Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Onward and Upward with the Arts

Today I planned to go to my local art museum, which is hosting an exhibition of Impressionist paintings from the Art Institute of Chicago. The exhibition has been here since June and I suddenly realized last weekend that this was the last week, so I decided to go today, while Mr. Blue was in school. Tuesdays are half-price days, I learned, so I congratulated myself on saving money while I take in some culture, which is something that I vaguely remember enjoying before I had children.

You probably already see where this is going, but I didn't. Not until I saw the museum and the five or so school buses parked beside it. And the full parking lots. Right at the time when the museum opened.

Now as a former teacher who believes wholeheartedly in the arts and the necessity of exposing America's young people to more edifying work than MTV's latest reality shows in order to provide an antidote to the inanities of popular culture, I don't mind telling you that I said some impolite words.

But only in my car, of course. (I'm sure the teenagers could have taught me some worse ones if I had asked.)

Anyway, besides students, there were a LOT of middle-aged people there (I guess I should count myself, although I HOPE I live longer than 66). While waiting in line, I found myself thinking grouchy thoughts about the number of people in my city who wanted to come look at art. I didn't think there WERE that many people who like to look at pictures. I mean, this is TEXAS--not exactly what you think of as the cultural capital of America.

Fortunately, the line moved quickly, and I soon found myself contemplating a crowded gallery with only an audio tour receiver for support.

Did I mention I have a mild phobia of crowds?

Seriously, just ask Justin. If it gets too crowded in the mall or the grocery store, I get all edgy and snappish and I just want to get out of there.

But I had already paid for my ticket. Half-price didn't make it cheap enough for me to bail.

I ended up being so glad I went. Yes, it was crowded, but here's a revelation: people who go to museums are MORE POLITE than the people who crowd into movies or Wal-Mart. Yes, it's true. You heard it here first: art really does make you a better person. Even the students were well-behaved.

And the pictures were absolutely stunning. All in all, a wonderful day.



  1. Oh yes, love art! Just being around art is so life enriching. That's probably because I'm starved though, way up in the hinterlands of Canada. When we were in the States last we took the kids to the Dayton Art Institute. Even they enjoyed it (until it got too long.) Good for you for going! Good for you for enjoying!

  2. *shiver* I won't say phobia, but the sight of crowds normally turns me off, though during my retail life, I badly needed crowds *laugh*....

    good that your enjoyed yourself!

  3. Renoir!!!!!!! Oh I heart him so much.

    I would have LOVED to go with you.. .I hate crowds too.

    I went to a Monet exhibit in Chicago many years ago... the line was horrendous but it was SOOOOOOOO worth it!!!!

  4. Good for you for still going in despite your reservations. I mean, who wants to be surrounded by snarly teenagers?! (I may have a different descriptor for them once my kids hit that age range but for now, they're snarly.)

    Long live the arts!

  5. I love art, the arts, art museums, art class, art deco, you name it! I saw the Monet exhibit at the Art Institute, and I love Impressionist paintings in general.