Gallery Owner Dana Wiley

On this episode, host Rodney Veals talks with Dana Wiley, owner of the Dana L. Wiley Gallery, about how her love for all things art led her to a career handling the business side of things.

Show Notes

Inspired By – Dana Wiley

 [00:00:00] Well, hello, everyone. I’m Rodney Veal, the host of Rodney Veal’s Inspired By podcast. And today I’m having a going to have a fantastic conversation with Dana Wiley, who is the namesake of the owner of the Dana Wiley Gallery that has a location at Front Street Art Studios and at The gather by ghost light space in the arcade.

Rodney Veal: There’s a day in a while, the gallery space there, [00:01:00] Dana is amazing and super cool. And I’ve had the good fortune of being able to have my work shown in her gallery and also do a little dancing. So anytime that can happen, I’m always on board and someone who allows it to happen is just super cool. So she’s one of the coolest people in town.

So Dana, welcome.

Dana Wiley: Oh, Thank you so much for having me, Rodney. This is super exciting. I’m a little nervous. I won’t lie, but I’m, I’m, I’m so happy to be here. Thank you.

Rodney Veal: Well, you shouldn’t be nervous. We talk all the time. It’s all good. It’s just a conversation. It’s no big deal.

Dana Wiley: It’s just Rodney. Normally I’m on the other side of the microphone, so.

Rodney Veal: Yeah, this is super cool. I love it. I love it. Data let’s, it feels like a, this is your life moment, but it’s like, go back to the beginning. Like what, what was your life trajectory? Like. Before the [00:02:00] gallery happened, like as, as, as that, that now is taking over your life in so many ways, but in such a good way.

So what was your life like before the gallery? What was your life going to be before this gallery? So kind of curious.

Dana Wiley: Well, yeah, I mean, I, I really started out I, I married at a young age and, you know, raise my children and then at a certain point, I knew as I had known all along that I wanted to get into art and as a child, I always gravitated towards that.

I loved it. I mean, it didn’t really matter what it was, whether it was visual or performing or, Or music or whatever that was, it just was, it was just in, in my, you know, heart. It was in my soul. So I knew that that’s where I needed to go and I felt like I was in a good place to do that. I kind of had seen, I’d gotten to a certain age where it was like, wait a second, I, I am really not getting any younger here.

[00:03:00] What am I waiting on? And I, I could kind of see that. You know, I had gotten further and further away from that goal. And I was kind of unsure how I was going to make that happen, to be quite honest with you. So I just decided to take one step at a time and enroll in school as I had, you know, really always thought that I should.

And I started taking a couple of classes at Sinclair and, and then graduated and then found myself at Wright state and graduated with my, you know, bachelor’s in fine art. And I. I can be honest, wasn’t quite sure what the next step was and, and then having opportunity to share a studio space down at front street.

And at that point I was 2017, I graduated in, in, in 2016. And I had taken probably a year and a half to just kind of focus on my work. Thinking, okay, you know, I might go and try to get my master’s that seemed to be the logical next step. But then [00:04:00] I. You know, I got down here and for me it was about I missed that community connection, you know, that connection to the other artists and bouncing off ideas and all of that and I thought Front Street would be, you know, would kind of fill that void.

So I you know, just really kind of focused on my work, tried to just dive into the community and was given the opportunity to curate a show. And Rodney, I just really loved that. I, I felt like I could immerse myself into you know, the arts and the arts community here in Dayton. So that’s kind of where it all started.

Rodney Veal: I love it. I love the fact that you, and I can speak from experience so that you are so caring and so compassionate, like passionate about the presentation of the artist’s artwork. It’s almost like having someone who’s like, I’ve got your back. You know, it was like you, you just, I think that’s a part of your personality as well, that you just, [00:05:00] you are very caring, nurturing person.

And I think that kind of helps. Do you think that that, so that notion of, of. Being excited. What is it about like putting up a gallery show that gets you? I mean, cause you are really into it. I mean, I’m like, you had, you did, you had questions and ideas bigger than mine. I was like, Oh no, just, I it’s hard. I, okay.

You really, you were more concerned and compassionate about my work than I was.

Dana Wiley: I mean, I, I think that it is, there is a. A responsibility, you know, I, I do feel that responsibility when I have an exhibition and I have artists and I do. Want to be able to showcase their art in the very best way that I know how and that I can and so when I have an artist and I, you know, I try to talk to them and we really [00:06:00] try to plan the show and for me, it’s my way of staying creative as well.

