This past week- September 17th-23rd to be exact- I had my very first solo exhibition- Ideation: Imagining Children's Book Illustrations, in the Center for the Arts Building at Towson University. The art department accepts a few student spots in the building's Storage Space Gallery each semester, and this past spring, I showed the gallery coordinator my work, which was accepted for the fall's line-up of student solo exhibitions. It was an honor just to be accepted, but perhaps it was even more exciting to see my artwork in a public space.
I posted some flyers around the building advertising my exhibition, which was only a week long (it was scheduled this way so the coordinator could fit the other student week-long exhibits in the semester). I had a small opening reception Sunday, the night of the 17th, where my father helped me install my illustrations and sketchbooks and my mother showed up with pita chips, Mediterranean roast, and cupcakes. Other than my parents, my best friend Katie, her boyfriend Wes, and her mom Mrs. Sally showed up to cheer me on. It was a small gathering (as everyone I befriended in college had graduated that spring and were no longer around), but I was so grateful to have people that I am close with support me and my art.
The rest of the week, other students (and even a class of freshmen who came in to take notes!) visited the gallery to see my work. While my child-friendly book illustrations in watercolor, oil, and digital paint were what stood out on the walls, I also had set out my sketchbooks- which are primarily made via collage and have darker and zanier themes - for people to see. I left a feedback journal for people to write me notes after seeing the exhibition, and as a takeaway, I left a stack of my business cards.
At the end of it all, I was pleased that my work had its time hanging in a gallery space. Now I have some feedback to look back on for uplifting words, and even though I don't know if/when I will ever receive a solo exhibit again, I'm glad I had an opportunity to show my work and let people pick my brain.