June 17, 2008

One Night Only

So last night Bertram had his first-ever, all night sleepover at his sitter's house. It just did not make sense to pick Bert up (waking him up) at midnight and then bring him home. He spent a contented night with his sitter, who declared that he was an angel. Indeed, he slept from 8:30p to 7:30a. Forget angel, I'd call that a freaking miracle, considering that he sleeps so lightly at home.

While Bert was acting like a little angel, his parents were partying like it was 1999. We were celebrating the re-opening of HERE Arts Center. That place is a testament to two things--
  • the resolve of a tiny but dedicated staff (I was once one of them)
  • the power of small donations
Yes, HERE had quite a few large donations in order to make its re-design a reality, but at the end of the day--it was the power of hundreds of everyday folks giving in small amounts. Yeah, it took HERE five years since the day it purchased its space, but look at that place now.

When I think about what I leave behind in this world, HERE is one of the great things that I have helped to make happen. Though my name is not in the spotlight or well known--I'm one of the many cogs in the wheel. Remember folks, without the cogs, the wheel won't turn.

This world does not give recognition to the nonprofit arts fund raisers, the marketers, and accountants--the people who often work without benefits and well under what they ought to be paid for the amount of overtime they put in, all in the service of art. (It's okay though I suppose, because this country doesn't value its artists either.) No achievement wall is made for all the times a development staff member managed to get out a personalized mailing to 300 donors and funders on ancient, testy office equipment, then that same staff member might spend two- to-four hours stuffing, sealing and putting postage on that mailing in a hot, sweaty basement dungeon with no air or circulation. Or the time a person spends filling out stacks and stacks of ridiculous paperwork to various city and state agencies to justify that yes, this organization is worthy of a small grant that won't even come close to making a dent in the amount of money needed to produce a season's worth of work. No glory is to be found as an arts administrator.

Frankly, I'm getting past the age where I care about the glory. I'm proud to be one of the anonymous. Maybe some day I'll have a big purse so that other people can make a big deal about how I opened it and dolled out cash to support what I love or because my friend or other social networking type convinced me that I should.

My name is not on any wall, but I hope that my child will one day say, my mother helped make art happen. She helped to make this place--HERE, be HERE forever.

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