Thursday, December 29, 2011


Adieu to the frustration of a failed job search (392 applications since July 2010) and 16 interview rejections. Tallyho to irritating family members who don’t accept me for who I am. Toss out all the people who ignore me because of my weight or white hair. Throw over the men who don’t find me appealing. Farewell all the troubles and turmoil internally in my soul. Goodbye to the world’s woes… of 2011.

Technically, the New Year begins with the Winter Solstice but we’ll use January 1st. I continue to hope that the next year will be better. Best wishes to you, your loved ones, and let’s expect that our fellow inhabitants of this tiny planet make better choices in 2012. We have to plan for the future generations. What we do today directly affects every tomorrow.

Choose well.
© 2011 Ima B. Musing

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Blasted bugs have invaded my houseplants. I tote my tropical houseplants outside each summer when the weather rises above 60 degrees. They grow happily in the partial shade of my backyard. This year I decided to try to extend the existence of vegetable plants inside. I successfully over-wintered pepper plants, mint, and parsley last winter.

This fall I brought in peppers, eggplants (never produced during the summer), basil, and oregano plants. The goal is to have them survive to be planted outside in the spring. Recently I noticed that an eggplant leaf was covered with aphids. They won’t harm humans or cats but they will kill a plant. I didn’t want chemicals on edibles so I purchased Bonide Insecticidal Soap from the store. Sprayed the plants in the bathtub and sneezed. I’d prefer to utilize ladybugs but they are hibernating right now.

I have always had a chronic problem with tiny black flies, not fruit flies but little buggers. They were in the house when I moved in and I have never been able to rid myself of the colony. I went against my no-chemical vow to purchase Bonide Systemic Houseplant Insect Control for use on the tropical plants. Nasty but I want to protect my veggies from whatever may be prowling the non-edible growth. Perhaps it will rid me of the dratted flies.

It is important to keep the vegetation watered during this dry season. The botanicals are located in my office due to the south-facing window. I close the door and turn on a wee space heater when I am on-line so the room gets warmed up after about an hour. I suppose that dries out the plants faster. I will water them for a couple weeks with dishy water, a gallon of water with a couple drops of liquid dishwashing soap to help flush out the bugs in the roots. After the prepared spray runs out I’ll mist the leaves with dishwashing soap to discourage bugs. A mild concentration of soap does not harm the plant or fruit in any way. The result is fewer aphids and one worm that tried to make a run for the hallway but died in the process. Tiny black flies remain to my distain.

The flora makes the office smell better. The humidity is nice. Delighted to harvest a ripe red pepper from one of the plants I brought inside. Some of the other plants have small peppers so I have been diligently watering them in hopes of further harvest. The lack of sunlight is not good but I don’t have any artificial grow lights to add to the window. I made the mistake of fertilizing with fish emulsion and the stench was horrific. Whirled fish bits are for outside only.

Fly away bugs!
2011 © Ima B. Musing

Monday, December 26, 2011


Please read the beginning part of this adventure that began on Day One posted December 19th and Day Two/Three posted on December 21st. This is the third and final entry.

Tillie was almost back to normal on the fourth day. I could tell that she was uncomfortable but the doctor advised against painkillers since she would probably overexert herself. Pain slows her down. If she were crying, I would definitely procure some pain medication. However, she would probably spit out the pills like Zozo.

I took off the boxes blocking the low jumps. Tillie quickly leapt on the warm radiator to sleep in the sunshine and look outside. I kept boxes on the tables in an attempt to keep her from high jumps and no stairs until the fifth day. Tillie was thrilled to be able to have access to the basement again. The wound looks okay but sore. She has been licking it but not excessively. I will continue to check it several times a day to make certain that she doesn’t open the wound or make it leak. The wound has an internal mound the size of a pinto bean but that is due to the suture glue they used instead of stitches.

I really ought to take her in for a check-up with my regular vet but I can’t afford the visit. She is playing with Zozo and running amok so I’m not too worried anymore. I’m sure her belly is chilly since the hair is so short. She is eating a lot to grow hair and heal. I’m relieved that she is okay and that there will be no more horny episodes to experience. I really didn’t like to have her butt in my face and neither did Zozo. I meant to get her operated upon over a year ago but delayed until I procured a job, heavy sigh.