It’s the planning of the show and putting it together and the placement of the pieces and all those things, all those different elements that I believe are so crucial in presenting that. Artwork creating that environment that, that is, you know, it does, it’s all about facilitating that relationship when the viewer comes in and gets to see the artwork, you know, that’s, that’s, I feel like that’s really important.

And so, you know, I am in love with when people come into the gallery and they’re, they’re a reaction, there’s a reaction, you know, sometimes it’s great. Maybe sometimes it’s not so great. I don’t know. But I, I love, I love that. I love it when people can look at a piece of artwork and they can see it and that they have the opportunity to have a reaction, whatever that may be.

And so I, I do feel that, that sense of duty there. Yeah. So [00:07:00] I, I mean, I, I don’t know. Maybe it’s my own. You know, just my own thing, like, that’s just what I do, but I, I do, I do find that important, and I, I think in visual arts here in Dayton, we have, as you know, Rodney, we have so many wonderful, great, gifted artists that have really Lovely.

And I know that you do too. Just dedicated and devoted their lives to this art form. And so it is yeah, it is a responsibility. I mean, and I get to, this is, this is just sort of how I can be of service in the community. It’s something that I can do to give back. I kind of felt I wasn’t ready to, to go out as an artist.

I didn’t feel like I had found my voice yet. So, you know, while I am doing this. And showcasing other people’s art, you know, I am in the background, you know, trying to work on my own and, and still [00:08:00] trying to make it during to have that connection. Cause you, I think you, you have to, you know, that just kind of, it’s, it’s just so important.

Rodney Veal: Yeah, it is. It’s so important because you, you know, like you said, you, you you’re, I love that you’re saying you’re like, you’re finding your voice. Meanwhile, you’re helping other people amplify and display their voice, which has got to be, it’s kind of in many ways, it’s, it’s kind of like a Kind of a, a private sort of boost and pick me up to be in other artists worlds and visions and to inform your own.

So yeah, it’s gotta be pretty cool. I mean, cause we, as a viewer see it, but we don’t, I mean, you’re, you’re touching it’s tactile. It’s considering so many other things. And so I think that’s really cool. Yeah.

Dana Wiley: Oh yeah, absolutely. You know, I, I am very, very fortunate that I get to go and connect with other artists where I can go into their studio and I can see where they [00:09:00] make art and I can hear their stories and I can, I, you know, I get to benefit from their experience.

So yeah, I’m, I’m just extremely fortunate. This just, like I said, when I had this opportunity it just kind of clicked, you know, it just made so much sense. And I knew kind of when I was very young, I knew that this, it was just always this vision in my head, this kind of, you know, trajectory that I was going to be going.

This in this way, and so I I just yeah, it just made so much sense for me you know, it’s it’s not to say that there haven’t there hasn’t been struggles certainly challenges things like that You know when you’re you’re kind of out there in the community your name So, you know, there’s really nowhere to hide, you know, we’ve I mean, I’ve certainly made my share of mistakes for sure.

Rodney Veal: I think, I mean, [00:10:00] Dana, we’ve all in this journey, when your name is out there, I totally, I totally get it.

Dana Wiley: Yes. Yes. As you know,

Rodney Veal: That’s a real thing. Yeah, it’s a real thing. I mean, that’s a lot riding on it. So, I mean, yeah, but you handle the pressure really well. I mean, I, I get the sense that you are, you’re, you’re very grounded and that’s, you know, it’s, it’s not it’s so steady and it’s so grounded and it’s, but it’s just, I can, that warmth of like, okay, I know she gets it.

I know she’s, she’s thinking five steps ahead of me as an artist, because she’s thinking about all those things that you just talked about. Plus what the artist is thinking about. And then I’m kind of curious about this one part of it, because A lot of people, you know, think about a gallery, they think it’s, it’s, it’s glamorous work.

And I, I kind of want to, can you just spill the glamour? There’s no glamour to this [00:11:00] putting up artwork. Talk, talk about that anti glamour moment.

Dana Wiley: You know, it, that is, that’s hilarious that you bring it up because I remember when I first started, I was, I was putting up the work and, and then I was looking around and I was like, Oh, Yeah, the floors need to be swept and mopped and, you know, so it was, there was a moment where I had, you know, the bucket and the mop and I’m, I’m, you know, I’m cleaning the floor and I wanted to, I wanted to take an image, a photo in that moment of, you know, the glamorous life of a gallery owner.

