Allan Chow at University of Kansas Hospital


This Chow, a cityscape in palette knife of the Missouri and downtown, is a loaner for the new Cancer Center.  If you’ll notice, it isn’t large enough for the wall.  Allan’s working on a commission for this same wall, but a larger work.  It will have particular meaning for UKH.  He’ll finish it after his opening here in Oct. 

Tomorrow I’ll show work by Margie Kuhn for the hospital.  Wanted to tonight, but can’t find the blasted photos.  Guess I’ll have to reshoot.

Public TV Airs Our Documentary


KCPT will air the documentary Art on the Block next Thursday, 8/9, at 8:30.  It will be featured on SCREENtime, and will also be simulcast for those of you who don’t live in the area.  You can go online to figure out that gig.

This is the documentary that premiered in May, and which The KC Star’s film critic Bob Butler praised so highly.  20 minutes long, it covers the processes/struggles/triumph of the 10 artists I commissioned for site-specific works at H&R Block’s new headquarters.  It also covers, indirectly, the renaissance of the current regional art movement in America–meaning world-class works being created outside the NY gallery system.  I hope you’ll watch it.  Director Daven Gee and his crew, pictured above, did a stellar job.

Tomas Young and the Iraq War


Nathan and Tomas Young 

Last fall I met an incredibly dignified and courageous man, Tomas Young.  He served in Iraq, where his unit was ambushed, resulting in his becoming paralyzed from the waist down. 

Not long after he got home, he began going around the country giving talks on his experience, and being  bluntly honest about the real motives behind the war–meaning profit.  This resulted in Phil Donahue producing a documentary about Tomas and his experiences:  Body of War.  The documentary’s due out this year.  I can’t wait to see it.  This guy does have guts, not to mention a mountain of integrity.

Friday Tips: One Gallery Writes…

A gallery owner/artist from New York wrote me last month, seeking advice.  He was having a very hard time staying open, and wanted to know if I could provide a little guidance.  Not long after I sent him my suggestions, he wrote back saying that things were improving, and that he saw a way out.  I hardly believe that came from my suggestions, but maybe I was a bit of a catalyst.  Anyway, here are the emails.  I post them so that you’ll understand yet more about the art business, and the challenges inherent in it.

Dear Paul:
i’m hoping that if i spill a bit, you might be able to offer some sage advice without becoming altogether aggitated with my semi-sob story, and the fact that I feel compelled to share it with you.

over the course of this last two years (20 months since the gallery doors were first opened) i have seen my marriage fall apart, had to move out, have to fight tooth and nail to see my kids regularly, seen my credit go from nearly perfect to a perfect bankruptcy candidate, lost weight, (there’s a reason they call us “starving artists”, eh?), and paint Every day.

creating new work, evading bill collectors to pay for my personal exhibition submission fees, working crazy hours in the gallery while continuing to renovate it, juggling artists and schedules for the galleries exhibitions, applying for grants that i’m never granted, yada yada and barely scraping by financially is how i spend my days. in some ways, i’m so desperatly happy to be who i am each day….. in some ways i’m so desperate for relief from this tight rope walk.

how did you manage when things got tough?

i haven’t become bitter, i have no regrets for having lived my passion this little piece of time and if it all falls apart tomorrow i will be happy that i had today. -but- i don’t want to see it end. i can’t imagine losing my studio. i wouldn’t breathe without art. i don’t want to think of the disappointment for the more than 80 local artists whose work i present (and sell), many of whom don’t exhibit anywhere else. and i can’t fathom the thought of living outside of myself again.

i know that there’s no secret code but perhaps you might share with me how you managed to come through your gallery’s early years? how you managed to dig out of debt? how i might keep ahold of my sanity amidst a public that constantly tells me i’m crazy for believing so strongly?

I thank you for any response you might offer.

Dear ________:

Glad you wrote.  Your situation is certainly salvageable, but not without making some significant changes.  What you went through with your marriage is unfortunate, but fairly common.  I just hope you two can keep love and understanding in the forefront, and bitterness–if it arises–out of the picture.  You’ll both be more content, as will your kids.  If there is strife, you might try to moderate.  That will make things easier.

Firstly, since you’re an artist, unless you have a sound business mind, you probably should not be running the gallery alone.  You should certainly be the director, but you’ll need at least one person with retail training and business experience to help you successfully run what really is, bottom line, a retail business.  I don’t hire artists to run the business end; only business people with aesthetic sense and art history background.  Artists, I learned long ago, are rarely made for gallery management.

Since you probably can’t afford to hire anyone, you might consider putting together a board of 3-5 people who can advise you, in exchange for art at cost.  I’ve had to do this, and it went well, but only if we met regularly, and only if I acted on their advice.  I also used them for networking.

Networking is essential, whether through The Chamber of Commerce or on your own–probably both.  Then comes direct mail marketing, magazine ads, maintaining a strong web presence, ensuring your website attracts hits and business, constantly getting your art in front of vast hordes through whatever means necessary.  Just remember to be original in the way in which you do it, whether at a restaurant or chamber of commerce function.

It’s a long list.  But I didn’t achieve my success alone.  My wife always backed my play, handling much of the domestic stuff while I managed the gallery and wrote my books; she gave me a sane home to return to each night.  That helped enormously.  I always worked 70-hour weeks to achieve my goals, since I couldn’t afford a large staff in those days.  And I always tried to keep my head when the creditors grew shrill.

