What are some of your first memories of feeling passionately towards the arts?
Pam: I loved “arts” growing up but the first time I felt *PASSION* - like, yelled-my-first-curse-word passion, was in high school (I have never told this story). You know how a lot of people have those amazing nurturing art teachers who saw their potential stories? I have whatever the opposite of that is, but I think it had a similar effect on me. I had taken all the art classes there were and wanted to take a senior level class. So, the school created one for me where I would spend one period a day painting a mural in a corridor between two parts of the campus. I worked - what in my memory feels like - all year on this giant school mural and a few weeks before school was out, I came in and my art teacher had painted it all white, it was gone. I think I may have fallen to my knees (laughing about this now) and I ran into her class room and demanded to know why and she said “the perspective was off.” I yelled my first curse at her, which I can't even remember what it was, but I distinctly remember really surprising myself. Anyway, I think my curator identity of being a protector of art kicked in that day.
Stay Home Gallery began as a private home, to eventually become an immersive residency space and gallery. What was the catalyst for this transformation?
Kaylan: The pandemic was truly the catalyst for this project, combined with my family moving and us wanting to preserve the home and studio to be used by artists. Pam and I were inspired to start curating together when the original lock-down in March 2020 began. We curated 12 weeks of virtual shows with themes that responded to the very real experience of being in isolation and all the fears we had. It was so healing to put that energy into a project and when the potential idea for SHG to turn into a brick and mortar happened a few months later, we knew we had to try it out. We loved working together and wanted to continue supporting artists!
How do you wish to make a socially conscious impact on the art world with the artists that you showcase?
Pam: I think of my goals on more of a micro level I suppose, I feel more motivated by the artists than the art world as a whole. We choose to showcase art by women and non-binary artists specifically and though I hope the rest of the art world catches on, what really matters to me is introducing the incredible artists we get to work with to as many people as possible. I hope to be something that artists can point to and define as a step in the right direction in their journey and I hope we make a difference for everyone we work with.
What do you find most rewarding about the curation process?
Kaylan: We work with so many amazing artists and love curating for the space! There is nothing better than seeing a show come together and getting to experience work in person when we view so much of it online. I think one of the most rewarding things is just being surprised by the work and by what we accomplished each time a new exhibition comes together.
Pam: I love so many parts of this, but one of my favorites is to tell an artist that their work sold. Because I’m an artist as well, when I hear that someone bought a piece of mine I just feel so excited and valued. It’s just a big confidence booster so I love when I get the opportunity to spread that feeling.
What are some of the challenges that you face?
Pam: Shipping during COVID is getting trickier, especially international shipping. With shipping delays we have to make sure we give the artists extra time, which means getting calls for art out sooner, it’s really just a lot of thinking 6 months - 1 year ahead at all times, while maintaining and balancing the day to day.
In terms of the submission and /or exhibition process, are there any areas of improvement that artists should be aware of?
Kaylan: Never ship with packing peanuts! Clearly label your artwork! Try to use the best possible photos of your artwork to submit as you are able. And if you are planning to send artwork in a frame, please submit a photo with that frame so we can jury it with the full end vision in mind.
Do you have future plans for Stay Home Gallery beyond what it is today?
Kaylan: Right now we are loving the groove we are in! We are booked out at least a year in advance for our residency and facilitate 3-4 exhibitions a year in our space. Some big dreams include adding more resources to the facility and possibly going to some art fairs together to showcase our represented artists after this pandemic is finally over! We are working on building out a sustainable curatorial network so we can bring in guest curators we trust to work on new exhibitions for us. Maybe a second location one day? Who knows. We love keeping ourselves open to new possibilities and riding the wave of the present moment.