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Artists Studio Tour didn’t go according to my plans at all

Published: Monday, Oct. 29, 2012 12:00 p.m. CST

I was part of the Southeast Iowa Artists Studio Tour this fall. It was my second year for participation, and I was thinking maybe this would be my last year for the tour. 

I’d had several shows lately, and was sort of burnt out; plus, I hadn’t advertised the event as I was supposed to. A small turnout would be the result. That was fine with me. Iowa State was playing football on television at 11 a.m. I could kick back, eat popcorn, watch the game, and just have a relaxing day.

The best laid plans of mice and men often go asunder.

I was just unloading my stuff from the truck and trailer, which were still loaded from the last show, when the first car pulled up. It was a lady from Minnesnowta. It turns out she is an author, having grown up in the Lockridge area, and had just written her first book about her grandmother. 

Of course, she just happened to have a copy in the back seat of her auto. And, of course, I purchased it. I’m a sucker for homespun Iowa stories. Oh yes, her name is Teri Ferguson Thompson, and her book is “As I Remember: Lakeside Reflections of Mary Gilson Ferguson.”

The football game at 11 was a flop; Iowa State got the snot beat out of them, as did Iowa later in the evening. I would just get sat down, and get the hand-to-mouth popcorn rhythm flowing, when Holly Dog would let us know someone had stopped. There was a pretty steady stream of people in and out.

Just after lunch, there were about half-a-dozen people in my studio, and I was playing the host. Mary signaled over the crowd that there were people at the back door. I looked up. Sure ‘nuff, there were three strange men at the back sliding door. 

One of them had a camera on his shoulder. Time stood still. They looked like visitors from outer space. I opened the back sliding door, and one of the men said, “Hi. We’re from Iowa Public Television, may we come in?”

I stood there with my mouth open. Mary said later I had that deer-in-the-headlights look. Why had they come to the back door instead of the front? They said later that they thought the signs were pointing to the back.

Media types are easily confused.

Even though they said they were from IPTV, and one guy had a camera on his shoulder, my mind heard Iowa Public Radio. I said, “Oh, I already contributed.” They said, “No-no, we are here to interview you about the tour and your artwork; with your permission.”

The six people who had been in the studio evaporated into thin air. I heard later that someone else drove up for the tour, but when they saw the IPTV van, they kept on going.

The three men turned out to be super nice guys (and standup comics). They were traveling around the four counties involved in the Artists Studio Tour, doing spot interviews. There was a cameraman, producer, and moderator. Gulp.

They were putting together a show that would feature local Iowa artists. The feature will run sometime in June. Of course, I granted the interview. What an opportunity to promote the arts and the Southeast Iowa Studio Artists Tour.

As they departed, they were asking directions to the next studio. I noticed they drove off in the wrong direction.

On second thought, maybe I will participate in the Studio Artists Tour next year.

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