We have a section of town here in Atlanta where I rarely go (i.e., never). Except for when I do, like two weeks ago when I went for a doctor’s appointment, and in that area I was gaping stunned like a foreign tourist at the mansions and castles that lined the road, thinking “I don’t know where the king’s house is, but now I know where the nobility live.”
I was also thinking, “Geez, I’d like to just walk into one of these houses, just to see it.” And then this past Tuesday, I did. I went to a fundraiser that was, if I was paying attention properly (not a guaranteed thing), for local theater companies as well as for the website www.ArtsATL.com, who I’ve written book reviews for.
The house where this event was held was in that genteel section of town, and I knew I was near the house when I saw a lot of cars parked and cultured-looking people walking up the street. The house was quite large, of course, rather modern in style with beaucoup de verre… Sorry, I got caught up in being cultured there, I meant with lots of glass looking out on the forest and the swimming pool. Before I was even in the house I was admiring the sculptures as I approached. Inside were more sculptures. And paintings and fabric pieces and glass and LOTS of pottery.
I’ve never seen a house with more art, like a gallery. What also struck me was that I recognized the work of at least three artists and maybe of a couple more. I couldn’t remember their names, but I recognized their work. “Could these be real?” I thought. “Are they copies?” I don’t believe that particular house was filled with copies. One of the things I recognized was a glass bowl by Dale Chihuly.
My reason for going to this fund raiser, and paying $50 to go (actual money back in my humble part of town, where it is possible to buy a butchered goat), was the hope that the fund raiser might be a place to meet people, part of gradually promoting myself as a writer, as it goes. You never know about that, but you just try. My experience of life tells me that it’s necessary to do 100 things in order for one thing to work out as you want. Even so, as I walked to the house, on a long drive up a hill, I thought, “Oh, hell, I won’t know anybody in this crowd. I’ll just stay a few minutes and then leave.” As it happened, though, I stayed well toward the end, about an hour and a half.
My only definite goal in attending was to find and speak to Cathy Fox, who runs the website ArtsATL and who I had written the book reviews for. I located her as soon as I got in the house and said hello, then I moved on around the house looking at the art, which was a good reason to be there in any case. This event also came with free alcohol (beer, wine), entertainment (singers and a stand-up comedian), and food (rather fancy finger food, along with the requisite fruit and cheese).
There was quite a crowd, presumably either with connections to the arts or at least people who kind of like art. And all strangers to me. I was standing off to a side, wondering how hard it would be to trick someone into talking to me, when I looked up and—hey!—there was someone who I knew. It was a woman from the writing group I went to for about a year, though I haven’t been in months. She was also one of the writers whose work I liked, which I could not say of every person. It was a pleasure to see her, though I think it had been a year since we’d seen one another. It was also a pleasure to discover that she is on the board of directors for a fairly new theater group here in the city, Arís, focused on Celtic theater.
Driving home from the fund raiser, I was thinking about the way the world has always been, that most artists are either poor or don’t spend much time on their art (because they go to work to keep from being poor). Yet some people who have money, including big M Money, support art. They buy it to go in their houses, hold fund raisers, maybe even give to theater groups.
Of course most artists are still poor. Or going to work as medical editors. I need to find a sugar donor who likes eclectic odd writing with a philosophical undercurrent, because I can do that.