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This newsletter departs from our usual format. I decided perhaps it's time to address not just our regular patrons and artists, but also address potential gallery visitors who have not dared to venture into our gallery or attend our shows. Our regular visitors, whom we treasure, can pass this message on to friends, and perhaps it will put them at ease enough to join us for the next opening or at least encourage them to visit the gallery during daily operating hours.

Have you ever wanted to attend a public event, but were just not quite sure of the protocol?   Whether it was a concert, formal ball, gallery event or theater production, you had questions about dress or conduct.  You were reluctant to attend because you thought perhaps you would not “understand” the art, play, music or poetry?  YOU are not alone!  I would guess that unless you have attended such things from early childhood, it is a cpncern of most people. There are too many wonderful things going on out there to avoid events for superfluous reasons—let’s jump on it. I will address gallery openings and shows--because that is what my life revolves around. 

Cities differ in their level of formality, but Lawton is a blessedly casual, warm and friendly city.  You will be welcome no matter what your attire might be.  Since gallery openings are come-and-go affairs where you come for a while and often then leave to go to some other event, come dressed in clothing suitable for the remainder of the evening.  If you are on your way to a classical concert or dance, you will probably be dressed in finer clothing than if you are heading to a late movie – (gum on movie seats deters finery). 

We have had folks arrive in athletic clothes; straight from a game of golf, or ridden in on a bike, or on their way to a summer ball game.  We haven’t had a swim suit yet, but try us on that one, okay?  They have also come in a tuxedo and evening gown and gone on to a dance. Most folks go middle of the road;  office attire or something suitable for church.  And some of us like to play “dress up” and relish an opportunity to slip into something  a little funky—and we love it.  Large handbags can bump sculpture. 

There! That didn’t give you much direction, did it?

When entering a gallery, plan on signing in. The artist and gallery personnel all like to know who attended.  If you wish to remain anonymous, give us an illegible signature. It will never work as an alibi, though, so keep that in mind.

Try to refrain from touching or leaning on the walls (this saves the personnel lots of elbow grease) and keep an eye on your kiddos to see they do the same. 

Some art has such great texture, it begs us to touch it. but touching really messes with the patina on sculpture, and deposits on oil paintings.  We can give you white gloves if you absolutely insist on it!

By all means—do visit the refreshment table.  Coffee, punch, wine, are usually standard,  as are crackers, cheese, and cookies.  Limit your alcohol—this is good judgment no matter where you are.  Most refreshment tables and bars are free of charge, so best not to complain about the vintage.  Refrain from placing glasses or food on pedestals — I know this sounds like a no brainer, but I think it is sometimes  done unconsciously.  If you drop food or drink, let the staff know so that no one slips in it.  Please don’t pretend it didn’t happen and ignore it. We have never caned anyone! 

Artists absolutely love to have folks talk about their art with them.  Do: ask where they found the idea, what media/medium they used, what their intended meaning is.  If you can’t think of anything else to say, “It is most interesting” will generally work.   Don’t tell the artist it is “cute” (cute should only be used for teddy bears and babies), or “my cousin did one just like that” (even if he did), or “do you copy someone else’s work?”  Golden rule applies to all things in life.

If you bring children, never bring more small children than you have adults to nab them — one on one.  Encourage them to walk slowly around the gallery, so they don’t overturn something that leaps into their path. 

There is never any charge at the Leslie Powell Gallery and seldom at other galleries, except at fund raisers.  Check in advance if you need to know.

I hope knowing the "rules" will make you comfortable enough to join us for our next opening or just drop in for a visit to see the wonderful offerings. We would love to meet new friends, and of course, we always welcome old ones.

Nancy Anderson

Text © Copyright 1998-2013
Leslie Powell Foundation and Gallery
620 SW D Ave.
Lawton, OK 73501
Phone: (580) 357-9526 Gallery Director
Image credits: All collection and exhibit images are the property of the individual artists and may not be reproduced or republished without express written consent of the artist.

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