenly aware that it was showing in my daily performance in the gallery. Enter Lisa.
Lisa Casey Perry is my cousin and with her husband David recently moved to Marshall where she was born and our parents grew as children. For the most part we both spent the majority of life living in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex, but as Fate would have it, I moved here twenty years ago and they came about 5 months ago. Lisa listened to my moaning and longing to make a final decision about keeping the gallery open. I struggled with needing a break, fresh inspiration, time to work on my own art, and my commitment to the artists I represent in addition to wanting to make a final decision regarding the destiny of Gingko Leaf Gallery. Early one morning I awoke to an email from Lisa with a proposal. She explained how she had some ideas that I might consider and let me tell you, I read about two sentences and knew I was all in.
Trust. That’s the hardest thing I had to deal with. That proverbial letting go to allow someone to come in and take care of my “baby”. I mean, who could EVER nurture your child as good as the actual mother? Well, I gave her permission to do her “thing” and it’s been an amazing thing to watch. We are twenty-one days in and today I stood at the gallery door and cried. My gallery felt alive and new again to me. I felt good about everything, even things that I might not have ever considered I was happy with her decisions. Ideas and new approaches were just brimming out of her. The biggest irony is that Lisa has never worked retail before. However, she was raised with culture, art, music, literature, education, and all the personality of a rock star. She’s lifted GLG and me from the doldrums and I couldn’t be happier. Our website will now include a shopping cart, shipping, and upcoming events. We’ll be able to sell more online and reach a broader audience. She’s quite “crafty”, too, and will begin teaching a craft class once a month. Her job performance is beyond my wildest dreams and the big bonus is that people LIKE her. Of course she isn’t burned out like I was, but after March she’ll be coming in once or twice a week and we’re seeing that with the ideas implemented there is the distinct possibility we will remain open longer that anticipated. It took me letting go of the reins and allowing her to run with it. Now when she has an idea I say, do the research and get back to me. Wow, that was the most freeing experience I’ve ever known.
So, trust is huge….no, MONUMENTAL for me. I have found out that sometimes letting go enables you to receive and man, have I been the recipient of a true and gifted blessing. Lisa is the official Assistant Manager (because she’s got the nametag to prove it) and I’m grateful for her enthusiastic embracing of my little project of the “Best Art Gallery in the Upper East Side of Texas (awarded by County Line Magazine for 2015 & 2016) and has caught the vision I had several years ago. I’m glad she’s really home again.