Spaying or neutering is a necessity. A fully reproductive feline can produce 11 million offspring within nine years if they all survive and mate according to the Kindest Cut. ELEVEN MILLION CATS, wowza! I’ve never had to buy a kitten or cat because people willingly give them away. People constantly offer me cats but I decline since two critters at a time is adequate. Animal Humane Societies and other nonprofit shelters have an array of animals needing a home. I’ve been fortunate that all three have been mostly healthy. Momo didn’t get ill until the end of life, Zozo had leg issues at the age of one year but healed, and Tillie had the stomach upset this summer. Taking care of animals isn’t free but they give a lot in return. They certainly assist me with reducing anxiety and increasing amusement.

Oh, what we do for the furry bundles of love…
© 2011 Ima B. Musing

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I’m a white head, not due to age but heredity. Many members of my dad’s family had their hair turn white before the age of 40. My auntie dyed her hair for over fifty years until she let it go white. My normally honey-blonde locks began to morph in my mid-twenties. It blended well because my regular hair was a light color. I dyed it a few times but didn’t really like the result. I just let it transform completely white by my mid-thirties.

Decided to color my hair. Not out of vanity but because of the job search. Most people assume that it is just a very light blonde until they look closely. Personally I don’t care. I went through the curl up and dye stage when I was young. I contorted my hair with permanent solutions when I was in grade school since a curly pixie was the fashion. Why do they call it permanent when the treatment only lasts a couple months? It was a horrible process and then I had an allergic reaction. I dyed and shaved my hair during my early 20s. I got too busy during graduate school and lost interest.

I can’t afford to have age to be a factor in hiring. I’m only 40-something and have at least twenty years of full-time work ahead of me. I have very few wrinkles so some people assume that I have had a facelift and retired or else I am 30 years old. It is weird to have such a range of assumptions. During an interview I was asked how long I intend to keep working. The interviewer was clearly older than me and I felt offended. I never hear people questioning the age of men who turn prematurely white like Anderson Cooper, Julian Assange, or Phil Donahue & Steve Martin (30 years ago).

If dyeing my hair will get me a job, then I’ll do it. I hate coloring my hair. My hair is very thin and tends to fall out when it gets colored or permed more than once. It’s a smelly messy process and I dislike the dryness of the scalp afterwards. A good color and cut at a salon can cost close to $100 so I purchased a $10 kit from the drug store.

I carefully read the instructions. Mixed the ingredients and felt ill from the chemical stench. Applied it to my hair and scalp and had to wait. I actually wrote this blog entry while passing time. It was extraordinarily difficult to resist scratching my scalp during the process. It didn’t sting or burn but felt creepy. The result is negligible. I need to procure a darker tone and try again. Ugh!

I despise blonde jokes. There is nothing funny about them. They are pure discrimination against people with a specific hair color. I stop people when they start to share degrading humor focused against anyone. I won’t allow it in my home and all my friends know that fact. I was born with blonde-white hair and my intelligence has nothing to do with hue. Hell, I qualified for MENSA!

Goodbye Grey.
© 2011 Ima B. Musing

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Please read about the operation day posted on December 19th, first.

Didn’t sleep very well. Aghast to discover that I had left the garage door open overnight. I felt panicked but thankfully nothing was stolen or harmed. I must have forgotten to close it as I was bringing Tillie into the house. I am surprised that none of my neighbors called to ask why it was open. Perhaps the cold night dissuaded prowling thieves. Tillie was much perkier and happy to be released from the bathroom. She was perplexed why all the chairs had been removed and boxes stacked on the places where she would normally jump. She scratched at the basement door. Zozo growled at her so I had to keep them separated. Tillie would shuffle backwards in hopes of dislodging the Elizabethan Collar and walked with a high step because she had the collar in her visual field. It was rather entertaining; I wish that I had a movie camera to film her antics.

I picked her up to sit with me on the couch. It was nice to cuddle with Tillie. She relaxed enough to sleep for a bit while I watched the morning news. Lowered her to the floor because she ought not be jumping. I felt a bit guilty to place her back into the bathroom while I ventured upstairs to the office to conduct job search. I reopened the basement door so that Zozo would have access to food and litter downstairs. She used Tillie’s box and food in the bathroom when the basement door was closed. I let Tillie out of the bathroom when I was downstairs but returned her when I had to leave for an evening gathering and bedtime.

