Friday Tips: Reaching Out to the Smaller Towns


Spoke today at a Topeka Rotary luncheon, as I speak at different functions from Des Moines to Wichita when not on the coasts.  Why these smaller towns?  Man, there’s great business to be done there.

Certain corporations and collectors in each of these cities are passionate about the arts, involved in their communities, and anxious to promote the arts.  They understand that doing this enriches their schools, institutions and businesses.  This means that they’re interested in working with regional galleries.  And although Topeka is 50 miles from KC, that’s still in my region.  In fact I’ve many great clients there.

So if I lived in Atlanta, Seattle or Philly, you can be sure I’d be doing this with the smaller cities nearby.  I trust your galleries are doing the same.  It’s not enough to hope the clients will walk through the door as a result of marketing; sometimes you must reach out to them.  When done with humor, inclusion and integrity, they’ll often reach back.

Fiber by Annie Helmericks-Louder

Quilted piece by Annie Helmericks-Louder, who lives in central Missouri.  No that isn’t she holding it up but one of my assistants–Susan.  Sorry to have obscured her face but Susan’s a great gal, take my word for it. 


This work, which recently went home with an ecstatic collector, is part of Annie’s Dining Out series.  University of Kansas Hospital also bought two from the series.  That closes it out, but Annie will think of something else.  Anyway, I like the bright tones and the use of both quilting and applique.  Being a bumbling man when it comes to needle and thread, this skill never ceases to astound me.

Football and Morning Glory Seeds



Traditional football game yesterday with my sons and some of their friends.  We’ll play a lot of games between now and New Years.  Punks.  I used to run through them like a knife through margerine.  Now they have the audacity to tackle me on a regular basis. 

One of the boys wasn’t able to join us.  Seems he recently got busted by his folks for eating morning glory seeds, I guess in the hope of a minor halucanigenic experience.  Man, we couldn’t quit laughing over that one.  He’s actually a very good kid, so this was out of character.  But it reminded me of all the kids who tried the same thing back in the 70s–sprinkling those seeds on their hamburgers, I suspect with the same disappointing result.  I told the stories yesterday while all the boys howled.

Damned good game either way.

American Gangster

Saw American Gangster last night with Brown Eyes after a casual meal at the Salty Iguana.  Disagree with the critics who say there’s too much talk and not enough action.  This is a complicated story that requires extensive character development.  The primary characters are developed beautifully, so much that you can feel their disparate struggles.  That’s a sign of a good story.  It also brought back the bleakness of the 70s drug trade; crazy time I would never choose to revisit.

Worked on the new book for a couple of hours today.  It goes well.  Should be done late Jan.


Recent walk with Brown Eyes at the Zoo to enjoy the changing leaves.  It was only after I took this shot that I told her she was standing in the lion’s pen.  Man you should have seen her move. 

Showtime II: Opening for Paseo and Pembroke Kids

Dear Friday Tipsters:  

I know, I’m supposed to lay off until January.  But this story, which I posted last week, I feel is worth sending out.  These shots are from our opening for the young artists from Paseo Academy and Pembroke Hill Academy.  They’re enrolled in one of our mentoring programs, an undertaking that gives me immense satisfaction.



We went through about 250 bodies during the show.  I think the smiles on the kids’ faces, most of whom sold work, tell the story adequately.  They’re posing by their works, naturally.




Below is a shot of the committee who helped pull this complex undertaking together: Field Trip for the kids, time spent with professional artists, show at the gallery, sales, monies for both the Nature Conservancy and the young artists, etc.  Without this committee, the project would fail.  Photo by the inestimable Jonathan Chester, far right.  Don’t know the dufus lying on the floor.


Show for Richard Raney


Ribbon on Figure, Oil on Panel, Richard Raney

Richard Raney also has an opening with us this Friday, along with Brian Slawson.  Richard I feel is one of the most refined figure-painters in the region.  As it happens, he also does illustrative work for magazines like Wine Connossieur and publishers like Harper Collins.  He’s also an inspiring mentor for the teenage artists I dump on him now and then.  Should be a great show.

Show for Brian Slawson


Majestic, Oil on Canvas, Brian Slawson

We have an opening this Friday for Brian Slawson, one of the best photo-realists in the country.  This painting, which is in the show, I feel is testament to same.  It’s actually a two-man show, with Richard Raney sharing the billing.  I’ll show Richard’s work later. 

Showtime: Opening for Paseo and Pembroke Kids

These shots are from the Friday night opening for the young artists from Paseo Academy and Pembroke Hill Academy.  As many of you know, they’re part of one of our mentoring programs.  Went through about 250 people tonight.  I think the smiles on the kids’ faces, most of whom sold work, tell the story adequately.  They’re posing by their works, naturally.