Skyping with Frank Juarez – DIY Gallery Project at Appleton Career Academy

Today I had the opportunity to meet the art students who will be curating their first exhibition at Global Arts Gallery, which will be featuring artists from Wisconsin. The artists were featured in the 365 Artists 365 Days Project with the exception of two invited artists. This exhibition is facilitated by Appleton art teacher, Elyse Lucas in collaboration with Frank Juarez. 

About Global Arts Gallery: Global Arts Gallery is an exhibition space located in Manitowoc.


Exhibition Dates: February 1 – February 25, 2017

Opening Reception: Sat, February 11th, 2017, 1:00-4:00pm

Location: Global Arts Gallery, 702 York St. Manitowoc, WI 54220

Skyping with Ms. Lucas’s art class

Interview with Frank Juarez

Directions: Take notes on the questions listed in the space provided. Feel free to share additional questions with Frank. Be an active listener as this information will be extremely helpful when you design your own gallery!!

How did you start your career as an educator, gallery owner, social media star, and artist?

My journey began in 2001 when I landed my first teaching gig at Riverview Alternative High School in Sheboygan. About 5 years later I transferred to Sheboygan North High School and am currently in my 11th year teaching at North. My first exhibition experience was in 2001 when I joined the Milwaukee Area Teachers of Art (MATA). I exhibited alongside great artists who were or still art teaching. In 2003, I became the MATA President. Having this experience gave me the encouragement to take risks, which resulted in opening my first art gallery in Milwaukee with a business partner, Brooks Barrow. Our relationship lasted about 18 months and we went our separate ways. Sometimes our collaborative vision can develop into our own personal ideas. I wouldn’t call myself a social media star. I enjoy using technology and promoting the visual arts especially in Wisconsin. So, teaching, running a gallery, and being an artist are all interconnected. Social media is one way of creating a sense of awareness of what is happening in a community, share our passion, and a fabulous way to connect with people across the globe.

Can you describe your process for creating a show?

Creating an exhibition involves an idea, a vision, roster of artists that compliment that vision, self-promotion, and marketing.

How do you find artists and artwork?

Nowadays, artists are everywhere! They can be found in studios, at receptions, galleries, social media, parties, events, etc. It is important to put yourself out there and seek what you are looking for. Talking to artist friends is a great way to start that path.

How to select artists and artwork (theme)?

As I had mentioned previously selecting artists is based on what vision you have for the exhibition you would like to curate. For example, in January of 2014 I wanted to curate an exhibition on collage called The Art of Collage. Although there are multiple ways of finding artists I decided to do a Call for Entries. I knew that I wanted to do an exhibition on collage, however, I did not put any restrictions as to what the artists could submit. It was amazing to see the variety of work submitted via JPGs. This general idea of showing collage developed into a survey of a variety of collages and processes. It was neat to see the variety of work being produced in our own state and beyond.

How do you find a gallery space? How many are in WI roughly?

The best way to find a gallery is space is to get in a car and drive around in your own community. If you see a For Rent sign call the number and speak to the owner. Inquire about square footage, rent, duration of the lease, utilities, maintenance, etc. As for how many galleries in WI that is a great question. It is difficult to pin point the total number of galleries.

How and why do you choose to hang art in specific locations? What do you need to consider?

Installing art in specific locations is a great way to share what is happening within an art community, to share your appreciation for promoting art that may be non-traditional, experimental, or whatever you feel people need to be exposed to. Before proceeding with any exhibition you’ll need to talk to the owner to see what his/her/their restrictions are. Once you know, then you can either proceed or not.

How do you have a gallery opening? What differences are there in types of openings?

Every exhibition should have an artist reception. This is a great way to introduce the artist and the artwork to the present audience. In the gallery business there are public receptions and private receptions.

Why is it important to have art shows in our community?

It is important to showcase the artistic talents that exist within your community if this is what your gallery is about. It is a great way to build art community, to promote the local arts, to connect people and artists, etc.

How does this show differ from art museums?

The exhibition that you will be putting together is an invitational, which means that the artists exhibiting were invited. This is a similar thing that art museums do except museum curators curate their exhibitions. What makes your exhibition different is that you are providing the public the opportunity to meet the artists and is organized by you and your peers.

What themes in the past have you arranged art shows around?

I have organized/curated over 50 exhibitions in the past 5 years. These exhibitions were either at my gallery or other art venues in Wisconsin. Each exhibition has a different theme. Themes ranged from collage to painting, abstraction to photography, emerging artists to established WI artists.

Other Thoughts: Managing my own gallery has been one of the best things I have done as an arts professional. Anyone can open his/her own gallery, however, I would recommend that anyone thinking about having a gallery should take business and arts management courses. Also, find a mentor, ask a lot of questions, learn to trust your gut instincts, and stay on course.

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