At Wally Workman Gallery, it’s by appointment only


Gallery owner Wally Workman has been busy closing deals despite being closed. The veteran Austin gallerist is celebrating 40 years of repping artists later this summer, and while her West 6th Street operation has shown little sign of slowing down, the door has been locked since March.

The gallery’s openings and artist talks have been put on hold of course, but a steady rotation of monthly exhibitions have continued during the shutdown. The website even offers a virtual experience of each show, often with an accompanying video of the artist briefly discussing his or her work.

A pandemic relief effort has also been set up online to help raise money for the gallery’s artists, including a poster sale which currently features over 35 exclusive designs.

“That’s my favorite thing to do, write a check to an artist,” Workman tells me.

Visits are by appointment only and can be booked through the website. Just remember to wear your mask if heading over. Though some individuals are coming in simply to see the show, the majority are looking to buy, Workman says: “A lot of it has to do with being stuck at home looking at your laptop.”

Wally and her team encourage clients to pick out what they’d like to see ahead of time; doing so also helps to keep interactions in the space minimal.

“Our website is very up to date with our inventory, she explains. “It’s very transparent with sizes, medium, and pricing, so they know everything before they come in the door.”

The current show, which is untitled, features oil paintings by Patrick Puckett, and runs until July 3. If getting to the gallery before the show closes isn’t possible (or practical) the entire exhibit can be viewed online, complete with a virtual walk-through with the artist himself.

One of Puckett’s paintings from the show, “The Waitress,” has been included in the “Support the Artists” poster sale. A painting which seems to depict the ennui of being out of work, with said waitress sitting around the house. So far, 49 have sold.

“Most of them have been shipped to Mississippi, where he is originally from,” says Workman.

“I need to write Patrick’s mother a thank you note. Everyone she knows bought one.”

Barbara Purcell
Barbara Purcell
Barbara Purcell is an arts and culture writer based in Austin. She is the author of Black Ice: Poems (Fly by Night Press, 2006). In addition to Sightlines, her work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle, Canadian Art, Glasstire, and Tribes Magazine. She is a graduate of Skidmore College.

Related articles