Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Art and the Rabbit Hole

Before the county fair this year I received an email from another local photographer concerning another matter. I took the opportunity to ask him if he knew any details about the Art Competition at this year's county fair. This is when I fell down the rabbit hole.

What followed was a rant about the powers that be at the County Fair deciding that they did not need the local Arts Council to assist them in registration. This gentleman I was corresponding with happened to be an officer in said Arts Council. I had to hear (read) about how the fair people did not know what they were doing, and had hired someone who was totally ignorant of the process. He predicted the whole thing to be a debacle. 

Personally (and I held my thoughts to myself - thank God) I could not imagine the Art's Exhibit and Competition being any more confusing and more unorganized than it had been in the past. But who was I to question this? I was only an exhibitor - you know the citizen they were serving. Thoughts of the bad experience I had had in the past came to mind.  That varmit (yes that unbecoming description I gave the lady) who ran the Arts Exhibit for years came to mind. The one who never returned my phone calls, even though her number was given as the contact. The one who showed up for the registration with one pencil and a notebook for all the artists to record their work in.

Several days later I received another unsolicited email from this photographer telling me the Arts Council had met and they had voted unanimously not to participate in the county fair at all. He just wanted me to know the state of affairs. As an aside he commented that they planned to exhibit at the State Fair this year. He said this as if I was not even aware there was a State Fair. (I had delivered my two entries to the State Fair just that afternoon.) Then, as always, he signed off with "In sweet Jesus' name".

With the "varmit" gone, unlike the Art's Council, I was encouraged. And I was not disappointed. The registration process was well organized. When I asked about picking up my photographs after the fair ended, the young lady now tasked with running the Arts Exhibit and Competition, offered to keep them at her home if I could not be there that final day. (This was much different than the threatening phone call I had received from one of the varmit's minons last year.) 

I complimented her on the ease of the process and thanked her for her service. She just smiled very shyly. "Well it has not been smooth sailing. The first thing I ran into was the Arts Council who got upset that they would not be running the exhibit this year. Well, let me correct myself. I say running. They did register all the work and provide a judge - usually one of their members, but never had someone stay with the exhibit like the fair requests."

"So in other words," I said, "this year they took their marbles and went home."

"Pretty much." 

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