Much like every Kenosha native, I have had my sights on the iconic Lighthouse my entire life. The acrylic painting ‘Kenowhere’ featured on my event fliers was created back in 2010 (while I attended school in Minneapolis) to remind me of home. My older sister Stephanie now has that painting with her in Portland, Oregon to do the same for her. <3
And although the painting looks like a dream, this experience truly felt like one, and was by far my favorite event I’ve ever hosted.
I am so beyond grateful for the owner, Heather McGee, for offering me (and other local artists) this seriously incredible opportunity!
Here’s how it all went down…
So how did you get a spot as a Resident Artist?
I had no idea that the space was available to artists until only a year before my residency. A friend gave me the info to the Kenosha Lighthouse Studio website, and introduced me to Heather who runs the joint. I showed her my portfolio of paintings, and she welcomed me to lock in my spot for the Summer of 2018. I got to choose the dates within a week span, and the hours I wanted to be there. And so the planning began!
What was your goal for the space?
Aside from hosting a public art gallery, I really just wanted to be out on Lake Michigan with people, and to give everyone the opportunity to explore the inside of the lighthouse – which was always a huge curiosity of mine! People were literally stoked to go inside, and that alone made it all worth it for me.
Were there any downfalls?
It wasn’t even CLOSE to a terrible time. But there were a few obstacles that made things interesting:
1) The space is in a super public, visible area. Anyone able would have access to the pier and Lighthouse entrance. However, I chose to keep the door open during the day and at dusk so people could view the gallery and peep out the windows upstairs. Traffic-wise, it got hectic sometimes, but in the best way!
2) As a key holder, I could technically be cooped up in there all night to paint if I wanted. However, I was kind of wiped out by the end of each day. But luckily! I had plenty of friends and fam who were willing to keep me company after the sun set.
3) The final, and most daunting of hurdles…no restroom! The nearest was at the Kenosha Yacht Club – nearly half a mile walk/bike ride. But we all survived! and probably did some business while hanging off the ladder a couple times. woops ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
What did you have on display? and was it a profitable ($) experience?
I decided to bring a wide variety of prints, acrylic paintings, watercolors, printed fabrics, and blacklight art I’ve made over the past 10 years – pretty much all for sale. The 4-day run was super profitable, so that was a bonus! And since the interior walls are made of steel, a bunch of industrial-strength, magnetic hooks were provided. They could easily hold up all my frames and canvases. The lightbulbs and stool (shown below) were already there as well, so that made setup super easy. There was even a mini fridge!
Anything else to add?
I want to mention how appreciative I am, not only for this experience, but for ALL OF THE AMAZING HUMANS who shared it with me. I would not have been successful at hauling all my sh*t out a half mile onto the lake and back without help from others!!! So thank you all, and also to those who came and hung out with me – some every single day – you all made this experience soooo much fun and memorable!!! I also have to thank those who were not able to make it, but were supporting me via social media and sending encouraging messages. To name a few:
My Sweet Bob Mike, Dad, Mom & Dan, Evan, Steph, Aunt Sam, Jerome & Michelle, Matt, Justin, Grandma Bobbi, John, Tricia & Bella, Aunt Pat, Jen & Aunt Carolyn, IzzNizz, Pat Willis, The Hawkins Fam, Emily Lacy, The Grimes Fam & Olive, Roger “Peaches” Owens, Andro Jacobs, Michael Little, Jen Parise & Fam, Kelli Lemonade, The Christenbury Fam, Amanda Reau, Peter Aiston, Stefan & Kelly, Adam, Ryan, Jessie, White Claw, Alex & Kelsey, Curzio Caravati, Tommy, Cubby, Colby & Miles, Lacie & Dereck, Jess, Walter, Kate, Janice, Sergio & Kevin Molina, Joe, Kelsey, Dan, Missy Bower, Allison Garren, Kalli Hauter, Barb Kubas, Marilyn Berglund, Bridget, Tabatha Splain (Art Raffle Winner!), Tasha Marie, Francisco Loyola, Jeanna Smith, Jen, Emily, Nick, Angel, Cass & Rich, Alex & Sawyer, Josy Rosales & Trevor Mooney (of Earthmother), Daniel Catalanotto, Andrew & Miranda Orth, DeAnna Hercia, Tori Coy, Arissa Lyons, Kristi Coleman, Manny Calderon, The Kollman Fam, Jon Fio Rito, Jacob Benson, Thomas, Pates, Jamal Ramirez, Alexis Uribe, Denaija Battle, Ari Sellers, Brianna Woftora, Carly Maschinshi, Katie Istvanuk, Maggie DelFara, Madison Raith, Lauren McMahon, Logan Staples, Maggie McFuire, Gale Wallace, Teresa Strait, Christopher Lockwood, Pat Evans, John Gutierez, and if I failed to list you, I am super sorry, so please give me your worst (through the contact form please)…
THANK YOU FOREVER AND EVER, ILYASM.