It’s not, it really isn’t. It’s just, you know, you kind of wear a lot of different hats and you kind of do what needs to be done. And in that moment. The floor need to be scrubbed. So that’s what you do. You know, you, you’re, it really is, you’re kind of looking around and assessing the situation and you’re just trying to figure out, okay, what, what can I do?

What, what’s the next thing? There have been many late nights. You know, there are times [00:12:00] when you’re kind of fighting the clock a little bit. And so you’re, you’re putting in at least 12, 14, sometimes 16 hour days trying to make sure that you’re The, the, the, the exhibition, exhibition works, you know again, there’s that responsibility, so you, you just kind of have to put it in, put the work in you know, and yeah, so there’s a lot of things about it.

That it’s just about making sure that the exhibition you’re doing your best for the artists and for the community. But yeah, no, it’s not, not necessarily, it’s not glamorous. It’s definitely not glamorous. Yeah, that, cause

Rodney Veal: I, cause I could see a lot of people thinking, you know, that image that, you know, they see in media and they see, Oh, look, it’s the pristine white box gallery.

And we’re going to dress really cool and funky and avant garde. I’m like, no, you’re not. You’re going to be, you’re going to be in some jeans and a t shirt mopping up. It’s like, good luck to you. [00:13:00] I love that. So I, cause I, cause I think that’s kind of important, especially for our listeners, because you know, the, the show is about, you know, I always think about the podcast and the art show.

It’s about showing the world, the art world, all the aspects of it, and even the behind the scenes. And so, you know, what, what, what would be the most surprising behind the scenes thing that happens in a gallery that a lot of people don’t realize that would, might kind of surprise them.

Dana Wiley: The most surprising thing.

So I think for me, it probably is. I think not necessarily is it surprising, I guess maybe it’s more the most challenging thing for me is how much you have to kind of be out and maybe that’s just because I’m the owner, but that there is so many different hats that you wear, you know, there is so many different things that you have to do.

You are your own accountant, you are your own I. [00:14:00] You have to do your own promotion, your own marketing, all of these things. You know, I don’t think that when I started, I realized how many different areas that I would have to become you know, an expert in, or at least have some sort of knowledge I, I think that I really.

Didn’t quite understand all of the different areas that I would have to become skillful in, especially, you know, I think when I started, I didn’t think I was going to have to be front and center. I thought I was going to be behind the scenes. I thought I was going to be just hanging the work and I would be talking to the artists and it would be, but there are, there are a lot of moments when you are out front, such as today, when you’re, when you have to really talk about.

The gallery and and talk about what you do. And, and I think that that was probably even though that may be a no brainer for other people. For me, it was, it was sort of, I think, startling. Maybe I just didn’t, I didn’t think about that. So Yeah. I don’t know if that really answers your question, Robbie, but that, [00:15:00] I think was the most challenging for me.

Like the,

Rodney Veal: like how out front, I mean, you, you said you, you kind of know you would be, but not, I mean, this is, you are all over town, I mean, I mean, but it’s, but I understand it, I think that’s why that’s like. You know, I love having this conversation with you because I understand just how much work it takes for that, that part that people don’t consider, which, you know, about, about, about a gallery space.

And, you know, one of the things is, you know, it’s really interesting. I always think we, we’ve talked about this, the ecosystem or the arts, especially in this community, we don’t have a lot of gallery space. That are, you know, privately owned gallery spaces for showing presenting work. What’s that? I mean, I mean, we can name a handful of gallery spaces like you and Ed Dixon.

I’m losing names on the others, [00:16:00] but they, I do know they exist. So do not write letters saying, how dare you forget us. But there’s Yeah, I know you exist. I’m aware. But there’s, but there’s, but there’s a, I think it’s a vital, it’s a necessary part of the ecosystem. And I like, do you think that people don’t understand the purpose and the role of a gallery other than opening night and there’s wine and free crackers?

Jeez. Not that I said that as a condemnation.

Dana Wiley: Yeah, I mean, for sure. We, we do our share of wine and crackers. But I do think it’s that it was one of the reasons why I thought that this, it was one of those moments where it did click because I, you know, even though I, I only maybe dipped my toe into the community at that point, I could see that there wasn’t, you know, there wasn’t a lot of spaces where you could present the work.

