On Thursday, a colleague called and asked if I wanted to be part of a flash mob type gathering on Saturday. She said we'd dress in black and walk from her studio to a new gallery that some of our student alumni had just opened in Dania, FL. We'd hold paintings and walk; we'd be a moving gallery of sorts.
I thought it sounded intriguing, and so I went. It happened much as she had in mind. We began in the studio that she shares with her spouse. I love artists' studios. I love the supplies, the tools, the works-in-progress, the sense of potential and creativity at work.
We had a variety of people walking: painters, poets/writers, fabric artists, students, a child. We tried to keep several feet between us. We walked on the sidewalk and held the paintings out to the streets.
At one point, we heard distant sirens drawing closer. I thought of all the social justice gatherings I've attended in the past, all the times I didn't get arrested. I peacefully protested nuclear weapons at the Pentagon; I demanded that the U.S. divest from South Africa to show disapproval of apartheid. I thought of the AIDS marches, the pro-choice marches, all without incident. Would this be the time I got arrested? Are there laws preventing people from holding their paintings and walking on a sidewalk?
Of course not. The sirens weren't about us at all. A few cars from the sheriff's department blared by us, and we kept walking to our final destination.
We talked about doing this more often. I would have liked some way to convey to motorists what we were doing. We walked past political poster after political poster. I'm sure those motorists wondered what we were protesting.
I saw the opportunity for promotion. I know that a flash mob is supposed to seem like a spontaneous thing, and thus, alerting the media early subverts that idea. Still, it seems like a shame to lose the possibility of explaining the importance of the arts.
I remind myself that it's not my flash mob. Maybe that wasn't our purpose at all.
Still, it was fun to gather with other artists, to hear about their projects, to take a short walk on a Saturday with glorious weather in support of an arts district.