Art Exhibit Scheduled for May at Square One Isn't Happening


Shon Tenaj #3, 18x24 matte framed.

My father told me many years ago that communication is the key to success in all things. It makes perfect sense for obvious reasons. Nothing works when communication breaks down. In layman's terms , lack of communication is the beginning of all fuck ups. Bear with me for a bit as I explain how this applies. The image you see above is one of the framed prints that was planned for display and sale at Square One Coffee on South 13th street. I was scheduled in June of 2018 to present in May of 2019. A lot of time and money was spent updating current and old works, paying for high quality prints, buying frames as well as creating new works for the collection. Now, the exhibit isn't happening. Why? Lack of communication (or miscommunication in some cases) from the venue which caused too many problems to deal with.


Nearly three weeks ago the first red flag occurred. I emailed the contact person to ask about alternative wall mounting materials. There was no response. I sent a text to the contact person's phone number and she replied stating that she no longer works for the company. Fortunately, I was given a second contact person's information so I emailed them.


No response.


I frequent the location on a regular basis so during a visit I asked an employee who was overseeing the art displays since the previous contact person left the company. I wasn't told who was handling those responsibilities, only that someone was, so I left my contact info for them so I could get answers to relevant questions (set up time, alternative wall mounting materials etc). Waiting until the last minute to do anything is usually a recipe for failure.


No response.


At this point, I was on the verge of giving up.


Watercolor Flower 8x10 framed.

I was told in 2018 that each artist is given a month to display their work with one night that would serve as a open house of sorts to invite guests. The display would have to be removed at the end of month so the the next artist scheduled can set up their work in the space the first of the next month. During my ordeal, we were already into May and I hadn't heard anything from anyone about the time I was scheduled to present. No one contacted me to tell me when I could set up the space. No one contacted me about the new contact person. No one contacted me to address questions I had about the wall mounting materials. I made one last attempt on May 3rd to contact someone, anyone at Square One about my scheduled time which took emailing two addresses on their website and finally received a response. Apparently the new contact person didn't input my email correctly when trying to contact me. But that doesn't explain why the second contact person never replied, never forwarded my previous emails to the appropriate person, never contacted me until the 3rd of May.


Ok, it sucks but I finally got through to someone so my thought was to run with it. I was told that the current artist's open house was later that day (May 3rd) and the display would be taken down later that night. I was asked if I could set up Saturday morning at opening or Saturday evening at 6 p.m. before closing. I chose the morning but said I could do 6 p.m. if the open house caused complications that make a Friday night take down of the work impossible. I didn't get a response (again) so I packed up the artwork and arrived at opening of business hours this morning with my father in tow to help with the set up. Then the final red flag happened that caused me to give up on it all.



Cold Waters of Winter 11x17 framed.

The artwork of the previous display was still up. Speaking with a young woman on staff working the cafe who tried her best to help, I was then told that the current artist was given the entire weekend to leave her work up meaning I couldn't set up anything until the 5th at the earliest. The new contact person never said anything about this in her email on the 3rd. Quite the opposite. Apparently the young woman's manager(s)or art director was contacting her while we were talking at the location, trying to relay messages but at that point, the writing was on the wall. The left hand wasn't telling the right hand what was going on because the woman trying to help apologized a number of times saying she had no idea what was going on. It was clear at that point that my scheduled May event was not meant to happen. It's already May 4th and the first (second and third) impression wasn't favorable. Emails were left unanswered, questions were left unaddressed, misinformation...not good.


The turn of events are unfortunate because Square One was my go-to location to work on various creative projects away from home be it freelance or other. Cosi on 12th and Walnut was the best since my days in college when it was called Xando's but that location closed a couple of years ago. Starbucks is the absolute worst so that was never an option. I have never been to a Starbucks location that wasn't annoying. Square One was a good alternative. Now I have to find a new location.

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