In what, in the way that I would present the work, you know, there are a lot of studios [00:17:00] and a lot of artists in their studios and the work is, is fantastic, but the the work is kind of, you know, it’s everywhere and it’s on the ground and, you know, it, it just needed a space and so I did feel like there was a bit of a void here in Dayton and I do think that people, people who, especially people who may not know a lot about the arts they come into this space and they may not understand I Okay, so what, what, what, what is your role here?

What are you doing? You know, is this your work? That’s what I hear quite, quite often is. Is this your work? And then I, you know, I explain, No, I’m just, I’m hosting this artist. This is my gallery. And, you know, I give them the whole spiel. So I think a lot of people didn’t quite understand that. And then, it’s not that artists can’t, certainly can’t exhibit their own work.

That, that happens all the time. But what I feel like if. So I’ve never had, personally, I’ve never had an exhibition, but what I would, I, what I think I would feel is, listen, I just want the artists [00:18:00] to focus on their work, focus on creating, and, and not have to worry about, okay, do I have to get printed materials?

Do I have to do this? Do I have to do that? Do I have to, you know, how am I going to hang this? That’s my role. That’s, that’s, that’s a responsibility that I can take on. I can take on the promotion. I can take on the marketing. I can take on these other things because again, Rodney, as you know, when you’re an artist or when, when you have your own business, you, you have to do all of those things.

And so for me, this is just, again, another way for me to be able to kind of be of service. I can, Thank you. I can take on all those kinds of responsibilities in that role. So I think that that’s why, I think it’s important you know, like you said, there’s only a handful of galleries around here.

You know, I don’t know if there needs to be more, if there needs to be less, I’m not really sure, but I do think that it’s important to be able to have these spaces where the community can come in, and it’s not just that [00:19:00] we show the art. But we talk about art, you know, we have our panel discussions, and we have our art talks, and you know, we have our workshop.

So people can come into the space, not only see the work, but they can experience it. They can hear the artist talk about their artwork. You know, there’s all those elements that we provide as well. So I think that that’s maybe, you know, Why, why we have our galleries, you know?

Rodney Veal: No, I totally get that. I, I, I totally agree.

And I, and I actually understand that. I mean, it’s like this notion of, cause I, I, you and I both meet lots of artists and I meet a lot of artists in different realms, the, it is the daunting task. It’s daunting for some people to stand up and talk about their work. It is daunting to be that front person there.

There’s anxiety. I mean, you’re talking about. Introverts, extroverts, you know, you know, we talk about that. And so a lot of artists are very introverted. They’re [00:20:00] very shy. They’re not, they’re not, it’s almost crippling to the ability to actually get to the place and you’re providing a safe space for them to kind of, whoo.

 And so there’s another thing with people when I joke about people coming for the wine and cheese and [00:21:00] crackers, which you do provide but I, I, I’m kind of curious about that people have this stigma about the inaccessibility of galleries. Like, it’s like, Oh, it’s daunting.

Rodney Veal: Like it’s almost, I don’t know what that is. So you don’t, you don’t, you know what I’m saying? Like people get a little intimidated.

Dana Wiley: I think so. I think that’s the word. Intimidated. I, I think they’re, they’re, they’re hesitant to ask any questions because there seems to be this, this notion that, excuse me.

There, there’s, there’s an art speak, there’s, there’s jargon, there’s, there’s things like that that they probably think that they need to know, you know? And, and so I, I, yeah, I’ve had people who come in and you can tell they’re tentative. They don’t, they don’t know whether they can approach. They don’t, they don’t know what to say.

They’re, they’re, they’re, they’re just, they’re a little uncomfortable. So I, you know, I can’t get to, certainly I can’t get to everybody, but I do try to. Have the opportunity to create the [00:22:00] opportunity for people to come in and talk or ask questions and, you know, just have a kind of a relaxed atmosphere.

I, I, I hope, and I, this has never been what, and maybe I should, Rodney, but I really try to have it’s, it’s a kind of a low sale, you know, there’s not a whole lot of, I’m not going around and asking people if they want to buy, you know, I’m not, it’s low pressure. So for me, it really is about having an educational element.

