Bad News, Good News

We've all played that game when there are two pieces of news to tell, "Do you want the good news, or the bad news first?" What does it say about me that I always want the bad news first? I think it's that I can take whatever the bad news is, and save the good news for later, which will take the sting out of the bad news. Sounds good in theory, and hey, sometimes it actually works.

Recent show application news falls into the bad news/good news category. The Bad News: Just before leaving for Charlotte, I found out I was put on the waiting list for Artscape, Baltimore. Not only that, but it's possible the organizers wouldn't call to offer a space for me until as late as the first day of the show! Some history: Artscape was my best show last year; I applied as a first-timer, on Zapp, and was thrilled to get in. The crowd was huge, weather was great (except for a torrential downpour on Saturday night, which forced us to leave early), and sales were outstanding. This year, my slides were even better than what I submitted last year, and I was very hopeful of being accepted again. So, this bad news was not at all what I expected. Yes, yes, I know every jury is different, and they look for different things, but it's extremely frustrating when you feel your work has shown growth, is of excellent quality, has been accepted into the show previously, but is still rejected. I do know the waiting list is not exactly a rejection; it's perhaps a delayed acceptance, but right now, it means the same thing: I'm not doing Artscape this year.

The good news arrived via email yesterday. My work was accepted by the jury of the Capital Jazzfest in Columbia, MD. I'd been anxiously anticipating this email; the notification due date was April 30th. Finally, I couldn't take it any longer, and emailed to ask about my status. They were glad I did; they'd sent me an acceptance email 2 weeks ago, but I didn't receive it! I'm very excited at the prospect of doing this show, not only for the opportunity to display and sell my work, but also for the incredible lineup of jazz artists they've assembled for the Jazzfest.

I already know two "big names" in the African American artist community who will be doing it: my new friend, Larry "Poncho" Brown (who suggested I apply, so thanks, Poncho!)--that's his 'Ancestral Spirits #5' at left. Poncho is a generous, caring, special artist and person; I got to know him when he participated in last year's Festival Noir in Boston. I'm looking forward to seeing him again.

George Nock will also be there. I met the 'nationally renowned NFL-player-turned-sculptor' about 5 years ago, when he did Festival Noir for the first time. We've seen each other at other shows over the years, and I was pleased to be 'just up the street' from his display last weekend at Art and Soul of Charlotte. His sculptures are exquisite; this one is titled 'Diva,' about which he says: "The inspiration for Diva was Nancy Wilson, Dorothy Dandridge, Sarah Vaughn, and Josephine Baker – in tribute to their beguiling presence and quality of performance." George is also moving into works on paper, doing animal studies, and some vividly colored silhouettes of musicians.

About the Artscape bad news, I'll take my own advice to a friend who was upset recently about being rejected by a show jury. I told her the rejection was not personal, and that she should look at it as an opportunity. I also said it meant something else was coming her way, which she could now take advantage of, since she wouldn't be doing that show. Good advice, isn't it? I don't feel being waitlisted was a personal rejection; I'm beyond that at this stage of my journey as an artist, and I will look out for that new opportunity...who knows what it might be?


catherien said…
Your friend says, "good for you, Michelle!" It seems like we are traveling similar rollercoaster paths with our show applications... I'm eagerly awaiting two apps with Zapp myself. I'll be looking forward to seeing what your new opportunities are as you blog about them. And congrats on the Jazz show!