Thank you, Kalamazoo!

Finally: Art on the Mall is over!

I’m telling you, this is an exhausting event. Twelve hours on Friday, 8 on Saturday, not counting all the set up, carrying, placing, and break taking.

This year was a lot different from last. We didn’t really have anything to sell last year, and we were brand new to Kalamazoo, so it was more about meeting people and getting the word out about sessions. And it worked. I met a few people who became clients (of whom I’m very fond), and this year a few of them came by to our new booth.

This was also the year that was the official unveiling of the entire Chalk Art series: printed, matted, and framed. I wasn’t expecting to sell a lot (but we did pretty well); mostly I wanted to get reaction and see how well they would be received.

They were received with much enthusiasm!

The best thing that happened over these past two days, though, is the people who came to talk to me about their adopted dogs.

I heard so many stories about rescued dogs, some living, some passed on. Some people wanted to buy a piece that reminded them of their dog; many people seemed so happy to just find a place where they could come and tell their stories. And all the stories were so great and so touching.

The puppy who was being mistreated by a neighbor and kept crossing a busy road to get to his eventual adopter’s house. A dog who was adopted after his owner saw him online and drove 2 states away to get him. A cat who was cherished and buried on a friend’s farm after she passed away. A couple of dogs who were, by the owners’ account, “complete assholes,” but so loved. Dogs who surprised their owners with their quick-witted games, and love of routine that settled the whole family into a new mindset. A veterinary student who didn’t yet have a dog, but who was exciting about helping them and their owners (and whose roommate was by the day before to buy a piece!).

I got to make a lot of new dog friend and received loads of kisses (many on the mouth, which led to funny grimaces from their owners).

Some people had seen my work online already, passed onto their Facebook pages by someone else, or shared through email. A couple of people who were *so* excited to see that I was there and was local.

I saw a small town parade (and got way more excited about it than I thought I would), and the whole weekend made me feel like I was becoming to be part of the community. It was  lovely. <3

In the coming week, I’m going to put all the pieces in my Etsy shop, and I’ll update here when that’s done. But today, I’m spent. I am *so* tired and *so* sore; I’m hanging on the couch with my two neglected dogs who are so happy to have me home. We’re watching “Rosemary’s Baby” and I’m thinking of all the people I hope will contact me soon (owner of Chicken & Waffles, I’m looking at you) because I want to hear more stories. I want to hear all of the stories.

Mostly, the past two days made me love #Kalamazoo; its people and its dogs. It was quite an adventure.

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