Thursday, August 20, 2015
Mo Money, Less Problems
Part boutique, part gallery, Revelry has succeeded as both. But it wasn’t always easy – their original location in the Highlands on Barret Avenue suffered from the closure of neighbor Lynn’s Paradise Café, which led to their current location on East Market Street in NuLu.
Fueled by a mission to make local art accessible and further supported by sales of handmade jewelry, home decor, screenprints, photography, gifts and more, Revelry boss Mo McKnight Howe is celebrating her fifth year in business this Saturday evening from 7 to 10 p.m. with a party and new art featuring Mike Maydak’s “Heritage” exhibition. Maydak was an artist who took a chance on showing at the fledgling business from its earliest days, and this weekend’s activities will highlight how both the art and the business have evolved at Revelry. I caught up with Howe to ask why, where, which and when.
Q: How has a unique, locally focused business survived in these crazy times?
A: Hard work, a local-loving community and a new location. It’s not always easy, but no small business is. Louisville has a wealth of incredible artistic talent and a strong contingent of people who support local arts and business.
Q: Have you learned some painful lessons along the way? Was the post-Lynn’s period on Baxter the worst of times for the shop?
A: Every small business owner goes through thin, challenging times. Every day is a lesson. Moving to NuLu drastically changed the course for Revelry. It’s been an incredible journey, and the future for Rev is bright.
Q: Who are some of your personal favorite artists who have shown and/or sold there?
A: Right now, Ewa Perz is killing the oil game. She just dropped off 10 of her newest oil paintings and I covet them all. Julio Cesar, a master oil painter, is constantly going to impress me with what he is creating. And, of course, Lyndi Lou, who helps me curate quite a few shows at Revelry, is always going to be a favorite. Honestly, we have over 115 hand-selected artists showing in here at one time. We chose them because we love their work and admire their talent. They are all my favorite!
Q: Tell us about Mike Maydak and his relationship with the business.
A: Mike Maydak was the first artist we featured at Revelry’s grand opening five years ago. He’s most known for his painting of an exaggerated 400 W. Main building (the Aegon building), which sold the night of the grand opening. I asked him to come back for the five-year anniversary to go full circle with this thing. I’m looking forward to showing his newest paintings and prints.
Q: What kind of special treats will you be sharing with the people to celebrate this big birthday?
A: Five days of discounts leading up to the anniversary. We never do discounts because it’s hard with handmade things, but we want to say thanks to everyone who has supported us over the years! We will also have cupcakes, drinks and a special art project for those who want to partake. Should be a night of revelry! Get it?
Q: How do you feel about the evolution of the NuLu area? Has it peaked or is there still more room for growth?
A: NuLu’s growth is far from over. Louisville’s urban core is key to the city’s growth, and NuLu is the natural gateway to a downtown that’s rapidly evolving. There’s five new businesses opening here in the next month! It’s an exciting time to be a part of this community. My husband Scotty and I recently bought a home in Butchertown and have fully embraced NuLu, both professionally and personally. I’m glad we made the move.
Q: Where do you buy art outside of Revelry?
A: I buy art in all sorts of places. I bought a small Shane Hull two weeks ago at Chuck Swanson’s because I like supporting other local galleries. I’ll pick up pieces at Mudpies Studio, the Flea, Louisville Visual Art to support them, and I buy art when I travel to remember the places I’ve been. Scotty and I are still working on our collection; we’ve got a long way to go!
Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis for LVA.
c. 2015 The Voice-Tribune