A new gallery is added to the Dubuque art scene
WHAT: The opening night of the Art Factory
WHEN: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, March 25
OR: 120 E. Ninth St.
IN LINE: artfactorydbq.com
Hieyler Talley is in love with color.
Just look at his latest creations to realize that.
Vibrant pinks collide with bursts of orange, forming a perfect marriage between the hues. Next, a deep blue washes over a canvas, splashes of color emerging from the darkness.
“I love the color,” Talley said, bursting into enthusiastic laughter. “When I was working on my art thesis, my teachers said, ‘OK. How about we try black and white? I just don’t think I have it in me.
The eight large-scale paintings that are part of a three-year-in-progress collection adorn the interior of a new gallery space perched atop a building in the Millwork neighborhood of Dubuque.
The Art Factory, as Talley dubbed it, will open at 120 E. Ninth St. on Friday, March 25.
After falling in love with The Mandolin Inn on Loras Boulevard, Talley and her husband, Wendell, moved to Dubuque a year ago, turning the former bed-and-breakfast into a permanent home.
“We had never heard of this place called Dubuque,” Talley said with a laugh. “We have lived all over the United States but had never really visited this region. It is so beautiful.”
But amid COVID-19, she’s found it difficult to find outlets for her work to be shown in a new community.
“It can be difficult to break into a new art market as a new or emerging artist,” said Talley, who previously called California, Texas and Minneapolis, among other places, home. “I got to a point where I was tired of asking permission.”
So Talley decided to embark on a lifelong dream of opening his own gallery. The space she fell on features a unique curvature in the ceiling that crowns exposed brick walls, hardwood floors, and a wall of windows that allows natural light to flood in.
His vision of space content is somewhat new for the region. Alongside her art, she intends to showcase the work of just one additional artist each month, which she thinks the intimate space will lend itself well to.
“I could open it up and host a lot of artists,” Talley said. “But I wanted to create an accessible space – where I could not only see my work, but also the work of a local student or other local artist who might need that kind of opportunity to develop their CV and make known. .”
Talley said these opportunities proved essential to his career as an artist.
Tapping into a creative mind from elementary school, Talley said she dabbled in everything from jewelry making to her true love: printmaking.
“I always wanted to do something,” she said. “But my mother didn’t want me to major in art. She wanted me to do something that made money. So I studied psychology.
However, mastering the inner workings of the mind did not hold Talley’s interest. She eventually found her way back to art, pursuing an MFA in painting at the Savannah (Ga.) College of Art and Design.
“I was in my 40s,” she said. “It was time for me to pursue my passion.”
Painting professionally for 10 years, Talley said her work is drawn from a highly emotional experience that uses mixed media and aims to explore a place in abstraction for black artists.
“I don’t draw or plan anything in advance,” she said. “I just let it come as it comes.”
It’s an inspiring technique that Talley hopes to share with artists who are still on the verge of perfecting their craft.
Plans for the site include educational and outreach opportunities, with a variety of intimate workshops from April through August.
Talley’s husband called his wife’s efforts inspiring, adding that he hopes it’s something the community will support.
“Watching Hieyler over the past few years complete her master’s degree while schooling and raising three daughters has been an inspiration to our entire family,” he said. “Hieyler is happiest when she creates and shares her love of beauty and color. I know she intends to make The Art Factory a vibrant place in Dubuque, and she generally achieves what she sets out to accomplish. I hope the people of Dubuque will support her.
Talley said she hopes the new gallery will help promote the engagement of local patrons, perhaps introducing them to new works and new creators, opening the door to the future growth of the city’s art scene.
“When I lived in Minneapolis, there were thousands of artists,” she said. “Art was such a part of the culture of the city, and the city did an amazing job supporting it and integrating it into everyone’s lives. I still get to know local artists. But Dubuque definitely has the infrastructure in place and the potential to become an art destination. I just hope to be a pin on this map.