A local assisted living facility approached me this past spring about displaying some of my photography in their home. I was flattered. Then the lady went on to explain that due to budget cuts, their decorating budget had almost been eliminated, so they were trying to be "creative". I wasn't exactly sure how to take that, but I said I would be happy to loan them some of my work.
Two weeks ago while Mama was in CCU, they called and asked about the photography. I briefly explained that I was "tied up" at the moment, but if it was OK with her, I would be back in touch shortly, but I was definitely still planning to loan them some of my work.
Last week, I got around to meeting with her. She showed me the hall where she would like to display my work. "We plan to have an art show to show case local artists. We are giving each artist a hall or area for their work." She and I walked down the hall which currently had framed English country scenes every twenty five feet or so.
"How many pieces do you want?" I asked. "As many as you think will decorate this hall." "And, do you have a certain theme in mind? Like all beach scenes? Are prints of Charleston? Or the low country?" "I think just a mix will do." I got the feeling either she had not really put much thought into it or she didn't care. "What if I bring you several pieces and you can choose the ones you feel will best fit." "That will do. And, you can help us decide where each piece will be hung." This was important to me because being my work I wanted it staged to reflect some cohesiveness. The canvas of the Red Car in Havana does not play well next to a Pink Rose Bud.
I left the home, not really sure what I was tasked with delivering. At my home, I went through my surplus supply of framed work. Having more smaller pieces, I was concerned that they would need more larger pieces. After all, the current pieces they had were much larger than anything I had. So, I went to the gallery and gathered up some excess larger pieces I had.
I made a list of the work I was going to take to the home. (I am fairly anal about keeping up with inventory.) And, it was quite a list. Knowing I would be bringing some of it back, I wasn't concerned. There were many larger pieces and the hall was only so long. And, they did not really have a use for so many small pieces. Currently, they only had one or two groupings of smaller pictures.
When I delivered the pieces, the lady seemed very pleased. She commented on a piece or two that she said were her favorites. We walked down the hall, I was to decorate, and into an empty suite. "You can put the pictures here for now." Knowing they could be a tripping hazard in the hall that made sense. It took several of us, several trips each to bring them all in from my car. When they were all in the suite, they were arranged on the floor, around the walls. The lady I was working with and another, who was helping, walked around looking at the pieces.
"I brought a lot of pieces, so you could chose which ones you wanted," I said as I looked around at about $3500 (retail price) of my work. "Oh, we'll take it all," she said without hesitation. I was almost too stunned to say anything. "Well, looking at the length of the hall, let's see what will fit." "Oh, we'll find a place for all this. I really appreciate your bringing them." We started walking down the hall and I was thinking we were going to start staging the work only to realize I was being walked out.
"Did you bring any of your business cards?" "No, I was going to see which pieces you chose and bring those when I brought cards for each photograph." "You can just drop those off next week. I cannot tell you how much we appreciate your bringing us these photos." "Now, I need to remind you that several of these pieces have been submitted for awards and should they be accepted for consideration, I will need to come get them." "Oh, I totally understand that." "And, any of these pieces are for sale at any time." "Oh, of course."
Getting in my car, I had to stop and think to myself. What just happened in there?