We had the good fortune of connecting with Katie Richarme and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Katie, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
The Dancing Rabbit Gallery has a mission of celebrating and educating. We believe that diversity in cultures is to be celebrated, as we all learn different things from different cultures. By educating people, we open them to a much richer understanding of the nuances that shape and guide different cultures. And when we know more about people, we are much more accepting and understanding of the differences. The rich fabric of our culture is woven from many diverse threads, and each thread contributes vibrancy and strength to our amazing tapestry.
What should our readers know about your business?
The Dancing Rabbit Gallery is an art gallery that focuses on authentic Native American art from the American Southwest. Founded in 1980 by my parents, the Gallery is reaching its 40th birthday next month. I changed the business model in 2012 to place the Gallery only in the cloud, freeing me up to travel more extensively throughout the Southwest and develop and extend relationships with Native American artists, their families, their cultures, and the rich history of this region of the United States. Moving to an online-only format was quite challenging, particularly back in 2012 when electronic platforms and online purchasing was much less developed. This is particularly true in the art world, where people like to hold and examine the art before buying. So moving customers to an online shopping experience required not only a significant amount of educating them on what to look for in authentic pieces of art, but also providing them with an enormous amount of trust in the Gallery. Each piece of art in the Gallery undergoes an extensive amount of research into provenance, which separates it from the online auction sites and their dubious quality. We also buy directly from artists, helping us to verify authenticity as well as pass along some of the fascinating back stories of the creation of their art. We focus primarily on pottery and jewelry, with a secondary focus on fine art, sculpture, baskets, weavings, and Zuni fetishes. Everything in our Gallery is authentic, made by Native American artists of the American Southwest. We have written two books of our travels and encounters with artists, locations, and interesting people, and also two small books focused on contemporary jewelry and pottery. Three more small books are underway, looking at fine art, Zuni fetishes, and sculpture. Our brand is built on celebrating Native American artists and cultures, and on the authenticity of the works that we offer. It has stood the test of time for forty years, and I fully expect this mission to continue into the future.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The City of Southlake is an amazing gem of shopping and neighborhoods. It is centrally located to the Metroplex, opening up a wide variety of options. Recently we had a friend visit from New Zealand, and we took her to the Fort Worth Stockyards to see the cattle drive, the historic downtown area, and (of course) Billy Bob’s. Another pair of dear friends came in from London, and we had a grand time visiting local restaurants like Southlake’s Feedstore BBQ, Brio Tuscan Grille, and Perry’s in Grapevine. Grapevine’s historic downtown is right next door, and well suited for a walk up and down Main Street. We enjoy stopping in at Tolbert’s for a nice bowl of Texas Red chili or jalapeno soup, and picking up a bottle or two of excellent olive oil at the Grapevine Olive Oil Company. To the west of Southlake, we enjoy stopping at Cynthia and Justin’s Oliva Restaurant in Keller. The wine selections are outstanding, Justin’s Michelin Star experience is evident in the dishes coming out of the kitchen, and it is always nice to get a warm welcome from Cynthia and the staff. Depending on what is offered, a trip to the Fort Worth Bass Performance Hall or to Dallas’ Morton Meyerson Symphony Center always provide an excellent upscale evening out. The Dallas Summer Musicals at Fair Park are quite fun.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The credit for my upbringing goes to my parents, Pat and Jo McClain, who instilled in me a strong work ethic and drive for honor and authenticity early in life. My husband Michael is my biggest champion, working with me to elevate The Dancing Rabbit Gallery to even greater heights. Somewhat surprisingly, I am often aided by a broad network of gallery owners and subject matter experts who freely give of their time and knowledge to make sure that Native American art is represented in the most accurate and authentic way.
Photographs taken by Michael and Katie Richarme.