Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, supporters of the arts, ( hold it, scratch that last part )- As I sit on my balcony on this cold,damp & dreary day, shaking my cane and cursing at the neighborhood urchins ( #@!!&%%~!! Kids!! Get off my lawn!!) I find myself drifting back to a simpler time, a time before e-mails and the internet, before smart phones and downloads, when people were connected, face to face, and loyalty and friendship had meaning. I know I have a thin skin, personally, and will never be able to run with the big boys, but it seems to me that during these tough times that some small degree of support among the ranks of my fellow artists, and friends of the arts, is not too much to ask. I mean really, does it take all weekend to wash your hair?
It has been almost 25 years since my last gallery show, and friends and colleagues alike have implored me, prodding and cajoling me to mount a new public display of my art and photography. “We want to see it in person”, they all plead- “We want to see you!” Sure, my work may be on nearly 300 CD and album covers, and in magazines and articles, not to mention all over the mighty world-wide-web, but folks seemed to be asking to see some full sized works that they could actually buy, and hang upon the walls of their hip and cozy personal cribs. A point of pride to own works by an artist they actually know, or at least have the opportunity to come out and socialize with old chums and add their warm and attractive bodies to the crowds sipping free wine and knoshing on cheese and cookies.
A golden opportunity arose this month when talented old friends Rita and Chris graciously offered to convert their centrally located suburban home into an art gallery for the weekend, re-arranging furniture, opening their kitchen, sub-letting their cat and generously offering to move their own art and allowing dozens and dozens of new hooks and nails to be driven into their walls to support the hanging of pieces by myself and 5 other kind and talented artists. Each of us contributed our creative resources as well as sweat, time, labor, food, coffee, wine, more food and most importantly, our extensive mailing lists and contacts within the creative communities. With our various fan bases within the vast networks of the Smithsonian, National Gallery, Art Alliance and , for me, the local and national music community, we expected a respectable, if not huge, turn out!
Of course, being from the arts community, we are all nothing, if not realistic, when it comes to these things, but I must confess to being disappointed with the turn out on my behalf. I suppose that after a year of shocks and surprises- the first times ever of being stiffed on two big projects, of not being invited to CD release shows this year, of musicians not sending copies of finished projects for my portfolio, I suppose it should come as no surprise that of 300+ invitations that I sent, plus countless calls, Facebook postings, mailings, etc., etc. only 3 friends would feel it worth their time to come out and publicly show their support and interest in a local arts event. Yes, I know, I know, I am overly dramatic, and I do take these things too personally, but really……… How long does it really take to wash that little bit of hair you have left?
Various photographs available at the 2012 Art Show
Rarely seen drawings and paintings by Michael G. Stewart were on sale and display