Maintained this for 36 hours after the operation. On the second morning Tillie was a bit lethargic and had not gone to the bathroom. I decided to remove the collar. She immediately ran to the food and water bowl even though she was able to eat and drink with the collar on. Within one hour she utilized the litter box and was much happier. Not that I love the smell of cat poo but I glad that she was functional. I was worried that the gastrointestinal tract trouble of this summer had returned.

Zozo continued to hiss at Tillie. I kept them separated when I was gone or upstairs. I didn’t want them to get into a tussle and the incision site harmed. The Kindest Cut staff said that she needed to remain as quiet as possible for at least five days. Difficult to contain a cat since I probably should not duct-tape her to the floor. She was very tired and likes to sleep with her body under the blanket and her head just below my chin. I am her recovery mattress.

Sleep, sleep, perchance to dream.
© 2011 Ima B. Musing

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


“We are mailing you this letter because you are currently receiving Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC). If you run out of EUC benefits, the next program would be the Federal-State Extended Benefits (EB). However, the EB program is ending soon. As a result, you may have only limited eligibility for that program. If you run out of EUC benefits before January 8, 2012, you may be eligible for ED Benefits through the week of January 8, 2012. Under federal law, the EB program will end in Minnesota with the week of January 8, 2012.”

Quoted above is the letter I received from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Ho-ho-smackdown. My EUC benefits have been exhausted and I don’t know if I qualify for the EB program, which will be ending because Minnesota’s unemployment rate has dropped. That is completely unfair to those of us who are still seeking. I hope that Governor Dayton is able to procure a waiver so that the EB program will be continued.

I am frightened of not being able to locate temporary work to pay the bills as I continue to seek permanent full time employment. It will greatly reduce my time to seek a job since it takes many hours to locate positions on line. The Internet has not made the process easier. It reduces the cost of printing and mailing resumes but the time spent looking at 100 websites instead of an hour or two with the Sunday newspaper is not a fair trade. I’ve sent out 374 resumes and been rejected by 16 interviews. Fear and anxiety are raising and I don’t have insurance coverage to see a psychiatrist. I just hope that depression doesn’t get added to the mix, it is torture to be anxious and depressed simultaneously.

I am utterly frustrated that United States Congress has not passed the extension of EUC and EB benefits. They plan to cut low-income energy assistance, employment training, and FEMA programs, which are safety nets for people like me. Congress plans to increase funds for the military despite the ending of the Iraq war, which is totally ridiculous. (NOTE: Members of the Armed Forces should never get pay or benefits cut. Funding should be reduced for hiring contractors and lining the pockets of corporations.) The Tax Zombies are holding everyone hostage. I applaud the efforts of for showing how stupid pledges are for any elected official.

Hire the long-term unemployed, like ME!
2011 © Ima B. Musing

Monday, December 19, 2011


One always fears complications during surgery. I was filled with dread as I dropped off Tillie to be spayed. I felt a bit guilty for taking away her food the night before. Tillie and Zozo sleep in the basement so Zozo was also denied nutrition from a normally open bowl. Before they went to down for the night I gave them a treat. They happily gobbled a quarter can of wet food each.

Tillie experienced her first heat earlier this year and has tortured Zozo and I myriad times with her come hither dance. There are several resources for bargain price spay/neutering in the Twin Cities area. Pet Haven of MN provides free services for people with very reduced income. The Kindest Cut and MN SNAP is $50 for low-income households, and Animal Ark offers $150 certificates to anyone. I qualified for and decided to utilize the Kindest Cut since their schedule and location were convenient. Contact for information or to donate. Danke!

Both felines meowed with an urgent tone for food in the morning. I let Zozo eat but had to comfort Tillie as she whined about experiencing hunger. Loaded her into the carrier and dropped her off filled with trepidation. I decided it was best to remain busy. I went to the food shelf to procure calories since my shelves and refrigerator were nearly empty. Though the food shelf pantry was sparse, I brought home enough to sustain me through the month. Humbled that I have to receive food when I normally donate items or money to help others. It is a triple-whammy because I usually work in the nonprofit or educational arena and my life energy is now deviated by the endless job search. Drove home, unloaded auto, and shelved the groceries. Please contact to assist people in need. Merci!

