Tag: harrisonburg

New Work: Renewed


11″ x 14″

I actually created this piece for an art show, but I ran out of time and didn’t want to rush the process so I’m not participating in that particular show this year. It’s been a while since I painted any kind of plant life, so this was a nice change.

Renewed (detail 1) Renewed (detail 2)

Unfortunately I can’t identify this plant. I took the photo about a year ago in the JMU arboretum and I’m not sure how to figure out what the name of the plant is. If you happen to know or have an idea of the name, please send me a comment! :] Have a great weekend!


Business Conferences + Workshops + Discussions

Over the past year, I’ve been more active in learning about the business aspect of my art. I already told you guys about the classes I’ve been taking and the research I’ve been doing, but I’ve yet to mention the conference, workshop, and panel discussion I went to a while ago.


Last November, I went to the annual “Make Art Your Business” Conference at Blue Ridge Community College. This conference is still pretty new–it began in 2011. I wasn’t able to go the year before unfortunately, so I was really excited that I had the opportunity to go this time. The conference took place on a Monday so I skipped class and brought an artist friend with me. It was a great experience. I networked a little and learned a ton of information about marketing strategies, setting up a physical store, creating a social media presence,  getting work into galleries, etc. The keynote speaker was Ragan McManus, the executive director of The Arts Council of the Valley in Harrisonburg. Her presentation was probably my favorite part of the conference.


The conference this year is taking place on Monday November 4th from 9am-4pm and the keynote speaker is internationally-known artist P. Buckley Moss. I recommend this conference to any artist who is interested in starting a business as well as artists who have already taken the plunge and own a business. It’s always a good idea to keep seeking more information and see what other people are doing. You can find more information and register here: Make Art Your Business


A few months later in February, I went to a workshop called Start Smart that I signed up for through the Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center in Harrisonburg (which also co-sponsored the Make Art Your Business conference). This workshop did not focus on art, but on starting any kind of small business. It’s goal was to help participants determine whether starting a small business was really what they wanted, and if so, how to get started and what things to consider. We talked about coming up with a business name, the importance of marketing, common mistakes, startup costs, etc. The small workbook I got to take home with me even had a thoroughly-explained business plan template, which I find very useful.


The last thing I attended that I want to mention was a panel discussion in Roanoke. This discussion was part of the Cox Business Executive Discussion Series. I went on May 8th when the topic was “The Role of the Arts in Economic Development.” Admission was free and participants were provided with a really nice breakfast. The expert panel included: David Mickenberg (former president/CEO of the Taubman Museum of Art), Amy Moorefield (director of the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University), Chris Morrill (city manager of the city of Roanoke), Wayne Strickland (executive director of the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission), and Ruth Waalkes (associate provost for the arts and executive director of the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech).


The discussion was really enlightening and I learned about the growth of art where I live compared to the growth and presence of art in other fairly large cities. I also learned that while Roanoke is developing pretty quickly, it is not the greatest place for a new artist (like me) who doesn’t have a lot of connections. In other words, there seems to be more focus on individual success than there is on helping out fellow artists. This is pretty discouraging, but I think it’s good to be realistic when it comes to your career. For the time being, I am staying in Roanoke. After all, with the internet, you can become a successful artist even in the smallest of towns. Successful is a relative term of course.

I’ve learned so so much in the past year about starting a business, and I’m actually feeling pretty confident that I can do this. Unfortunately, this government shutdown is putting a bit of a damper on things, so I’ll just keep doing some more research in the meantime. As always, thanks for reading :]


Show at Larkin Arts

larkinarts-20-1024x682Photo 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!

michaelhoughPhoto 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.”

DSC02949Quick Fix
DSC02951Pins 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 :]

larkin4Photo by Katie Schmid of Larkin Arts

Announcements: August Art Show and Etsy Shop Opening!

Hey guys! I have two exciting things to talk about. I mentioned both of these things in my last post, and as promised, I’m here to give you more info.

