Monday, June 20, 2016

A Philadelphia Patron

A lovely trip to Philadelphia.
On a daily basis first time visitors, return customers, and longtime friends stop in at Two Graces Plaza Gallery here in Ranchos de Taos in the shadow of the great San Francisco de Asis Church.
Recently a gentleman and his wife along with her sisters visited us. Together they looked at the artworks on the wall (my paintings) as I gave them a moment before engaging to ask if they had any observations or questions. Lots of questions, the ladies specifically liked several of my paintings, after a short while I was told that one or two of the paintings probably would not be enough, but that they were interested. Handing them my card, did I notice a ‘knowing look’ from the ladies or was that just my imagination, they then left and went on their way.
After a few moments kicking myself for not being more aggressive, as many gallery owners are. Posting on my social media what a dolt I am for not doing anything to follow up with them as to their contact information. I knew their name, and where they were staying, nothing more.
As my mentors tell me time and time again, good things happen to those who wait.
Later I walked over to the nearby post office, returning to the Gallery there was a message on the answering machine that he had called. Returning the call of course got me nowhere with the hotel switchboard, just my luck I thought. Considering my options, calling back, waiting in the hotel lobby, to do something, anything.
Well, instead I chose to wait.
The next day I was 30 miles north of Taos taking a walk in the woods to clear my head. My wife called as I was heading home, “How soon can you get here? I need you to get here, Now!” They had come back to the gallery talking about purchasing 8-9 paintings, had put 13 paintings on hold and left a substantial deposit. My wife was beside herself in tears and now I was too.
Over the course of several weeks the ‘Patron’ had added to his purchase list, with a final tally of 14 paintings and a couple of animal skulls to go with the theme of my paintings. He asked that we round up the total which we suggested would be applied toward shipping. With shipping and insurance costs, I suggested instead that I drive the paintings out to Philadelphia and hang them myself, he was delighted.
During the time before the set date to leave Taos and head to Philadelphia, we had friends visiting, our airbnb cabin was booked for several weeks, and I needed to make more paintings. We also spoke about wall colors for the conference room that the paintings would be installed in. We settled on a lovely cool soft gray. The Patron also had lighting installed in the conference room to enhance the viewing of the paintings.
On the morning of Wednesday, June 8 at 4:45 I set off from Taos, NM to reach Philadelphia in 3 days. On the first night my overnight stop was outside of St. Louis, Missouri, the next night the destination was just south of Pittsburgh, PA. In open spaces along the road I witnessed the wildlife I love to see, reflected in my paintings, Buffalo, Pronghorn Antelope, White Tailed Deer, Elk and even Wild Horses.
The third day was a smooth uneventful drive into Philadelphia, until I reached the road of my destination and wound up driving the wrong way!
Arriving to the address, a car pulled up window rolled down the driver asked if I were Robert and assured me that I was indeed where I was expected to be. A beautifully restored 1830’s Carriage House. To the right 2 levels of office space, at the center a covered portal, to the left the conference room and waiting area, where I would hang my paintings. The installation of 14 of my paintings went quite smoothly, the room was perfectly laid out. When the Patron came in to see how things turned out, he and I, both, were delighted and quite proud at how beautiful it all fit together.
That evening my wife flew into Philadelphia and arrived just as we, the Patron and his family members, sat down to a tasting menu at Mica in Chestnut Hill, delicious, such a treat. 
We were booked into the Chestnut Hill Hotel where we stayed in the Carriage House suite. Our host apologized for the need to put us up at a hotel rather than be his guests at his home, explaining his family had come to visit and to be a part of the unveiling of my paintings in Philadelphia.
Saturday we were invited, along with the family, to visit the Barnes Foundation to be given a tour by the project manager of the new facility. When I had asked friends what to do in Philadelphia, everyone mentioned a visit to the Barnes was a must. Now we were being given a tour by the person who put it all together in a beautiful new respectful home. The Barnes has one of the finest collections of Impressionist paintings in the world, but the hidden jewels are also the African art collection and Southwest art. Amazing.
Back at the office on Chestnut Hill we were given a tour of the Patron's other collections, pairs of North African weavings, rare in themselves, as pairs even more so. An enormous book collection in the upstairs library of their interests and areas of the world where they’ve visited. As are all true book lovers inclined to do, books spill out all over to be picked up and enjoyed.
That evening a catered sit down dinner with friends and family outdoors under the portal was overwhelming to Holly and I. The generosity and loving kindness towards us and the response to my paintings, beyond words.
On Sunday Holly & I skipped off to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, another treasure chest full of magnificent artworks. We spent 5 hours there, happily exhausted. The evening plan was for a reception with 80-100 people in attendance. If I hadn’t opened an email beforehand telling me of the planned reception event at hand I would have turned around and left. My nerves would have gotten the best of me and put me in a tizzy, instead there was time to pull myself together and really get a hold of my own anxiety.
Overwhelmed is putting it mildly, from one guest to the next the response was genuinely heart felt. The Patroness graciously took me to meet one enthusiastic guest after another. Then the President of the Museum was introduced to me after she’d been told that we had spent 5 hours at her museum earlier that day. I took her by the arm to a quieter spot and proceeded to tell her how much I love her Museum and her staff. She in kind told me how much she loved my paintings and asked if anything were left back at our gallery in Taos(!).
While speaking with several of the guests they filled us in on just a bit about who our Patron and Patroness are. They help people, time and time again, they do what they can to help their family and friends in whatever ways they can, whenever their help is truly needed. In the spirit of true arts patrons, they are that and more.


...on the road I received a few accolades from friends back in Taos:

A.K.A . "Wow Robert! Congrats!! This is because of all your hard work.I do believe you are one of the hardest working artists/business owners and Taos advocates I know. Really great news. So very happy for you both."

A.M. "Just heard... ...about the incredible paintings sale you just made. Wow. Haven't heard of anything like that in this town since maybe the early 80s. Congratulations!!"

S.S.  "Robert, I don't see how Taos could live without you!"

Something heard on the radio while driving across the country 4,500 miles there and back again. “Be Great at What You Do. It Will Open Doors and Inspire Others to Do Great Things as Well.”
I write this to inspire others, being a small business owner in Taos, NM has great pitfalls with seemingly endless days of heartbreak. Then one day someone walks into your shop and miracles happen. Be great (and grateful), all of you. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh my. This story. Well written. These events. Almost beyond belief.
    Your perseverance through some tough times. What a path. Art wins. Lovely in every way. Few words. To say well done. Well deserved. Waiting. Working. Staying true. Respecting who you are and where you are. Reverence. Yes gratitude.
    So so so pleased for you.

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