“So, I had this idea,” I said.
“The theme would be water, and all the art in the gallery space would be about water. We could have a sculptural installation, some interactive works, photography about water . . . that would be the general theme.”
“And you’d put this all together?” he asked.
“Well, me and other people. It wouldn’t be just my artwork,” I responded.
“I dunno,” he said. “It sounds like a lot of work.”
“I never said it would be easy,” I responded again, starting to get a little defensive. “But it could be fun, and beautiful.”
“I don’t know,” he continued. “You’ve never done anything like that before. And where would you even find a space? And the artists? And with water? It’s never going to work.”
That was California, as I shared the beginning inklings of my gallery thoughts to a college friend. Thankfully the friends I have these days are much more supportive, and that’s no coincidence. I’ve tried to surround myself with encouraging yet honest friends. I’ve also tried to do what I can to stem feeling too discouraged by naysaying from unsolicited advice, of which there will always be some.
Along the way, with various facets of the gallery, I’ve encountered other people that have shared my colleague’s sentiment. Often they are simply underestimating the value of art and community spaces. Especially as the gallery took shape, few responses were as a cold as “It’s never going to work.”
Have you ever had anybody downplay or stifle an idea you were excited and energized about?
How did you react?
This post is adapted from It’s Never Going To Work: A Tale of Art and Nonprofits in the Minneapolis Community with illustrations by Athena Currier. Post graphics by Jamie Schumacher. ©2018 Jamie Schumacher.
It’s Never Going To Work is a light-hearted, illustrated book that offers real-life insights on founding a community space and nonprofit. It provides tools, tips, resources, and camaraderie to community organizers and anybody attempting something new.