The gallery setup December, 2014, rolled around and I hadn’t heard any more information and updates from the woman in charge of the gallery. I emailed and called for two weeks. I finally received the information that she was taking care of an elderly parent and would get back to me which she did about a week later. By this time it was early January. Another woman who told me she was the newly appointed curator for the gallery then contacted me. She gave me the information that I needed about when I was going to hang the artwork and when the show was going to be taken down. She then sent a revised layout of the gallery floor plan as they had renovated the space earlier in the year. I got to work and began taking the measurements of my work and laying the information onto the floor plan drawing. Fortunately, I had printed several copies and penciled in the dimensions so I could get the arrangement of work the way I wanted it to be displayed. A few days later I was with friends at a garden art show in Miami when I received a phone call from the curator. When they had transitioned over to the new curator, one of the artists that had been previously selected to exhibit had been mistakenly told that she could have the time slot to exhibit that I had been assigned. How was she going to resolve the problem and keep everyone happy? I agreed to allowing my work to be shown in the gallery for a month and a half and then move the artwork downstairs and across the street to the lobby of the Secretary of State’s office. They would move the artwork for me and re-hang the show. Whew! I finalized my arrangements and began packing my artwork. After I bagged and wrapped all of my paintings I loaded up my station wagon with my husband and started the seven hour drive north to Tallahassee. We decided to make a mini vacation out of it and stretched it out over two days. We were then able to catch up with a friend in Tampa and spend the evening at a favorite restaurant in Ocala. We even ate three-dozen oysters at an old Florida restaurant near Tallahassee!
The next day we had made arrangements to meet State Representative Mark Pafford, the House Minority Whip in his office in the Capitol. We had met him a month earlier at a chance encounter in the Everglades and I had looked him up and told him when I was going to be in the building. Meanwhile, I had to park my car on the building grounds—not an easy task. The curator met us at the guard gate and arranged our parking while we went upstairs to see him. We then drove the car into the bowels of the building after the police ran a mirror under the car and lowered the security walls to allow us to drive in. We placed all of the artwork on a rolling cart and load it onto one of the two elevators that would stop at the twenty-second floor. Then the three of us began the over four hour process of hanging the work. The woman who was supposed to assist the curator was out helping her mother—otherwise the curator was going to have to hang the twenty-five pieces of artwork herself. Thank goodness for my husband the handyman!
He speeded up the task and quickly figured out the hanging logistics for some of the larger paintings. We worked until we were told we had to leave at 5:30 pm as the building was closing. When we tried to leave we had to speak to security through an intercom box so they could raise the guard gates. We drove off and celebrated with an early dinner and returned to the hotel for the evening.
The next morning we met our State Representative, Kathleen Passidomo and her aide, at the gallery so she could see the exhibition and we could have some publicity pictures taken. (She ran her picture in her weekly newsletter that week). I took pictures of the entire exhibition for my own records and spent a few minutes savoring the excitement and self satisfaction. I had achieved my goal!