Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Huge Disappointment

Expectations are the author of disappointment. Had we not been so excited about the beautiful gallery we were creating at Sevi's Restaurant, the notion that it would all come to naught would not have been so hard to take.

As you know, last week I negotiated an arrangement with some new restaurant owners that my art group, the Artwise Women, would decorate the downstairs before their opening next week. We worked very hard last week getting our work ready. (I had 16 giclees made of my black and whites. I spent two days furiously framing them, staying up until 2am some nights.) On Friday afternoon our crew of three women and two husbands transported three carloads of paintings large and small to the empty restaurant and spent the afternoon carefully arranging, measuring, hanging, and labelling our work. The result looked exquisite. My black and whites looked stunningly beautiful in the bar area, which was dark wood, white walls, and black lamps. We also cleaned up everything and polished the counters, tables, and bar so when the owners came back they would see what the place would look like when it opened.

Unfortunately, we didn't take pictures. I was going to do that yesterday after hanging the last two paintings in the hallway. This I regret -- not having photos to show you -- because when I returned on Saturday afternoon to finish the last details, I walked into the bar and was stunned to find that all my prints were taken down and piled haphazardly on a table. I walked into the large room to see that the larger canvasses of my artist friends had been re-arranged on the walls. About half of them had been taken down and replaced with cheap reproductions, such as you would see in a mid-level hotel. The abandoned canvasses were piled on tables around the room.

For a few moments I couldn't speak. Then I went upstairs to talk to the owner. For half an hour we discussed what had happened. Apparently they thought it was too fine looking for a family restaurant and they wanted to make it more "homey." Now it was a mish-mash of different colors, styles, quality, and types. It looked awful, never mind the fact that our work was disrespectfully piled on tables. They totally didn't "get" the concept of a restaurant gallery, even though we had discussed the entire concept at length a few days before. After a frustrating discussion about what had occurred, we agreed that the arrangement wasn't going to work.

So today, after church, my friends and I will be going back to Sevis to take down all our work and bring it home, hopefully intact. I shed some tears over this last night but today I realize that it will be better for us to simply look elsewhere. What a huge waste of time, energy, and resources. Well, I at least now have 16 beautiful framed black and whites all ready to be hung somewhere else.


  1. How terribly disappointing! I feel so awful for you - not only because of the callous way your prints and paintings were treated, but for the utter lack of regard the restaurant owners had for you and your friends, not to contact you about their change of plans after you had worked so hard.

    I guess the average person just doesn't understand how much work goes into a project like this. That's the downfall of being good at what you do: you make it look easy, so people think it *is* easy!

    BTW - I love your Clock People!

  2. How dreadful! So sorry things did not work out & your artwork was treated so poorly.

    I can't tell you how many times I have had artwork returned after a show with the frames nicked or scratched - 1 of the reasons I stopped submitting to venues

  3. How horrible, I hope you have better luck in the future.

  4. Sigh. I am so sad for you and your artist friends, Cynthia...

    Even though nothing near this callous has happened to my art, I have felt the sting of total insensitivity to what is pretty much our hearts' offerings hanging on someone else's wall.

    Your work is stunning and one can happily become lost in the details you put into each piece. Here's hoping for the sun to come out from behind this cloud and a more appreciative venue opening up for you and yours!
    kindly yours, Rose