Being able to provide that space where people can come in and maybe know a little bit about Know a little bit more about art. And and this is my whole thing. Why art matters? Why does it matter? you know and and and and have that discussion with them because you know, Maybe I I understand that not everybody has the passion about art that we in the arts community have, you know, I, I get that.

So, it’s, [00:23:00] it’s really about establishing the value. And I think that’s another reason why we, we try very hard to have the type of exhibitions that we have. It all has to be about the art. It all has to be you know, what, what works, what, what we feel. So I have to, you know, I have, when I go into people’s studios and we’re discussing the, the potential to have an exhibition, I have to, I have to look at the artwork and there has to be a connection for me, you know, so so that it starts right there.

And, you know, I have gone into people’s studios and, There isn’t a connection and I would be doing them a disservice if, if I said, oh sure, let’s have an, an exhibition anyway. But, so it starts right there, I think, and then Putting, putting these shows together and putting them out or putting it out on the walls.

And then, just again, you’re, you’re trying to create the [00:24:00] value. That’s, that, I, I do think that there’s a whole discussion and maybe not today, but a whole discussion about the value of visual arts. And and why it’s so important to have that here in our community. So for me, there’s a lot of different, you know There’s a lot of different things.

There’s a lot of different reasons. I feel like you You know, there is I don’t want to say anybody puts any pressure on me it’s it’s it’s the pressure that I put on myself, but it is important to have You know, to have a respectable show.

Rodney Veal: No, I, the thing is, it is, this is, this is the place to have that conversation about the value, which I love because, no, because, well, because I’m just saying like Dana, this is because that’s, I think people don’t understand, like there’s, it has to be an understanding that, that this.

Having art and culture is a reflection of our humanity, our collective [00:25:00] consciousness, our connectivity. And so to have all of these different voices manifest themselves, whether through be painting or collage work or assemblage, photography, multimedia, whatever, art, music, it doesn’t, it all, it all comes together to kind of point and showcase and highlight, you know, that we, you know, the reason why we get up in the morning.

It, I mean, it’s, it, you know, and so that there’s another, another value proposition, other than I get up to go to a job to make a paycheck, here’s another, maybe another reason why to get up in the morning that I get to go and embrace and experience art. I mean. Sounds lofty, but it’s not lofty. I mean, I think it’s, you know, that’s why we, we were artists with cave as cavemen and women painting on walls.

I mean, that’s, there’s a reason we wanted to say something. We had stuff to say. So one of the things I, I love the fact that you, like you, you’re, [00:26:00] that The personal connection. Well, really, I love that you say that because I think that that’s important. You could just, you could, you could showcase any artist you like just for the sake of showing them, but does that kind of, that doesn’t make it special.

That doesn’t make it, I hate the word to use the word curate because that’s not what it is. It’s just, you can sense when you walk in the space, like there’s love here. There’s a love for the process. There’s a love for the artist. I mean, and I, I sense, I know I sense that. And I mean, I, I’m lucky to be able to say that from my own personal experience.

And so that, so that, that that’s gotta be extremely, I mean, cause it is like you figured out the mission, your, the mission of what you’re doing fits exactly who you are versus it’s not, you know what I’m saying? Like, that’s gotta be extremely satisfying because that’s a lot of people don’t realize you got to match your.[00:27:00]

Mission and what you do as a match who you are.

Dana Wiley: Well, it, it, yeah. Otherwise that’s exhausting. You know, that’s a lot of extra energy that you’re putting into something. So I, I do. And thank you. I mean, I, I really do appreciate that, Rodney, you know, sometimes you can’t really, you can’t, you know, you get so close to things that you can’t really see, you know, am I, am I.

Projecting that that mission. Am I doing that? You know, sometimes you just, you kind of don’t know, but it is about and I don’t know, I, I don’t want to sit here and, and, and, and project that I figured it out because I can tell you, Rodney, I am still. You know, I, I’m still getting my feet wet. I’m still learning so much.

But I can tell you Really from my gut it has to be about the art It has to [00:28:00] you have to have that connection with it There have been I would say many times or not many times there have been so many times that I am I am I am in love with the artwork that I have in the exhibition. And I know that when there are, when there have been moments where it doesn’t feel authentic, wow, that’s just, it’s just, it’s just not good.

