The Kayo Gallery celebrated their sixth anniversary last month and like many locally-owned and operated businesses, they have changed the community that surrounds them for the better.  I sat down with Shilo Jackson and Davina Pallone, the passionate women who keep the lights on and the art hung, to find out why they do it and what the future looks like for Broadway’s flagship art gallery.

: Ladies, what was your favorite show since taking the helm two years ago?
Shilo Jackson: Each show has been so unique and so much fun. The Oyster Pirates was definitely a highlight. Working with newer artists like David Habben and Dan Christoffersen was a treat, and bringing artists in from outside of the state and country––The Windy City show from Chicago and Christian Rothenhagen from Germany was so much fun. Look for more of that in the future.
Davina Pallone: I’m really excited for this May’s show, featuring a collaborative gallery take-over by Cara Despain and Mary Toscano. Last year, I really loved Amber Heaton’s back-wall installation of deep-sea creatures. That was really sweet to live with for the month, and I missed it when it was taken down. Kenny Riches’ show was also great and had it all: painting, installation, video, retail!

SLUG: What’s the hardest part of owning and operating a gallery?
SJ: I don’t think people realize that we pay out of our own pockets to keep Kayo going. Our overhead is low, but in the last two years we’ve only had a handful of months where sales were significant enough to cover rent. It can sometimes make it difficult to stay objective when picking shows because we want to bring in artists who will have sales, but at the same time don’t want that to dictate what we show. Lucky for me I have good taste in art and that’s what I go by frequently when picking shows.
DP: We need volunteers! We have a list a mile long for ways to improve our operations, expand our reach and better represent our artists, but we need about five more of ourselves to get it all done.

SLUG: What do you have planned for Kayo in 2010?
SJ: This year we have a plethora of new artists along with some of our standard shows (Round 6, Print Exchange, the 24 Hour Show, Small Works, Box, Paper, Scissor). Check out our website for the line-up. Late last year, we decided to use the window space for exhibit space, and we still have some openings for 2010, so submit your entries! We’re also looking at adding classes, critique groups and having memberships for pre-show privileges.

Kayo’s annual Print Exchange, hosted by SLUG alumni Camilla Taylor, opens March 19 with a reception from 6-9 pm followed by a special “Coffee with the Artist” on Saturday, March 20 sponsored by NoBrow.  Five of the participating artists will talk briefly about their work and their print in the show, along with a short demo of some of the techniques.  Both the reception and talk are free.

This year’s theme is Liminal, by definition: “of or relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process. 2) occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.” Each artist will have 15 6” x 6” prints available for purchase for the incredible price of $20 each. Confirmed artists include Camilla Taylor, Trent Call, Claire Taylor, Cein Watson, Sri Whipple, Paul Kaloper, Steve Jansen, Kimiko Miyoshi, Meg Charlier, Leia Bell and Amber Heaton.

To keep our galleries going strong and Salt Lake’s artistic community thriving, attend the monthly Gallery Stroll and support local art!