Hello Art World....On the Outside Looking In

I belong to a south Florida artists' meet-up group. Topics include networking, business development, marketing, and other valuable tools for enhancing one's career. The group holds meetings no more than once monthly; often months pass without a meeting. I never seem to be around when one takes place; and when I am, alas, no meetings. It's just how things go sometimes. Yesterday, I received this email from the group organizer:

"Hello Everyone!

"We are moving forward on creating our group catalogue/book of our membership. As previously mentioned, we need you to prepare images (between 2-6 images) for possible inclusion plus, an artist statement. Of course, you'll need to caption your images with the typical information: title, media, dimensions, date of creation.

"We have (over a year ago) set up an account on Flickr.com to post your images so that it will be easy to create our book. If you do not have a Flickr.com account, get one. It's free (unless you plan on hosting tons of images). You must request an invite to be on our group page....."

It sounded good. I sent an email requesting an invitation. This was the response:

"Hello Stephanie,

"This is the group organizer, I'm curious as to why have you not
attended a single meetup since you joined, please? We've had
meetups in both XXX and YYY (counties) during the past year and
a half.

(signed by group organizer)"

His email came at a bad time. Recently I've come face to face with the challenges and issues of dividing my time between where I must currently live (a tiny Caribbean island), and where the opportunities are. To get an email such as this was another reminder that I cannot fully partake in the art world, at least not up close and personal. Furthermore, his assumption that I have not attended a meeting is incorrect.

My reply:

"Dear (organizer's name),

I am responding to your message below. Yes, I did attend one
meeting. It was approximately one year ago, held at XYZ Gallery, in which the lecture was about art preservation. I met you and the 4 or so other artists in attendance. I signed in, so my name would have been on that list.

Why have I not attended others? It is very difficult for me to
do so, as I live in the British Virgin Islands. I come to
south Florida every few months to work, buy supplies and attend
art openings. My trips have not corresponded with your
meetings since that one.

I am very sorry if this is a problem. There are no career
development opportunities for the few ex-pat artists living on my small
island, only one for native islanders; so I relish any and all
connections available, via the internet and stateside trips (including opportunities to attend meet-ups, should I happen to be in the area). Being unable to relocate, I am trying to make the best of the situation.

I look forward to your reply.

Kind regards,
Stephanie Clayton"

I suppose one can understand his point: I do not attend meetings regularly, so why should I be allowed benefits of active members? (I wonder, though, does anyone attend those meet-ups on a regular basis?)


Barbara J Carter said...

I think your response took exactly the right tone. I hope it elicits a more sympathetic reply!

Stephanie said...

Thank you. I haven't received a response from him (an apology would be nice)...although my request has now been granted.