Tuesday, April 19, 2005

LOOKING IN

This past weekend was the annual auction to benefit the preschool where my wife Mandy teaches. It should also be noted that my good friend Ward's daughter is in Mandy's class--just in the interest of full disclosure.

In years past, the auction has been a great showcase for some of the spectacularly talented parents and friends of the preschool. I, myself, have had several paintings sell at the auction--a small ego stroke for myself I'm happy to say. Not only is it a celebration of the preschool and the children, it's also a celebration of the wonderfully diverse and talented community we live in.

This year's auction was every bit as festive. The food was great and the music--provided by still another of the talented preschool parents, was simply awesome. There was however one thing that bothered me. The actual event was billed as an auction with an "Art Show Featuring Local Atlanta Artists." The event took up two rooms in the gallery space. One room was reserved for the auction items (which included original and local art by the way) while the other was reserved for the art show. The art show items were intentionally set apart from the auction--for what reason I don't know. I do know that there were several pieces of original art by some local Atlanta artists that were not included in the art show--where pieces were selling for much higher than at the auction.

I know it may seem like I am splitting hairs. I mean who cares, right? The preschool is really the winner in the end. What exactly, James, are you sore about?? I guess it's sort of a cultural thing that I really struggle with--maybe it's just me. It very well could be. I tend to get my panties in a wad over stuff that is, ultimately, pretty silly. But I notice these things you know? I am sensitive to how these things play out. I am sensitive to how easy it is to separate and segregate this art from that--and not just because I aam an atist myself. It just seems unfair that this painting gets a prime spot on the wall and a huge price tag while that piece over there is sent to the "other" room with the "other" stuff. The cool thing would have been to invite ALL those people in the preschool who are artists to participate in the Art Show. Better yet, why not include some of the amazing art work done by the children (the mobiles, quilts, tables) in the art show of "Local Atlanta Artists."

I know I am probably not seeing the forest for the trees. The auction was, as far as I know, an amazing success. The preschool did very well. They are the ones who will ultimately benefit from the auction/art show. I am very happy for that. I only wish it had been a little bit more inclusive with regards to the Art Show portion of the event.

2 comments:

Ward Jenkins said...

I know what you mean, James. I was, at first, happy to see that they had a nice little set up for the art to be displayed. I went up to one of the GPCP workers and said, "Well, here's my piece. Where should I hang it?" And she looked up and said, "Oh -- no, yours goes over in the other room."

"Really? Why?"

"This is some other thing here. The artwork here is 'half-donated', where the artists will recieve some of the profit of the auction. Pretty neat, huh? We get to support local artists at the same time supporting the school."

Whatever. It still reminded me of elementary school and high school where cliques are formed and everybody has their special "group" to be a part of, at the same time alienating others. You're right, James. I'm a local artist, too. What's the difference here? Is it because I didn't have a rep to work out a special deal with the school? How about this: if these artists are so special, why don't they just donate their work COMPLETELY, instead of "half-donating" them? I gave up a piece of art (two, if you count last year's) that I spent a good time conceptualizing, setting up, painting and framing, just to help out a school that my daughter goes to. That's the kind of person I am. I'd do it for any preschool that needs help for fundraising, if asked -- point blank. No half-steppin' there. I'd do it to help out. By creating this little "art gallery" of local artists who are "established," well, they just propagated the notion of art for the select few. Art Snobs, Inc. Again. And for a preschool fund-raiser, no less.

And that's why i hate the gallery scene. I like art for the people. That's why I like art shown in local establishments, where you wouldn't normally see it -- in stores, restuarants, etc. Nothing fancy, just a nice setting, with a nod to the local art scene.

I felt like a little kid again with my dinky little piece of art to give. Oh well. Enough of my little rant.

And I'll still never know who bid on it. If at all.

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