Shelley Tate Garner began the Small on the Wall show at the Art Place Gallery many years ago. Mary Karam would run her photography show alongside Garner’s to attract visitors and encourage them to visit both shows. Eventually, Gardner closed her gallery and people began asking Karam whether she would continue the tradition because it was so popular. Karam said yes, and is now in her 11th year of hosting Small on the Wall at her gallery in downtown Denison.
The Small on the Wall show has a large draw, with people from all over Texas and Oklahoma attending. This year it has 23 83 works of art.
“One year we had over 120 pieces of art and that was quite a challenge to hang it all,” Karam said with a laugh.
The guidelines change each year, but the show has no theme. In the beginning Karam started with a 12x16 guideline to include frame sizes but would often have people taking advantage of the artistic space, going larger instead of smaller. This year the size is 8x10 or smaller.
“I think about going smaller, like 6x4, but some people do that already,” Karam said. “Having it opened then maximizes the variety of art and I like for people to work on whatever intrigues them.”
When asked what her favorite part of the show is, Karam replied one of her biggest satisfactions is seeing new artists grow and try new things.
“The nice thing about Small on the Wall is that you can explore things you’ve never done before without a big investment,” she said. “Just like a sculptor will make a maquette of a sculpture, people can put an idea into a smaller frame without being too involved and play around.”
Karam said this show is really for people to celebrate art and enjoy seeing it.
“A lot of people feel there is pressure to buy something, but that’s only part of it,” Karam said. “It is nice to be responsible and support the artist, but the main thing to really support their art is by looking at it. The feedback people get from others seeing it is just a treasure. Especially positive feedback about what they’re doing, the way they’ve grown. A lot of people have never shown their work before, as they’re afraid to, and it’s especially gratifying when they get positive feedback from talented artists. It will give beginners inspiration to continue. Many artists in this show will actually buy from one another.”
Small on the Wall runs through Aug. 24 at the Mary Karam Art Gallery located at 404 W. Main St. in Denison. It is open to the public Wednesday through Friday from 1-5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The artist reception will be held Saturday from 1-5 p.m., and happens to be close to Karam’s birthday so they will be celebrating all August birthdays with a fiesta cake by Luisa Cruz, catering by Rustico’s and dancing.
“Any day that I interact with an artist is a good day for me,” Karam said. “Of course I want to support myself but it’s been a wonderful path for me to be involved in the art community and the variety of art and different talents.”