Meet Caitlin McKenna! Caitlin is a local mom and owner of Kelly-McKenna Gallery in Spring Lake, NJ. Read more about Caitlin in our interview below including how her new program, ArtKids, is teaching children how to behave in an adult space like an art museum or art gallery (and also how to think critically about art!), how her friends from college are helping her through parenthood, and some of her favorite spots to visit around town with her daughter, Mae!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town?
I grew up in Glen Ridge, but I have been coming to Monmouth county for as long as I can remember. I went to the beach in Spring Lake every summer, and I ran The Bowl in Holmdel every fall in high school. In 2018, my parents moved to Spring Lake full-time. In 2020, my
husband and I decamped from Brooklyn to Holmdel. In 2022, I opened my art gallery, Kelly-Mckenna Gallery, in Spring Lake on Third Avenue.
Child(ren? and Age(s)?
My daughter’s name is Mae Róisín. She turned 9 months old last week!
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
I love when kids visit my art gallery! We host an event the second Saturday of every month called ArtKids. ArtKids teaches children how to behave in an adult space like an art museum or art gallery, and also how to think critically about art. Kelcie Mack leads the event. She has a lot of experience as a children’s art educator. I love hearing the questions and activities she prepares for the kids each month. Their answers and reactions to the paintings and sculptures are so much fun. It’s the most fun event that we host at the gallery. We post all of the information about ArtKids on the gallery website under the Events tab, if anyone wants to learn more!
Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?
My college girlfriends and I talk almost every day. Our children are all around the same age, so we trade tips and offer support. Today, we were discussing afternoon snacks for toddlers that are relatively mess free. The winning suggestion was chicken meatballs. Lately, we have been running our failures of family Christmas photos through Photoshop Beta to see if artificial intelligence can make our squinting, frowning, screaming, blurry children smile. Spoiler alert: it cannot. I feel so lucky to have this group of women around me for top notch advice, commiserating, and laughs!
Favorite things to do with your kids?
Mae loves to visit the grocery store – some many lights, smells, colors and textures to experience! I love watching her appraise all of the items on the shelves in a state of awe. There is a famous photograph by German artist Andreas Gursky of an American supermarket. Gursky uses the image of the grocery store to marvel at the immediacy and abundance of modern life. Mae has helped me come to understand this seminal work of art in a new and deeper ways.
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share!
I am the founder and CEO of Kelly-McKenna Gallery in Spring Lake. I showcase artworks by promising emerging artists whose careers demonstrate the hallmarks of career success. Last week, I opened an exhibition of interactive embroidered sequins artworks by Swiss and
Malaysian artist Olga Titus. The pieces are designed to be touched and interacted with, so children are welcome! The exhibition is on view now through January 21, 2024.
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
I just hired a photographer to capture Mae’s recent baptism via a recommendation from The Monmouth Moms! I saw Nicole Todd’s (Sea Salt + Honey Photography) gorgeous images on your Instagram account and reached out to her. One of my favorite posts is the one about your favorite trails. I am also really looking forward to the 2024 Monmouth Moms Summit!
What is your favorite restaurant in Monmouth County?
Everything at Nicholas Barrel & Roost is delicious every time. Mae prefers Nicholas Creamery.
What is your favorite activity to do with your children in Monmouth County?
Mae loves Dearborn Market or Delicious Orchards followed by a visit to the Hobby Lobby. There is nothing more fun than eating cider donuts and picking out sparkly things for DYI holiday decorations.
What are your Mom Goals?
The raise a little girl who knows her value, stands up for herself, and stands up for others!
1308 Third Avenue, Suite #1A
Spring Lake, NJ 07762