Megan Lou Gallant, 36, says she has two creative avenues — one as an object maker and one as an experience maker.
A graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute, Gallant has a variety of experiences on her professional resume. She has taught art to prisoners, cultivated drawing exchanges between kids in India and Kansas City, and created permaculture systems in St. Joseph with her former husband.
“I’m interested in how I can go into the world and use creativity to create unique or meaningful experiences for other people,” Gallant says.
She is currently the artist in residence at Hotel Phillips, the fifth to occupy the title and the second to inherit the studio space overlooking 12th Street that comes with it. Gallant’s domain — until the end of August, at least — is just off of the main lobby and filled to the brim with art projects.
Most of these are Gallant’s own works. She’s interested in things that come with their own stories or sense of time, she says. These objects might be broken buttons or rusty safety pins or old teabags, or they could be natural things like flowers or leaves.
“For whatever reason, those things sort of capture me,” Gallant says. “I think they’re like the little beautiful lost things in the world that everyone looks past, and so I tend to collect those things, and then I’ll make little different sculptural objects out of them, little collages.”
Aside from these sculptures, or “little visual poems” as she calls them, Gallant has a space in her studio filled with things not of her own creating. Her current project, HeartThreads, utilizes the art of everyone who wishes to participate.
In keeping with her practice of exploring relationships through creativity, Gallant invites anyone who’s interested to use self-hardening clay to create a representation of a meaningful relationship in his or her life. Your skill level is irrelevant — it’s more about the process.
When finished, Gallant will thread all of the pieces into a larger piece, which will be displayed in the window of her studio at Hotel Phillips.
“It’s been a moving process for me, getting to hear each person speak about what these relationships mean to them,” Gallant says. “They open up in a way that I think surprises themselves even.”
The final project will go up for display in mid-March, when the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts’ 50th annual conference will be in town.
“We just really wanted to be a part of that in a quiet way,” Gallant says. “How can I create inroads and bridges between what’s happening in the hotel and happening outside in the community? How can I sort of weave it all together?”
Anyone who wishes to add to HeartThreads can visit Gallant at Hotel Phillips or contact her via her Facebook page, facebook.com/artistmeganlougallant.