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Erin Cluley and family

How Gallery Owner + Dallas Mom Erin Cluley Spends Her Saturday

this mom puts art (and her day) on display

Erin Cluley is the owner and director of Erin Cluley Gallery, a contemporary art gallery in the Dallas Design District. Originally from Wichita Falls, Cluley lives in Dallas with her husband Tearlach (who works in the film industry), their son Lachlan, 2, and dog Eleanor. Tearlach is Australian, so the family typically heads to Sydney twice a year to visit relatives; in fact, they just got back right before the coronavirus situation really escalated.

7AM Tearlach gives me a loving nudge telling me it’s time to get the day going. Lachlan’s awake and chatting to himself in his room. I head to make toast, fruit, tea and milk—a pretty standard family-style breakfast in bed we do most Saturdays and Sundays.

7:10AM I bring breakfast to our bedroom, and Tearlach goes in to get Lachie. This is one of my favorite times of the week. No distractions, the three of us together. We put music on, eat, talk and laugh.

7:40AM Lachlan starts getting dressed for swim class.

7:55AM I send my guys out the door for swim. Time to get myself ready for the day. I work in the gallery on Saturdays, and we have an opening reception tonight for a new exhibition.

7:56AM What should I wear for the opening? I’m always searching for the perfect combo of comfy and chic.

8:10AM Shower, throw on jeans and gather all my things for the day.

8:35AM Out the door to meet up with Tearlach and Lachlan.

8:40AM I arrive just in time to watch the last five minutes of Lachlan’s swim class. Seeing his little eyes light up when he sees me will never get old. Class ends, and I help Tearlach wrangle Lachlan.

8:50AM I put Lachie in my car, and we head over (in two cars) to one of our favorite Australian coffee shops—LDU on Fitzhugh.

9:05AM Our friend Mark, LDU owner, greets us at the register. Two almond milk lattes, a babyccino (a very common Aussie treat for kids—steamed milk dusted with cinnamon or cocoa) and a ham and cheese toastie for the three of us to share. Lachlan finds his usual seat on the bench at the front of the shop. He loves people watching.

9:45AM I kiss both my guys goodbye and head to the gallery. Tearlach and Lachlan head to the polls for early voting. It’s my husband’s first presidential primary vote after becoming a U.S. citizen last summer!

10:05AM Arrive at the gallery and look over the space, making a quick punch list of what needs to be accomplished before tonight. Things look great, so it should be smooth sailing.

11AM I take a break from moving artworks around and tidying up to post a few stories on Instagram. Then back to cleaning.

11:40AM One of our River Bend gallery neighbors stops in to see the new exhibition. They have an opening tonight as well. We are anticipating a pretty big crowd.

12PM My right hand, Krista, arrives. We discuss the agenda for the day. She knows the ropes, so she hits the ground running.

12:10PM Make myself a cup of tea. Look through emails. Text my husband and double-check that everything went smoothly with voting. All good! Lachlan is down for his afternoon nap.

1:30PM We are in good shape for the opening. I realize I haven’t eaten, so I grab a salad at Eatzi’s.

2:45PM I notice a new business in the Design District selling indoor plants—Raíz Plant Studio. I go in and introduce myself. Women-owned and -run! I buy a plant for the gallery’s front desk, welcome them to the neighborhood and wish them well.

3PM Back at the gallery. Krista has the space looking perfect. I post a few more stories as a reminder that we have an opening tonight. Ah, the calm before the storm. I sit down and go through emails again.

3:45PM One of the gallery’s represented artists, Zeke Williams, comes by. He helps with our vinyl signage. He and Krista quickly get our signage hung. I comment on Zeke’s fabulous (entirely) purple sneakers and chat.

4PM Time to change and touch up my makeup. Inevitably people start showing up at 4:30 for a 5pm opening.

4:30PM We ice down the wine and water. Take care of any last minute tidying up. Sure enough, visitors begin to arrive!

5PM Tearlach and Lachlan walk in the door. Lachie runs to me as if he hasn’t seen me in weeks. Lachie has spent a lot of time in the gallery since he was a baby and walks around like he owns the place. I love it.

8:15PM My feet hurt and I’m (the good kind of) tired. We had a busy night and sold a few pieces from the exhibition. We pack up any unopened wine and start cleaning up.

8:20PM I let Krista lock up and call Tearlach to see if I should pick up my own dinner. Turns out he and Lachlan went out for pizza and saved some slices.

8:35PM I get home and change into PJs. I put my pizza in the microwave and turn the baby monitor screen on. We hardly use it anymore, but I can’t bring myself to disconnect it. I love looking at my sleeping boy.

8:40PM With my leftover pizza and a glass of Champagne, I sit down on the couch with Tearlach. We catch up on how each of our days went. I miss them on Saturdays, but I also love that they have this time together.

8:55PM There is a new episode of Modern Family in the queue, so we put that on.

9:30PM It’s been a long day. It’s early for a Saturday night, but we both head to bed. Ten years ago, things would have been very different. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Fast Facts

Favorite movie The Goonies
Where she turns for retail therapy Australian designer Alistair Trung
First celebrity crush James Dean
Favorite cheap meal with the family Zoës Kitchen in Lakewood
Best purchase ever My six-month match.com subscription in 2012. It led me to my husband.
On girls night out, we’ll find her Dining at a restaurant where we go all out and fully indulge—our latest stop was Bullion.
Words she lives by “Never give up”—my 92-year-old father-in-law’s email signature
Mom bag The last tote bag I picked up at an art fair
Ongoing project My business—the gallery is always evolving.
Guaranteed to make her laugh My storytelling dad
Guaranteed to make her cry Thinking about my son’s birth
Favorite gift to give friends Tim Tams (Australian chocolate biscuits)
If she had to change careers, she’d be a Professional traveler
Hostess tip Make what you do for guests look effortless. It’s simple, but it enables guests to relax and know that our main goal is to hang out and spend time together.

Photo courtesy of Allison V Smith.