First of all, I finally opened my Etsy shop! I spent many, many hours working on things to make it as “official” as possible. I listed several items that I’ve had done for months now, but I also created a collection of pieces just for the opening (The Dragonfruit Collection if you want to check it out). I also came up with a logo design and hand-printed it onto tags for the clothing. My sisters and I even modeled the clothes, which was really fun :] Right now I just have clothing (and one tote bag) for sale, but I’ll be putting up small drawings and paintings in the near future.

ana dress 5

You can check out all the excitement HERE

My second announcement is that I’m having an art show in August in downtown Harrisonburg, Virginia. My work will be displayed in Larkin Arts for the whole month of August. Larkin Arts is a really cute school/store/gallery/studio that just opened last year. I’m so  excited to show my work there. The opening reception will take place on Friday August 2nd from 5-8pm and the work will be on display until Tuesday September 3rd. The gallery hours are 11am-7pm Mon-Sat (they’re closed on Sundays).

Insulin is Not a Cure

The work that I’ll be showing is once again a collection of dress pieces that reflect my life with Type 1 Diabetes. Some of the pieces were included in my last show, but I’ve also been working on new things since then. If you’re in the area, I hope you can make it! I’ll be there for the duration of the opening reception.

Bonus announcement: I’m going to be in another magazine! More info on that later :] Have a great day!


I Graduated!


It feels like I just graduated from high school yesterday, but here I am, a college grad. I have mixed emotions about the whole thing really, and I don’t think it will truly hit me that I’m not going back until August when I’m not packing up the car with all my things to move back to campus. It’s bittersweet for sure. A big part of me feels very ready for this next step (whether I can clearly tell you what that next step is exactly…well that’s another story). I graduated cum laude and I’m super proud of my accomplishments. I’m excited to see what opportunities may present themselves to me. I’m excited for something different and new.


Don’t get me wrong, though, I am pretty nervous about the future. I’m still in the job-searching period of my post-grad life and waiting anxiously for an offer. Right now, I am looking for a position as an art teacher hopefully not too far away so that I can live at home for a little while.

I do miss JMU and the people I became friends with there. I miss the beautiful campus and the feeling of independence I had. It’s kind of sad knowing I’ll never go back there as a student. I’m also not looking forward to paying off my loans… There are definitely some perks to being done, though. I get to be around for more family stuff and spend more time with my boyfriend and friends who live here.  I also don’t have to move all my stuff again (for a while at least). I can hopefully manage my diabetes better now that I’m a little more in control of my schedule and what I eat, etc.

I have lots of plans for the summer to keep me busy while I nervously await a job offer! I have another art show in August in Downtown Harrisonburg, so I’ll be working on stuff for that. I’ll put up more information on that show very soon. I’m also in the process of opening an Etsy store! I’ll mostly be using it to sell my hand-painted clothing, but I’ll probably put some small drawings and paintings there too. I will also post something about that once the store is up and running.

I’ve been contacting local artists, galleries, and boutiques in search of more opportunities to get my work out to the public. I’m kind of unsure as to how I should approach this kind of thing, so I’m seeking advice from those who know more than I do :P

I’m not too sure where I’ll be in a few months, which is kind of intimidating, but I’ll be sure to share my journey with you guys on here :] Stay tuned!

grad15Me and my super supportive parents :]




For the past 4 months, I was blessed to have the opportunity to display six of my paintings in Duo, a clothing store in downtown Harrisonburg. Duo offers a very stylish selection of clothes, bags, jewelry, shoes, and so on and they also buy gently used clothing. They participate in the First Friday events downtown and try to have new artwork each time. They love having student artwork. I was asked to be the artist for November last year and gladly accepted the offer. I ended up leaving my art up for the months of December, January, and February as well because First Fridays die down a little during the winter months. I felt super fortunate to have my art up longer because that just means more chances for people to see it. A huge thanks to Sam and everyone else at Duo!

DSC00795 DSC00797 DSC00798 DSC00799 DSC00800DSC00796



My art show that I talked about a few times is taking place REALLY soon! The opening is on Monday September 3rd from 5-7pm. I just found out about this two days ago so I’ve been rushing to get everything done since I leave for school this Friday. The show will be up until Saturday September 15th and the gallery hours are: Monday-Friday 12-5pm, Saturday 12-4pm. The show will be at artWorks Gallery, a student run art gallery at JMU in Harrisonburg. My artwork focuses on my life with Type 1 Diabetes and features comments from several people who are also affected by the disease in some way.

Here’s to a great show!