Let me just say upfront that I love all of the openings we host at our gallery. I love the guests. I love the energy. And I love getting to hear people talk about art.
But by far my favorite opening event of the year is Art for Art’s Sake. Most of the time when you host an art exhibition you feel a little bit like you are on stage for the evening – it’s even worse when the exhibition is of your art. I love it, but it can be a bit serious and sometimes a bit stressful. That’s why Art for Art’s Sake is so much fun. It’s the one opening of the year when I can relax and enjoy the party… and the people-watching.
Let’s face it, when you have an evening that draws thousands people and you give away free wine, you are bound to attract a few “characters.” And I’ve seen my share over the years. I once found a woman wandering around the gallery with her arms outstretched trying to sense the spirits of the paintings. One self described “freelance chiropractor” insisted on trying to give me an adjustment over a bench in the middle of the crowded gallery. Then there was the amateur flamenco dancer who started an impromptu performance and nearly shook all the paintings off the walls before I could stop her. I’ve even had to put out a small fire caused by someone who thought every candle I have for sale should be lit.
And then you would be surprised by the way wine can inspire art appreciation. I’ve had so many people end up in tears over how much the art (and the wine) had “moved” them. One of my guest artists told me about watching a woman looking very closely at one of his paintings. She had a very strange look on her face and seemed to be about to speak. As he started to approach her to ask what she thought of his work, she sneezed on his painting and walked away.
Lastly, I have to pay homage to one of my perennial favorites, the poor young woman who over-indulged, with her dress hiked up in the back, her hair disheveled, and her heel broken. I always see her as we are locking up at the end of the night as she tries to navigate her way home down our uneven New Orleans sidewalks (but girl, I’ve been there too).
The folks in New Orleans are the best art patrons in the world, and the few oddities only add to my appreciation of the whole experience. I can’t tell you how much I love being a part of it – probably because I fit right in.