Saturday, December 8, 2012

Joy to the World

I just finished a disappointing drawing session at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center.  Actually, the session was fine; the disappointment was from the attendance, or lack thereof.  When the Texas Artists Coalition started doing Saturday sessions at the FWCAC earlier this year, I was the model for that first one, and they had at least ten artists drawing.  They planned on holding the sessions two Saturdays a month.  Since that first one, attendance has fallen sharply.

I got put on the schedule for the December 8th session a little while back.  When the TAC newletter was sent out Friday evening, it contained the following info:  "Saturday, December 8, 2012; 1PM - 4PM: SATURDAY Life Drawing This session HAS NOT MADE YET - please sign up NOW or it will be cancelled."  There weren't any more e-mails after that, so when I called the center Saturday morning, I was told that the session was still on.  Once I got there, I stopped by the office on my way to the drawing studio, and the lady told me that three or four artists had signed up.  She said that they had actually signed up just before that newsletter had gone out.  Unfortunately, only one artist, an older gentleman who had drawn me several times, actually showed up.  I can't help but think that the statement in the newsletter about the possible session cancellation might have deterred the other people.  The one guy who did attend said that he had called ahead just to make sure the class was still on.

The session carried on with just the one artist.  In an adjoining area of the building, a children's choir was rehearsing for an upcoming performance.  During our time there, they worked on only one song, "Joy to the World."  It was as if the song was on a continuous loop; we heard it over and over.  The kids sounded good, but I wished I could have heard some of the other selections.  At one point late in the session, a lady, who I assume was one of the people in charge of the children's choir, walked into the drawing studio while I was in a pose.  "Excuse me," she said quickly and backed out.  "That's OK," I said.  I felt like telling her to get some paper and draw since the room was so empty, but she was long gone by the time I could say anything else.

The guy drawing me said that he was going to talk to the director about possibly underwriting the drawing sessions so that they could be held every week.  He and I both agreed that doing Saturday sessions only every other week in addition to the regular Tuesday morning sessions only created confusion as to when a class was actually being held.  People tended to forget or not know which Saturday was a drawing Saturday.  We both hope that having the sessions consistently every Saturday afternoon would foster increased attendance.  And the increased number of sessions would also result in more work for us models.  I hope that the director will consent to the schedule change and that artists will actually show up.


  1. Ugh, I'm so sorry to hear that :(

    Unfortunately, it does happen, and it's happened to me a few times. I was at one drawing group back in 2010, and *no one* showed up. At all. And the person monitoring it said that the previous week, they only had four people in attendance (and this group generally has at least 8-10 people when it's go-time, plus another four or five that come in later). So basically I walked away with no money out of that gig.

    Another time, I was modeling at a college, and they ended up double-booking models, and I was definitely not the model they needed for that session (they needed a model to bring swim trunks, which I was never told about and the other guy was). Now I was told by a model coordinator at that college that if there was ever a double booking or something similar, I was entitled to collect an hour's pay. Because I was relatively new, I declined (I was honestly concerned that I'd get the money and be marked as a "complainer." Seems silly looking back upon it now, but that's how I felt at the time).

    But kudos to you for being a professional and modeling for the one person in the room. The show must always go on! I remember one time, it was close to kickoff time, and there was only one person in the room, who was a friend of the professor. And he asked me "if no one shows up, would you still model for me." And I said of course! Eventually, a few more people showed up, but I thought that as long as I being paid, even if one person showed up, I still had a job to do.

    I think the hardest part is to not get worried that it's a condemnation of you, like people got the email that said "tonight's model is 'so-and-so," and people went "oh man, I don't want to draw that person!" I'll admit, when I had that no-show gig, that was exactly what I was thinking.

    I'm confident that the lack of a crowd at this session of yours was a fluke. I'm guessing that the proximity to the holidays had something to do with it (people caught up in holiday shopping, cutting back on spending, etc.). I know when I had my no-show gig, it was an extremely hot day right after the end of summer, which I'm sure had something to do with it.

    But you handled it like a real professional! I'm sure there would be other models there that would have tried to cut out early. But you stayed and gave it your best, and that's something to be proud of!

  2. I tend to blame that newsletter that went out the night before saying that the class had not made. The arts center will cancel a class if it has fewer than three artists signed up (because the model will get paid for the session if he or she shows up for it, even if no artists come). This one apparently had three people signed up right when the newsletter went out, and I'm thinking that that scared the other two away.