Two minutes with Kathi Herrin, owner of Real Gallery

Kathi Herrin 
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When local artist Kathi Herrin walked into the space at 2824 Real Street – what was once a retail space for the Lone Star School of Music – she knew instantly that it was the perfect place for her to open an art gallery. There was ample free parking, lots of space, a retail storefront, cozy seating areas, and best of all there was little work that needed to be done – she’d be able to open the gallery right away. And she did: On May 31, Kathi moved into Real Gallery. Twenty artists showed up to install their exhibits, and Real Gallery officially opened to the public on June 1. That Other Paper’s Kristin Hillery had a quick chat with Kathi Herrin about her new gallery, which features original works from both local and touring artists with pieces in 2D and 3D.

That Other Paper How did you decide on the location? Did you look at a ton of spaces and just sort of know when you walked in that it was “the one”?

Kathi Herrin I wasn’t very happy with the small spaces and large price tags that I was finding on Congress downtown and in SoCo. I looked in Oak Hill where I live but nothing was available that would work. I was looking for a gallery/office space. I found this space listed on Craigslist. The price was great in comparison to other properties that I had priced, so I contacted the landlord, drove by, and then took a tour. I consulted with my husband, Brad, and my very close artist friends for their opinion and advice. Their responses were extremely helpful in my decision to lease this space.

That Other Paper It seems like the perfect area for a gallery, too.

KH I love that we’re in the same neighborhood with Slugfest, Arts on Real, and Flatbed Press. This is a wonderful collection of creative venues in close proximity. Easy access – and worth the trip to see all the venues.

TOP How’d you decide what the set-up would be in the gallery?

KH It was already set up as a retail location for the Lone Star School of Music – they had decided to relocate. The main gallery has gallery style track lighting already installed. The owner of Lone Star School of Music wanted to lease the space as an art gallery, and I was looking for an art gallery – his vision was my vision. I was looking for a space that I could walk into and immediately begin operating the gallery. I put down the deposit in April and began my publicity campaign and recruitment of artists to exhibit at the space. I moved in on May 31, 20 artists showed up that day to install their exhibits throughout the facility, which includes the main gallery and all the corridors throughout, and we opened to the public on June 1 with a five-hour event that included live music, refreshments, artists, and guests that steadily streamed in during the entire event. It was a grand opening.

TOP What do you think makes a gallery successful?

KH If their mission is accomplished, whatever that may be. Success is an environment of learning, networking, exchange of ideas, a place where artists can congregate, share and explore their talents and gain confidence in their art, their creativity. Success is a positive response from the artists and their guests. Success is a place where guests can view works, speak to the artists, and enjoy the magical and inspiring atmosphere that comes from this communication. Success is all of the galleries working together to bring our artists to the forefront to share their visions, their works with all of us.

Visit Real Gallery Hours: Sat: 11am–6pm; Sun: noon–5pm; days by appointment. The gallery is located at 2824 Real St.