Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ahead of my time?

Or is it your time…or “their” time? This morning I had an hour or so between appointments so I wanted to view a new show at a gallery space to which I had never been. It is a local campus gallery only 10 minutes from my house but in 17 years I never managed to go there. Yeah, okay shame on me but the first 10 of those would be baby and toddler years when art was made with macaroni. Middle years, well….I had work and teens and stuff going on which did not allow for free time to stop in at art shows (it was a personal mission of mine to always be home when the kids got off the school bus at 2:30 or so). Now my excuse has been that of an old person in that I did not know where to park, too many dang kids speeding through the parking lots and walking in the roads, no signs pointing to the building and so on. Grumble grumble grumble…… Deciding to finally man up and find the place, locate visitors parking, walk up the cold windy hill and then have to ask the info desk where in this building was the gallery in question….I arrived at 9:45 am. Now remember, this is a college campus in session so classes are going on.

I find the gallery at the bottom of the stairs and locate a door that says “pull” so all seems easy enough. First clue should have been the dark room through a wall of glass. But begin the savvy energy saver that I am (not) I figured it had those new fangled motion sensor lights which turn on and off as a body enters or leaves the room. Students are all over the lounge area studying (I would hope). I pull the door. It does not move. Okay, because I am ornery and don’t always follow directions, I tried to push it too. No dice, the door is locked. That’s weird. Kids are now looking at me in annoyed interest. Maybe it was the cuss word. I peek in the windows and then turn to leave, finally spotting the gallery hours behind me (brilliant place to locate them if you ask me), and it opens at 11am. Really? The campus is in session, the place is packed with people and cars, and the gallery is not available for viewing? The impression I get from that is not a good one. Will I be back? I don’t know. Perhaps, because I am an art person and will make the effort, but if I think like a mom with only an hour or so to spare in my busy morning, or a retail worker who may have some morning time before the mall opens at 10, the answer would be no. I won’t go back. Forget lunch hour, I eat and do errands, forget mid or late afternoon when kids need attention and dinner started….maybe after dinner my husband and I could take a drive over as it is only a few minutes down the road….oh wait, it closes at 5pm.

Back to my morning, using the saved time to get some errands done before the next appointment, I stop by a major grocery chain to pick up some bread for dinner. It is now 10:20am….I can’t find any bread (not loaf stuff, but a sourdough to put soup into). Standing by the counter for a few moments waiting to catch the eye of a girl standing not more than 4 feet from me (which never happens), I wander off to check again in case I overlooked it. Nope, no round loaves, but finally the girl comes out from behind the counter to load the bagel shelf. Walks right past me waiting there. Another clerk comes over to chat with her and I find my chance to jump in with my question, got bread? She tells me no, well yes, but no. It came in this morning but she had not gotten around to baking it yet. Try back this afternoon. I will, I have to, but at another store sister (no, I did not say that out loud). Maybe only donuts and bagels are made in the morning which is the great bakery mystery.

I am a morning person and the world just does not seem to care about us. Clothing stores open at 10am (heck I am done and back home by 10), many cultural type places open at 11, lots of galleries open at noon, I guess I am just ahead of my time and well before yours. Wal-Mart is great; they are open all night which means I can be there at 8am and get lots done. On the flip side, you won’t catch me at any of those “early bird or early riser” specials around the holidays; too many grumpy monkeys and over-caffeinated crazies. But back to the campus gallery issue, if the building is open, then open the gallery space too. It has security cameras, put a studying student at the door to watch for wayward viewers who might wander in with coffee, or at least turn the lights on so I can look in the windows even if the door is locked. Making the gallery inaccessible only adds to the elitist aspect of art as a “special” situation to be allowed only at certain times. It is a campus, not a museum. Akron U leaves its gallery open whenever the building is open. All other campus venues where I have shown do the same thing. The spaces are inviting and accessible. This local venue needs to cut the attitude and open its doors at 8 or 9 am when classes are in session.

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