Sunday, June 7, 2009

Art D Tour not a D light

This past Friday (6-5-09) I took an art tour of several galleries, and Museums in St. Louis, Mo. The details of this tour can be read here. This tour turned out to be a disappointment. I was expecting more because I went on the same tour in April, and it was fantastic. I think there are several reasons why this particular tour went so poorly, and I think there are ways improvements could be made.

The initial problem turned out to be traffic. The continued closer of interstate 64 has made getting around St Louis difficult for some time. This situation is made even worse during rush-hour each morning and evening. These factors combined with a scheduled Cardinals baseball game brought traffic into the city to a crawl. While on the bus, our guide even commented on how difficult it was to navigate the city streets that night. It became such a problem, that one of the scheduled gallery stops was deleted, as there was no convenient way to get the bus to that venue. In future, this event should be planned with more care given to the anticipated traffic pattern for that evening. The closer of interstate 64 was anticipated I'm sure. However, I have difficulty believing the other traffic issues were taken in to consideration when this event was planned.

The second issue was a lack of food. For each stop there was to be a variety of food and beverage samples. As outlined in this flyer:

However, I happened to be on the last bus in the convoy, and for each stop made the food had been consumed. There was hardly a scrap left for anyone. As I picked up my advance tickets I was told that they had sold out, and that the buses were quite full. The number of people on the tour should have been anticipated. This tour should either be advance purchase only, or additional tour dates should be put in place.

These two issues alone would not have ruined the evening. However, the art at each stop was also a disappointment. In April, the tour included examples of a wide variety of works. From old masters' paintings to contemporary sculptures, the array of works displayed featured something for everyone. This tour by contrast involved an excess of contemporary art, including video works and installations. I am not opposed to this type of work, but focusing solely on these ideas makes for a very dull tour.

All of these issues combined made for an unpleasant experience. These situations could have easily been prevented if more thought had been given to the planning of this event. The promotion of art and the culture of art is a positive thing. However, if it is not done correctly the public support of the arts will erode even further than it already has. This blog has discussed how the art world has alienated the public and unfortunately I think this serves as another example. If you disagree, or have other ideas to contribute please comment. I'll see you next week.

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