October 22, 2010

Don't let the Art Snobs intimidate you!

See?  Even my Publisher clip art has a bias!
If you're a regular reader of this blog, then you may remember me talking about our group exhibit that is currently running at the Windhover, our wonderful arts center here in Fond du Lac.  I'm enjoying being in an exhbit immensely - it's the first time EVER that more than two of my pieces have been in a show. 

But last night, I felt compelled to write a Facebook note about people's apprehension when it comes to visiting art galleries and exhibits.  It is my feeling that a lot of smart, educated people in the arts are still baffled when it comes to going to an exhbit, because of the "stigma" surrounding it.

The following is the note in its entirety.  I really hope that people take it to heart, because I sincerely mean every word!

Let's make art accessible and available to EVERYONE without fear!

"A funny thing has happened over the last 3 weeks or so -

I'm discovering that people have an innate fear of art galleries and exhibits.

In many different areas of my life, when I tell people that I'm in an exhibit at the Windhover Center, they look at me as though they've never met me before. And these are people that have known me for a long time! I thought maybe they just didn't care at first but I think there's more to it than that.

Brian and I were talking tonight about our first experiences at an art gallery and that feeling came flooding over me, a feeling that I had forgotten I had felt - that feeling of panic.

I think TV and the movies have done a great disservice to art galleries and their exhibits - they portray everyone involved as hoity-toity @#%% who want nothing to do with us "regular people". You know what I mean - people in angular glasses wearing Euro-trash clothes, either as gallery owers or patrons, discussing the works of art before them in hushed tones and uttering such bon mots as, "I feel his postmodernesque work completely overshadows his earlier, edgier pieces." Or something like that. Whatever!

Here's the truth - I am EXTREMELY lucky to be a part of the art scene in Fond du Lac. Here's something else you may not know: we artists in Fond du Lac are NOT "art snobs". Remember - this is Fond du Lac.

Okay, so you may find someone at an artists' reception who feels the need to alert the entire room that he or she knows more than anyone else about a particular artist, genre, style, etc. But those people are really few and far between. The majority of folks who attend these receptions are friends/family of the artist(s), regulars at the particular venue, or just nice people who like art.

I think a lot of people are overwhelmed or afraid of being called out for not knowing enough about art - and to that I say, fuhgettaboutit! NO ONE CARES whether or not you know your dada from your cubism, or even if you know what those words mean! Do you like pictures hung on a wall? Me too! Let's go to a gallery together! :D

And seriously, that's all there really is to it. Art is meant to be appreciated and enjoyed (or not, sometimes, but that's up to you. Don't let ANYONE tell you what you should or shouldn't like, even if it's mine. :D ). It is my hope that you let go of your worry that somehow you're not going to fit in. I am NOT an art critic, nor am I even an art expert! I just know what I like and don't like, and one of the ways you find that out is by - you guessed it - going to art galleries.

If you're still not convinced, remember this - it's just as scary being the artist and wondering if you like our work. But if we're not going to accost you and ask you point blank if you like it - that's bad form. So you don't need to worry about that, either!

So come on down to the Windhover on Saturday, November 6, anytime between 4 and 6 p.m. I promise we're not scary, and you'll have a good time! :D"


  1. Good post Mel. And yes, I have felt some of those things you describe but I intend to come on the 6th. Am hoping maybe my son and daughter-in-law might join me too.
    ((((Mel)))) you are such a good "cheerleader"!

  2. Aw, thanks Sharon! :D I really hate feeling left out when I go places, and I don't want anyone else to feel that way either. Art galleries and exhibits should be a place where people feel comfortable! :D We're definitely going to make sure that happens. :D