art · slice of life

Garage Gallery

I returned from a marvelous writing retreat at the Highlights Foundation last night to a sick child.  As soon as I heard her wet cough and looked at her red-rimmed eyes, I knew I had to cancel the school visit I was planning for today.  While I kept thinking that “reality bites,” my most important job is Mom.  So here we are, at home, exhausted (because I slept with her since she was coughing a lot last night) at 10 a.m. on a Monday.  We’re just biding our time awaiting her 3:30 p.m. doctor’s appointment so we can figure out what’s really wrong.

With nothing much on the docket for the day, I decided it was time to hang up some of Isabelle’s preschool artwork. Let me admit to something my mother thinks is quite terrible.  I throw out a lot of Isabelle’s artwork.  (There.  I said it.  In a public forum.)  You know why?  There’s SO much of it.  I cannot save it all.  There are a few pieces I save in a keepsake container in our basement, but the sheer volume of it is too much to physically store.

Just so you don’t think I’m a completely horrible person, know that I take photos of the things I toss and save it in an Evernote notebook.  See:

Click on the image to enlarge.
Click on the image to enlarge.

This morning I decided it was time to STOP letting the artwork pile up. So I asked Isabelle, “Would you like to help me display your artwork in the garage?”

“In da gawaj?” she asked.

“Yes, on the walls of the garage.  This way you can see your works of art every day when we come and go from the house.”

She considered it.  “Okay! I’ll help you!”

“Put on some shoes,” I commanded.

“Can I weah silwuh shoes?” (Silver shoes are her part of the signature look she’s created for herself.)

“Sure, you can wear your silver shoes into the garage.”

And so she did.

IMG_3551 (1)
Isabelle and her dolly pose in our garage gallery.

We spent the next 20 minutes creating a gallery of her work.  From the life-size Isabellsaurus she created with her teacher during their class’s dinosaur unit to the paintings she creates on the easel to a glittery skull she made at Halloween, it’s all up on our garage walls.  She helped me hold the paper straight while I placed the tape loops behind the artwork.  She helped me choose the places where each piece would hang on the wall.  She brought some of her stuffed animals out to the garage so they could admire her work on the gallery.

When we were finished, I asked her what she thought.

“I love it!” she responded.

“Would you like to hang more of your artwork in this garage gallery as you bring it home from school?”

Her face lit up.  “Yes!”

So apparently, the garage gallery will be a compromise, of sorts, for us going-forward. It’ll be a place for Isabelle to proudly display her preschool artwork.  And it’ll be in a place I can both live with (i.e., not on the walls of our home) and not feel guilty about (i.e., by tossing).  I think this garage gallery will be a win-win, don’t you?


27 thoughts on “Garage Gallery

  1. I throw out the majority of Molly’s artwork, and I don’t even take photos of it to catalog. I swear they send home any piece of paper that the kids even touch with an art supply. I framed two pieces of colorful artwork that she made, they hang above her craft table. Other things hang on the refrigerator for a bit, or get put into “the pile.” I love that Isabelle has silver shoes, Molly has red sparkly shoes that she used to wear with everything, whether it matched, or not. I hope Isabelle feels better soon.

  2. Oh Stacey, you win the Monday morning clever award.. who thinks of something so brilliant on a Monday? Especially after being away and underslept?!

  3. I love the idea of hanging Isabelle’s artwork in the garage. I’m sure it makes her happy and proud to see it displayed that way. Way to go Stacey!

  4. I love so many things about this Slice, Stacey! I love that Isabelle has a “signature look.” That made me chuckle. I also love the Isabellsaraus! And I love your creativity… I mean, a garage gallery? What a wonderful idea!

    P.S. I toss my kids’ artwork, too. Sometimes they find it in the trash. “How did that get in there?” I exclaim. “I’m so glad you found it before it got tossed out!”

  5. Such a fun idea. I am glad that you two were able to enjoy it together.

    My favorite line was your thoughts about missing your school visit but knowing being a mom is your most important job.

  6. Good for you! I love the fact that she has a “signature look” AND that you found a great way to make her feel special while NOT cluttering up the whole house. I tossed an awful lot of art along the way as well. (I found it too late for me to use, but there is an app that will also store childhood art photos)

  7. I love the idea of a garage gallery. And I think an Evernote gallery is a perfect way to catalogue her artistic endeavors. Love the silver shoes/signature look too! I hope Isabella is feeling better!

  8. What a tremendous idea. A garage gallery. How many children get a gallery??? I saved a lot of artwork and stuff from my son’s childhood and it is still in my basement in spite of my pleas that now that he has his own home could he take it there. It would have been much better to have made a gallery.

  9. Such a great idea! There may be more garage galleries popping up in the world soon. I hope the doctor appointment went well and that Isabelle is on the mend. It says something about you that you would be willing to have a gallery in the garage. The walls of our garage are lined with shelves holding boxes of stuff.

  10. The only judgement Stacey is what an awesome idea! What will you do when you run out of garage wall space? ;-).

  11. What a great idea, Stacey. The fact that Isabelle helped plan out the display gives her ownership in it as well. What a welcoming sight for her each time she returns home.

  12. I’m absolutely stealing this. I had fully intended to keep a digital log of artwork, but I feel like there is just SO MUCH. When would we look at it? Is that something that my kid would judge me for doing (or not?) I did buy a few frames to rotate work through in the playroom, but my friends have huge displays of work. I could never imagine hanging it all. Thanks for sharing!!

  13. A garage gallery? Brilliant! I wish I had thought of that myself! I keep the more special pieces of artwork that come home from my children but admittedly, many end up being “recycled.” Way to go for thinking of this one! And the signature silver shoe is priceless! Love it!

  14. Garage Gallery with rotating exhibition is a clever solution for the ever growing art work pile.

  15. Now that is a fabulous idea!! And what a wonderful way you explained that she could then see it as you came and went everyday. I did not save all my kids artwork, and of course back then I couldn’t even digitize it. So hats off to you!

  16. Yes – what a wonderful idea. PS I threw out lots and lots and lots and lots of artwork, school papers, good test grade papers, and even piles of wonderful report cards. The stuff is not the memories although some stuff inspires memories!

  17. What a great idea, Stacey! (Is this when I confess to being terrible about throwing things away and that still have stacks of my 33 & 30 year old children’s artwork in the attic?) Can’t wait to hear about your time at Highlights!

  18. I love the garage gallery idea! I threw out a lot of artwork, too, tucking it waaaay down in the trash so no one would discover it there. Now I know what I can do with Clara’s artwork down the road!

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