It doesn’t feel good. It’s just heavy. It’s just not. And I know that, you know, I’ve, I’ve talked to so many people along the way and there is this sort of I guess philosophy that, you know, Dana you are a retail gallery. You need to make money. You need to make money. And I, I agree wholeheartedly. Yeah.

I like a paycheck just like anybody else. But I, I feel like I, you know, I don’t know. If, if, if I, if I just decide, [00:29:00] okay, I am chasing the money, I’m chasing the artists that, you know, are, have a certain, you know I don’t know what you want to call it anyway. I, I feel like that it’s just not going to work.

It, I, you know what, I firmly believe that if you, if you start off, I think connecting to a mission and staying true to that mission, I think. Those things will happen. The, you know, excuse me, the, it will be successful. Financially, maybe, maybe not. But, I do think that people will come into the gallery, and they will have the opportunity to have that reaction.

And in that I’m successful. So I, you know, I think I, I don’t know. I mean, I’ve had this conversation with Gary and she was my, my business partner here at front street. And we’ve had hundreds of [00:30:00] conversations about this. And we both, you know, we disagree on, on other things, but on this, we can both agree.

It, it, it starts with the art. Well,

Rodney Veal: then what I love about that is you talk about conversations. I don’t think people realize that artists, we sit around and talk a lot about art and art making in the art world. I mean, we really do. Yeah, it is. I mean, it’s like. No, you don’t understand. Like, I mean, I think people do really understand for, I think that’s, to me, I, that’s a nice thing about this podcast is this demystification, this kind of a, like, you know, pull back the curtain.

And so that understanding you gotta have this dialogue. You can, you, you gotta also have the. the, the, the, especially in these very fraught social times. And that’s my only political comment we’ll make ever that you can just, you can, you can respectfully disagree, but there’s a baseline agreement, the [00:31:00] art.

You know, and so I think that that’s, that’s important for people to know. And I think that’s really important for young art makers to understand that you’re entering in a real, like talk to people, explain to people why it’s important for an artist to establish a relationship with other folks like yourself, gallery owners in the art ecosystem.

Why is it important to have that kind of connective thread?

Dana Wiley: Well, you know, I, I would say for those who are are new in our community, I would say a couple of things. One is absolutely connect, maybe even more so than with a gallery. Maybe I shouldn’t say that, but, but I think it’s with the art community, and the galleries are part of the arts community.

But it is, it’s, it’s extremely important to be able to have these conversations. I [00:32:00] value these conversations that I have with other artists. They’re, they have a wealth of knowledge. They have so much experience. And not only that, they just have the understand that when you first start out, you don’t know a lot and, and that’s okay.

It’s fine. You’re, you’re learning. There’s this journey that you’re going through and you’re. You’re, you’re gathering all this information and really just, just stick with it. All you have to do is one foot in front of the other. That’s it. You know, just get in the studio. Just make a piece of art. That’s all.

I feel like that’s what you know, that’s the advice that I was given. Just don’t, don’t worry about 10 steps ahead. Just get involved in an arts community in a studio if you can and and connect with these other artists. And I think that you’re going to learn a lot and you’re going to find that there’s opportunities that you would not have, you would not have known about or you’re not in the community.

And I think what the gallery does for those is, this is what we did this last summer as I connected, [00:33:00] sort of collaborated with Wright State University. We had an exhibition that was called Bridge Connect and Support. And it was all about having an exhibition with either, like, seniors or people who had just graduated or some alumni from Wright State that we could introduce them to that gallery experience.

Introduce them to Front Street and the arts community. You know, that, that is very important. I think it is a responsibility that we, who are a little bit more established in the community, need to remember to reach back out and bring others along and, and, and bring them into, you know, into our community.

So I, yeah, yeah, I think that that’s really important.

Rodney Veal: That’s super cool. So one of, one of the things we always ask people in a podcast is about pursuing this career that they, or this pathway, I wouldn’t say career, because it just sounds so corporate. Oh, it’s like [00:34:00] the pathway, the path, the path. What, what, what, what would be your advice to someone who wants to, you know, they’ve, they’ve.

You know, they’re, they’re in the art scene and they’re, and they’re not quite sure where their footing is, but they kind of sense that they could be a gallery, not necessarily owner, but someone who may be a gallerist or a curator, what would be your advice to them about curating? Because that’s, that’s a special skill.

I mean, I feel like, you know, and you. What would you tell them?

