Art Gallery Blues

Crowd at an art gallery - Photo by Anna Harris 2012

I’m sitting in a dark corner, listening to some non-offensive but so-not-my-kind-of-music music, endeavoring to keep my shoulders straight and tall, and my face pleasantly neutral. I’m wearing all black, sporting a lightweight infinity scarf that screams that I’m artsy yet unpretentious, and dripping with sharp-edged statement jewelry. It’s my night to (wo)man the gallery.

The first Saturday of each month is the New Orleans Art District’s ArtWalk, when every gallery along Julia Street throws open its doors and welcomes art enthusiasts to enjoy everything the local arts scene has to offer. This weekend is also PhotoNOLA, a pretty sizable celebration of all things photography, all over the city. Thus, we decided to install an exhibit by Chicago photographer Elaine Miller. Her photographs are haunting, ethereal, very thoughtfully shot, and also extremely personal, so I’m proud to be showing her work off to our guests tonight.

However.

I’m bored! I’m bored and hungry! My butt hurts, my eyes are tired, and my jaw is starting to hurt from smiling. Also, people keep walking around the gallery and admiring things that aren’t art – like the bench we have in the corner, the lamp on my desk, the lanterns that hang in the center of the space. Which is cool, since the lanterns were my idea, but you know what I’m saying – it’s just odd.

Then there are the odd questions that people have been asking. Some guy walked in, saw my company’s sign in the far back corner, and asked what we do. Never mind that the sign very clearly states what we do. To keep it brief, I told him that we are a marketing agency and photography studio, as well as a gallery & events space. He stared blankly, then asked “Who do you market?” I told him that we work with a variety of clients. He gave me this smug grin, then turned away, saying “You mean brand building.” Well no, Mr.-thinks-he-knows-more-because-he’s-old-and-still-dressing-like-a-hipster, I don’t mean just brand building. Brand building is a portion of marketing, but not all – and we do much more.

Ack! The music just cut off. Let me see if I can fix it…

Ah, I’m back – and I’m rocking out to some Afrobeat, since the radio’s all mine now.

There’s still about a half an hour to go, and we’ve had 105 people walk through so far – not bad for a space with eight small works of art. The smells from the cafe on the other side of our space are wafting over, and my stomach is rumbling. I didn’t eat nearly enough today – just wasn’t able to get on the right schedule, so I’m drastically under my calories for the day (which is probably why I’m a tad cranky at the moment). Maybe I should ask them to make me a vegan Rico sandwich, this breadless sandwich made with plantains, avocado, fake pulled pork, and salsa fresca that’s just out of this world yummy.

The gallery is empty now, but people are seated at tables just outside the gallery door, and the sound of conversation and clinking silverware trickles into the space. My eyes are very tired, and I’m getting a little chilly. Just 13 minutes to go before I can turn off the radio, shut down the main gallery lights, and walk out a free woman, assuming my legs aren’t asleep from all of this sitting around. Just another night at the gallery.

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2 thoughts on “Art Gallery Blues

    • Anna says:

      I lived 🙂 We ended up with a total of 134 people walking through, including an adorable toddler who loved Afrobeat. She was the last ‘guest’ of the night, so we danced for a little while – best end to a gallery night, ever!

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