Shows, The Word with Heather René Dunaway

Oh, hello again. It’s me, Heather. Back at it again with the word. A blog where I ramble about stuff. Art stuff, mostly.


So, putting on shows *jazz hands*.  Me being a Leo, the world is often my show. At least in my head it is. But, as the Gallery Director for the Arts Council, and a working artist in Augusta, I get this question a lot. I also ask this of myself a lot. “Where can I show my artwork?”


In Augusta, it at times feels like there aren’t enough places to have an art show. Well not “professional” places. We Augusta artist tend to lean more towards being super flexible chameleons, ready to slap up our work wherever and whenever we can. Places like coffee shops or bars or our friend’s garage. Pop-up shows like this can be really fun, but also super freaking exhausting. So, where do we go?

Mark Albertin's "Augusta Artisans on Film" photography art reception in Riverwatch Brewery
Mark Albertin's "Augusta Artisans on Film" Closing Artist's Reception in Riverwatch Brewery

Breaking into our small arts scene, and I say small in comparison to cities like Atlanta or Savannah, can be tough. It being so small, it can feel cliquey or walled off to new comers. Me being the ADHD fueled Leo that I am, I’ve always just barreled through with no thought. Yes-ing myself into any show I’m invited and able to participate in. Applying for all the things. Especially if they’re free. Is that the best method? I don’t know, maybe not. It works for me. Well, most of the time.


I personally try to have an open mind about everyone and meet people for myself before making opinions rather than listen solely to what others have to say. I feel like that’s the best practice in networking, which is actually super important in the arts field. People tend to know people. Especially in a small town, which Augusta feels like most days. Everything and everyone with a grain of salt. And according to my TikTok feed, people with ADHD love salt, so I guess it all tracks.

"Treasure Inland" Exhibition of Map themed artwork at Augusta & Co. Gallery
The "Treasure Inland" Group Exhibition at the Augusta & Co. Gallery

Here I am again. Another tangent.


So, “where do I show my art?” Well, as the Gallery Director for the galleries that the GAAC manages, and a working Artist in the Augusta River Region, let me tell you where I show my art. There are locally run places like 4P Studios, The Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, and the Westobou gallery. Then there are the unique little galleries the Arts Council runs at Augusta & Co. and the City Gallery.


There is a list of art spaces in the Augusta River Region at the bottom of the Gallery page on the GAAC website, here along with links to applications for the GAAC run galleries. I’m working towards featuring local businesses who support the arts as well. There are a lot, so that’s taking some time. Places that hang local art, have open-mic nights, etc. Maybe by the end of the Summer that list will be ready. If you know of such a place, and I’m serious, please email me.

I’ve personally shown in the New Moon Café in downtown Augusta. I held my annual October Spooktacular there last year. Something about drinking coffee and eating food really puts people in the mood to buy art. Which is probably why we have food at arts receptions. I feel like a lot of the artwork I’ve sold, surprisingly enough, has been in coffee shops, bars or restaurants. I know it’s not the most professional place to do so, but in a bind, it’s great. And there usually aren’t sales commissions or fees because they aren’t really a gallery. Which also means your work isn’t insured, so there’s that to consider.


If you’re looking for professional, try applying for Westobou’s SEEDS. Those applications are due August 5th, which is this week, so do it quickly here. I’ve been in Seeds twice now and each time its been a wonderful experience. 10/10 would recommend. The Westobou team is a small but super capable and dedicated one.


I guess if you’re a new-be and looking for advice on where to get started, the first step may be considering who your audience is and where that audience will most likely see your work. If your audience is the youths maybe a pop-up show in your friends garage would be appropriate. If your audience is families, maybe a booth at the Saturday Market would work for you. Then go to those places and meet those people.


Going to art shows and meeting some local artists, gallery owners, event coordinators and curators is a great place to build from. Again, networking is super important. You’ll just have to go in with an open mind, be respectful of the space and the people who run it. You know, be cool. Whatever that means.


Well, that’s the word. Go make some art and show it.