Dana Wiley: I would, I would say to them, maybe you know, maybe volunteer at a gallery, at an art gallery. Maybe, you know if it’s a student, maybe do an internship if they’re interested in, in maybe that type of, of work. I, I can’t say that I necessarily, I mean, well, no, I’m very wrong about that.

I did an internship at DVAC at the time it was DVAC and I did learn a lot [00:35:00] there working you know, I did everything, you know, from hanging to sweeping to, you know, all of it. And. It was a great experience, and I, I really appreciated, I learned a lot. So I would say anybody who is maybe thinking they want to go into that field, I would, I would say definitely volunteer.

I mean, I, I don’t know an art gallery out there who wouldn’t appreciate some extra help, and to be able to, you know, just share their experience. So, yeah, that’s what I would. I would say, I mean, I think you have to sort of and this is true, I think of anything, in any field, in any line of work, you know, you just kind of have to search your soul and, and see if this is, you know, the, the right path for you.

And, And sometimes, you know, so, so yeah, that’s, that’s what I would say. Get into an art gallery volunteer.

Rodney Veal: That’s super cool. So I’m going to, I, I’m going to ask this question because I [00:36:00] know it’s probably unfair to ask, it’s not like, like picking your favorite child but What has there been a, a, a gallery experience that you’ve had at like an exhibition that for personal reasons that really just spoke to you, you were just like, wow, this is pretty cool.

Is there anything, is there one? I mean, as I said, it’s like. Like I said, picking your favorite child, which I totally, you know, I

Dana Wiley: totally get it. Oh my goodness. Yeah. We’ve had, we’ve had so many and you know what? I find myself every time we put up a new show thinking, Oh man, this is, this is one of my favorites.

This, this might be my favorite. You know, I’m always like, it’s always like, I love this. I’m getting the, the gallery ready. We have an opening this Friday. And so I’m in love again, I’m in love with this next exhibition. But, but to really answer your question, I, it, [00:37:00] it was the Alzheimer’s fundraiser that we did.

And that was such an experience to be able to host that. We connected with an artist, Karen Fisher. She, she’s local. She also lives in the Denver area as well. And we were able to connect probably about half a dozen artists into these memory care facilities working with the residents there that were living with dementia, some form of dementia or the Alzheimer’s.

And I, we were able to just kind of have the artists sit with with the residents there, and they You know, we’re able to make a connection with them, having them create a watercolor, and just talking with them, and, and in those moments, it felt for the artists that these residents were able to have a little bit more.

There was something that happened and I don’t know, I can’t explain it, but there was [00:38:00] something that happened where the residents, their language increased their, they, they kind of came out of it. I would say, you know, where they, they were, there was something about the process of painting. There was something about the, the, the connection that they had with the artist across from them.

There was something in those moments that kind of drew them out of whatever this is. And they, and, and we were able to kind of take all of these watercolors and then invite, and as you know, we were able to invite other artists to come in and pick out one of these watercolors and do a pairing. And then we were able to display those pairings and, and have a fundraiser.

And it was, for me, I, It was a profound moment because I was able to, again, connect with so many people who had, unfortunately, had this experience with a family member or somebody that they knew that had [00:39:00] Alzheimer’s or dementia or some form of dementia, something, and And it, and it really made me understand how pervasive this disease is in our community.

So for us to be able to do something to, to give back in that way was, was amazing. And, and, and from a personal, you know, from my own personal experience at the time, my mother had dementia. And so we were, we were dealing with this very thing in our own family. So of course when I was talking to Karen, What has it been four or five years ago when we when we first talked about this?

It was an it was just again. It was that click click click Yeah, that made so much sense. And and we had so many people that helped support us during that just just so many people who L their talents and their time because it was again, it was a connection for them. So that probably had to be, it has to be, [00:40:00] you know, certainly from a personal perspective, it was maybe the most profound.


Rodney Veal: Yes, I do remember. Yes, because I, yeah. Do you remember submitting a work? Yes.

Dana Wiley: Yes. Yes. I do

Rodney Veal: remember. so much for that. Because it was a totally, it was totally my pleasure. It was an honor because that’s a whole, I think we, because you, you, you said it correctly. We are touched by all aspects of life and not in some of the things that are unfortunate and things that we are mysterious and we don’t understand.

