- Photo by Larkin Arts
Larkin Arts is a space in downtown Harrisonburg, VA that offers supplies, classes, studios, and gallery space for small art shows. It is owned and run by three super talented individuals: Lynda Bostrom, Valerie Smith, and Scott Whitten. They opened this wonderful place in September of 2012 and seem to be doing an awesome job of getting involved in the community and giving artists the means to create and showcase their work.
As an art student at James Madison University, which is also located in Harrisonburg, I heard about this new place that was opening. I figured they would be taking applications for art shows in their space and I was right. I immediately applied for a spot and patiently waited. In early March, I received an email from Lynda saying that I had been one of the two artists selected for a show in August. I was so excited!
I had already decided that I wanted the show to be about my diabetes again. I received a lot of great feedback at my first art show, which was also about diabetes, and I wanted to expand this body of work and share it with more people.
I set up the show the day before the opening and my mom came with me to help out. Set-up went super smoothly, thanks to Lynda who is totally a gallery expert. For this show, I was paired with local artist Michael Houghs, who displayed an awesome series of metal sculptures. We agreed that the combination of his sculptures and my colorful paintings worked really well!
- Photo by Katie Schmid of Larkin Arts
The 3-hour opening reception took place on Friday August 2nd and it totally exceeded my expectations. My parents and younger brother were able to come to Harrisonburg with me for the event, which was great. Several people came through to check out the art and I was able to talk to many of them about my work. I heard all kinds of stories and was blown away by how people responded to my own story and my work. I was even able to talk to some young kids about the paintings, which forced me to think about how I can effectively get my message across to a child.
Here are some of the comments people left in my comment book:
“What an amazing and powerful presentation. So eye-opening into the world of being diabetic. My heart goes out to every (especially young) person who struggles with the day to day challenges.”
“You have touched my heart—thank you.”
“This is an amazing show. I love when an artist truly puts something of themselves into the art and you have given yourself completely to your art, I love it. You’re amazing, keep it going.”
“I feel that nobody truly understands what it is like living with this disease! I feel that I have a spiritual sister of some sort as I gaze upon your work. It is awe-inspiring! Please, keep doing what you’re doing—giving others like us hope and kinship of sorts! Thank you for your work. It was and is truly a blessing!”
“I live with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia pain. I’m working to express visually how that feels—thanks for this!”
“Meaningful work. The world needs this.”
“Really cool! Love your brushstrokes, color, and subject matter.”
“Saw your work today. Awesome. No one realizes what diabetes does to a person—my husband has it—my mom had it. Your paintings are awesome. Get the word out—people can identify with these feelings.”
“I commend you for sharing this part of your life through your beautiful artwork! It’s a unique perspective that blesses us all!”
“I love walking into the exhibit and then making my way over to your intro and realizing your pictures tell a story. Absolutely stunning and heartbreaking.”
- Quick Fix
- Pins and Needles
I am so so thankful for the opportunity that Larkin Arts gave me to share my work with more people. I met some really great people and came out of the experience with ideas on how to take this message further. A huge thank you to everyone who was able to come to the opening and to all the kind people who helped me out :]
- Photo by Katie Schmid of Larkin Arts