The Southwest School of Art Gala
One of my favorite jobs is working for the Southwest School of Art Gala. For the last three years, I have handled the drop off and pick up of the artwork for the annual benefit Gala. This is one of my favorite jobs because I get to talk with so many artists, gallerists, or assistants. In general, 55-65 artists generously participate. While I always know a few of the artists already, I still get to meet so many new people. This is what I do best, work with the art and artists. Yes, anybody could probably figure out how to do this, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Do you know how much paperwork there is for 65 artists? And more if they have multiple works. It is mostly bureaucratic work, just making sure the t’s are crossed and the i’s are dotted, it’s part of the job. That is the easy part. The more difficult part can come with actually dealing with artists (and sometimes their egos). Yes, I have also been treated badly on occasion, although, never for the Gala. Luckily, I have a wonderful boss that listens and takes care of problems like that. Being able to deal with artists and issues that may arise diplomatically may possibly be the most important part of this job. When they are dropping off their work, I am representing the Southwest School of Art. A bad experience could affect future relationships with the school. It’s amazing how loving your job keeps you in a great mind set and dealing with people becomes much less difficult than if I were already stressed by my job. The other major benefit of working to set up this event is attending the Preview Cocktail Party and the Gala itself. The cocktail party is a fabulous event I always enjoy. It’s great to see the work displayed in the Chapel of the school, it’s a really beautiful location. At the Cocktail Party I am a guest and enjoy mingling with the artists in a social setting. I get to view the art unwrapped and installed. Occasionally I help with installations, but not for this event. It’s nice not to have to do physical labor. Although, I do always accept those jobs as well! The Gala is a black tie formal event the following night. Here, I did volunteer, working at the sales desk, again with a different set of paperwork. Is this a common theme? I don’t think artists really consider everything that goes on behind the art shows – before, during, and after. Keeps me working! There were many fabulous pieces of art. I love the work by Jennifer Ling Datchuk. Her ceramics always look so delicate and feminine. When I saw her, I discussed a piece of her work I had seen years ago in another show. Choke was a beautiful set of hands protruding from the wall grasping a cloth. These pieces are porcelain plates mixed with embroidery, something I haven’t seen in her work before that I enjoy very much. Another favorite of mine is Sarah Roberts. I recently wrote about her work when I had visited her shared studio space for a show at Clamp Light Gallery. I specifically enjoy the way she manipulates something as cold as aluminum into something so feminine and soft looking. The way the shadows cast from the light is also a lovely detail of this art. In fact, I believe the title of this piece, Her Body is My Body, makes the shadows an integral part of her concept. At the Gala, I got to try on Roberts’ second piece, a beautiful necklace. It matched my dress and fit me perfectly. It was for a really great price at $250 and half would go to the school. Unfortunately, I still cannot afford it today, although I fingered my credit card several times. Maybe in the future I can have one custom made for me, in red? William Carrington’s bronze rabbit has a very haunting face that I am in love with. Even the piece of wood it is set on is beautiful. Another piece I admire is by Ruth Buentello. I was just at an opening at Artpace recently where the artists collective that Buentello is a part of, Mas Rudas, did the Window Works. That installation as well as this piece both show a strong connection to family (or the absence of it). Working for the Gala is always a great experience. As usual, combining work and art is exactly what I want to be doing. I really could care less if my desk was a folding table for today. I am in a gorgeous historic building with a beautiful view – no cubicle for me! The last part of the job is being there the morning after the Gala for the pick up of the artwork by the artists and buyers. It’s so simple, but thanking each artist for participating is extremely important. It’s a benefit event and they donated their art. We have to express our gratitude for helping the school at our largest benefit event each year.