If it hadn’t been for consulting on large sculpture projects, we’d have gone under.  Most galleries fall back on framing for profit; I fell back on consulting.  You’ll have to find your bread-and-butter gig too, or cut your losses and take a job you like while still painting.  But I’d begin by realistically assessing your debt, what you need to make each month to turn a profit, and what you must do in getting there.

Whatever you do, please don’t let the current situation continue as it is.  Your fate is yelling at you to make a change.  You’ll probably have to do this to stay in the biz, or else quietly get out.  I mean at the end of it all, what is more important: your art or the gallery?  You’ve given it a good run; if you can turn things around in six months and maintain a profitable business, then stay in.  If you can’t, there are far worse things than closing with honor before the debt eats you alive.

I advise you discuss this with someone in business, and formulate a business plan.  All things are possible, if you just line up your ducks.  But please don’t try to do it alone.

I certainly send you light.  You’ll make the right choices.  Just remember, you’re in the wealthiest country in the world.  All things are possible, including starting over. 



Note: He later emailed, saying my advice proved worthwhile.  Either way, I hope this exchange proves illuminating.  And if you’re thinking of opening a gallery, please line up those ducks first.

Ball Game With The Punks




Pick-up game this evening with kids from the Y team I used to coach–except they’re all 18 and 19 now.  Pretty good game.  Everyone fielded well, batted well, played many jokes.  A couple of the kids are getting high now–inevitable in today’s society–but they didn’t show up, so I couldn’t tease them.   That’s just another way of loving them, which they know.  They promised they’d come next time.  I’ll hold them to it.

I lucked out and knocked three over the fence, which I couldn’t help rubbing in on the Punks, who almost matched me.  Yeah, I’m still part teenager.

What’s this got to do with art?  Not much.  But for me, it has a lot to do with living.

Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Artists, & The Business World

I was asked this year to help select artists who would create works for the Entrepreneur of the Year Award dinner, which is attended by about 1000.  There will be a silent auction to benefit the program.  In guiding that, I’ll set the minimum bids, then ensure that each artist receives their usual percentage from works sold.  The committee are ecstatic with the pieces, and variety of media.  I’ve tried hard to create a balance between gender and races.  I know that sounds PC, but there’s a reason for PC. 

Why do I work with the business community so extensively?  Because while private collectors are important, once you get the business community to participate actively in the arts, and make the arts a regular part of their functions, this will rapidly increase involvement.  It will also prove encouraging to private collectors–both novices and veterans.

So no matter what size the city you live in, and no matter where it’s located, please try to act on this.  It’s one of those myriad of little things that helps extend the Renaissance we’re currently enjoying. 

What artists are participating?  Too soon to discuss that.  Would ruin the surprise.

Matt Kube at Block


We installed these oils by Matt Kube at H&R Block last year.  They’re coarse and raw and straightforward, and that’s what I dig about them.  They were in the tower, but we thought they’d look pretty cool in the lobby for awhile, near the falling water.  Gives Matt a better shot at more collectors too.  I don’t think he’d object to that.   

Wendy Garrett’s Book


A good friend of mine, Wendy Garrett, was recently published. Great little book titled Talking to Nightlights. Wendy to me is a combination of priestess, shaman, wise soul. The book touches on some of her experiences and visions as her psychic nature has developed over the years. It also discusses her journey–as usual with a bit of humor.

When times have been tough for me, this fantastic woman has always been around to lend her counsel and perceptions. Where would I be without people like this in my life? Probably a gibbering heap of beer-stained denims.

It’s a great read. Give it a look, if you like.

Friday Tips: Certificates of Authenticity


All right, how many of you print a Certificate of Authenticity each time you sell a work?  Well if you don’t, and if no one ever told you what one should contain, here’s a simple example.  Please note that I list title, medium, size and current value.  Please also note that I indicate to whom copyright actually belongs, and how infringement is a VERY bad idea.  Do we ever have to enforce this with an attorney?  Nah; it’s better to stay on cool terms with everyone.  The big artillary should always be a last resort.

If you can’t make out the text, it reads as follows:



Title:              “Hemisphere in Steel”  
Artist:             Arlie Regier
Medium:          Stainless Steel
Dimensions:      17 x 6 x 17
Value:             $4000.00

This is to affirm that the sculpture you purchased is an original work.  Listed above are the details of the work as well as its current market value.  This document may be considered my appraisal of the piece, and can be used for insurance purposes.

Please note that copyright is the sole property of the artist, and as a consequence, no images or reproductions may be made of this work without the express, written permission of Arlie Regier.

Thank you so much for your purchase.



Paul Dorrell

Glass Install at University of KS Hospital’s Cancer Center




Photos show a large glass sculpture, by Vernon Brejcha, that we finished today for University of Kansas Hospital’s new Cancer Center.  It’s in the old Sprint Headquarters, which is a pretty big joint.  There are some interesting stories from that time about one of Sprint’s former execs and the IRS, but I’ll not go there.  However I believe the upshot was louder than a pin-drop.  What I don’t get though, is when someone has more houses than they can live in, a private jet, and god-knows-what-else, why income tax evasion?  Maybe like Bogart said to Edward G. Robinson in Key Largo: “What is it you want, Johnnie?  I tell you what you want: More.” 

But we all have our faults, including me. 

100 pieces of glass on this pup.  600 lbs.  Took two days to install, but I didn’t do it.  Erin Holliday led the project, with my two sons assisting.  Erin’s one of the best glass installers I know–when she isn’t running the Mattie Rhodes Art Center.  Me?  I just take bad pictures.  Better pictures will follow.  Grand Opening next week.