We’re, there was an ability for everyone who came to see the exhibition and didn’t see the fundraiser to kind of understand we’re all in this together. Like it’s, it was like, that to me was what I took away from it. I was like, you know, this is, this is, you know, it’s, it’s bigger than us. And so it was very profound.

It was, it was very moving. And I was like, yeah, it touched that sense of personal activism of [00:41:00] myself. I was like, yes, people support community, like connect with people. Yeah.

Dana Wiley: Yeah. Yeah, it was. And for me, it was, it was, this is why this is why art matters this right here. That’s the, that’s the reason because you can, you can create something and bring it out.

And that, that, that, that becomes bigger than, you know, You, you as an artist in your studio, it becomes so much, so much more. And I thought that that was, like, art at its highest purpose. And I, I just really was I don’t, you know, I just, I was really, I was really, really it was important for me to be able to, again, just have that in our, in our space, in our gallery.

And, you know, I hope at some point that we’ll be able to do that again. Like I said, we had [00:42:00] so many people who, who helped. Make that happen. But it, it is, it is quite the undertaking it was, it was a lot. So it was, it was satisfying. Yeah, no, it was, it was, it was amazing. And I. You know, my, my mom has since passed and it, it was a it was just, I felt like, you know, when somebody has this disease, you feel so helpless.

There is nothing really that you, you know, there’s nothing that you can do. But this, I felt like I was able to do something. Something, I mean, something. But yeah, so.

Rodney Veal: Wow. Yeah. And that’s, that’s the whole thing. I, I, and that’s because I think there’s a humanity to every part of the arts ecosystem and the arts.

And I think if the more that we expose that, the more that people can, that the other [00:43:00] stuff. Fades away. Like the art speak and Oh, you have to dress up to go see a performance and there’s etiquette involved in doing, you know, Oh, like I can’t afford to buy my art, I mean, you can afford to buy art, which is, you know, I know that you’d always, you know, I, it’s probably the antithesis of what a gallery should be talking about is not money, but it is, but it’s letting people know.

That you can have. Art in your home and you can have a personal connection to art and it doesn’t have to be something that you bought. I mean, you know, at, in a, in a commercial retail shop that’s mass produced. You is something you can have things that speak to you without it being. Oh, I don’t know. I don’t want to use the word.

There’s a word I want to use, but I can’t use it. I won’t do it. I won’t do it. That’s

Dana Wiley: a shame. That’s a shame, Rodney. I won’t [00:44:00] use it. I won’t

Rodney Veal: use the word. But, but, but I, what would you say to people, like, who think, oh, I can’t afford Art, because there have been things in your gallery, there are different price points.

I think it is, there’s a way, there’s a will, there’s a way. So explain, demystify the buying of art. Cause I think people don’t understand that.

Dana Wiley: Oh yeah. I mean we do, just like you said, we do have different price points in the gallery. And we work with, you know, the client with, with, if you are, if you really want that piece of artwork we will make that happen.

You know, I have had people come in and they’re on a year payment plan. I don’t care, you know, for me, it doesn’t matter. I, if you want that piece of artwork, we’re going to work with you. We, we do have, I think. especially, like I said, we take, we’ll do a payment plan with you. We [00:45:00] also offer, you know, there are times when we, we have discounts things like that.

So, I mean, I don’t, it, if there is a piece of artwork that really speaks to a viewer we will, we will definitely make that happen because, you know, again, it sounds I, you know, I just, I know that there are pieces, there have been pieces that have come through here that I really would love to have and I think, okay, I can’t, you know, I can’t, I can’t afford it.

But you know what, I’ve talked with the artists. Most artists, they, they, they want to work with you. They want to work with the client. They want you to have their artwork. For them, they’ve made it. And it brings them so much joy to see the artwork or to know that it’s in somebody’s home and somebody else is, is getting joy from it.

So yeah, all parties involved. We, we, we can make it happen.

Rodney Veal: All right. I love that. And like I said, you’re a [00:46:00] very personable person. You are just a joy to be around. So Dana, this has been a delight. I mean, as always, as always, because just for our viewers to know, Dana and I have some things cooked up at the station, the art show, but stay tuned for those things that are coming.

But yeah, it’s all right. It’s, it’s all in service of, of the of our common, our common goal. And that’s that people should enjoy and embrace art. So thank you for being that person and advocate in our community for art.

Dana Wiley: It has really been my pleasure and my honor. So thank you. Thank you, Rodney. [00:47:00]