Commenced to cleaning the downstairs bathroom. Animals need to recover in a sanitary environment. It doesn’t have to be spotless but at least swept and mopped to remove dust. Washed some sheets for her to use as bedding and changed one of the litter boxes into a clean paper pellet box. Regular litter can irritate wounds so paper pellets are better to use until the injury has a few days to heal. Procured a cardboard box to place over the toilet seat to prevent her from hopping upon it and rigged a barrier around the sink to keep her from leaping. Jumping could rip out her internal stitches.

Toted up empty boxes from downstairs to place on the radiators and benches to keep Tillie from springing up, much to Zozo’s dismay because she would be restricted too. I placed a piece of pink insulation to block off the stairwell. I still was worried that there would be complications during surgery but was relieved that she was fine when I arrived to pick her up.

The Kindest Cut staff was very friendly. They really need a portable heated tent for outside their van, it was quite cold. It also would be helpful if more pre-operation and post-operation information was on their website. I tried to remember what my veterinarian had told me what to do with Zozo six years ago but it was a bit fuzzy. If you have a heated tent or funds to donate to them please contact the Kindest Cut directly.

Tillie didn’t cry much on the way home because she was woozy. The weather was below freezing but the car was warmer. I brought her into the house. Zozo growled loudly and hissed so I took Tillie into the bathroom. She was happy to get out of the pet carrier but she was a bit wobbly from the events of the day. She almost tipped over a couple times but I caught her. Distemper and rabies vaccinations and a microchip implantation added to her discomfort, but they were very cheap to procure.

Tillie was famished so I gave her about a teaspoon of the Science Diet Id wet food for sensitive stomach. It was a leftover can from when she experienced a stomach flu during the summer. I wasn’t sure if she would vomit so I kept the amount small. I sat with her. It looked like she peed on herself during the operation but the incision was only about a half an inch in length. I stayed with her for about a half an hour to make certain that she didn’t get ill. Every hour I gave her about a tablespoon of the wet food until she had used up the half a can. I wanted her to rest so I didn’t sit with her the whole time. She purred very loudly for the food. I gave her a small handful of dried food and that stayed down. At 9pm I gave her a bowl of dried food.

At the 9pm check in I noticed that she had been licking the incision site because some to the sterilization orange dye had been removed. Much to Tillie’s dismay I had to place an Elizabethan Collar on her neck. I used Zozo’s old collar from when she injured her leg about five years ago. Zozo had to wear it for four months. Tillie fought the collar, she tugged and scratched but it would not come off. I tightened the gauze so that I could still place a finger underneath to make certain that it wasn’t too tight and choking her. I made certain that the dried food was heaped in the bowl duct-taped to the shower floor, two bowls of water in case she tipped one over, and uncovered the litter box for easy access. She was fine at 10pm so I went to bed.

To be continued…
2011 © Ima B. Musing

Friday, December 16, 2011


Reeking of liquor and cigarette smoke is my first memory of meeting “Santa Claus.” I was a little over four years old. My mom’s best friend, Ronnie, took me to meet him at the only grocery store in our small town while my mom worked. He was positioned in front of a fake fireplace. I told Ronnie that I didn’t want to go close but she gave me a shove. St. Nick plopped me on top of his lap and burped. I was perturbed. A photo was snapped of me looking very unhappy.

Much to my parent’s consternation I announced that Santa wasn’t real. They tried to convince me otherwise but I was certain that it was a big hoax. A few days after my encounter with Smelly Santa I was loaded into the car with my sisters and taken on a long drive. We bounced over country roads and ended up on an isolated farm. At the end of a road was a hutch, which was painted white and decorated with candy canes and other holiday décor. The inside was warmed by a potbelly stove and crammed with Christmas paraphernalia.

A jolly Man In Red with a real white beard greeted us. He smelled of soap. He knew a lot about me and my skepticism ebbed a bit. Why the heck would Santa bother to sit in a tiny building in Minnesota? Doesn’t he have a lot to do besides talk to a kid? I was never completely convinced but played along because it made my parents happy.

After that experience I began to question everything. If Jolly Old St. Nicolas wasn’t real, what was? What other lies had my parents told me?? My journey into esoteric thought began… and hasn’t ended.

© 2011 Ima B. Musing

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Cloudy days during winter are the pits. I’d rather have it sunny and cold than cloudy and warm. However, I was happy for the rain because it will help the trees and perennials survive the dry cold air. My seasonal affective disorder/syndrome is in full reign when the clouds block the sunshine. I crave carbohydrates, especially a sweet treat and salty treat simultaneously like cookies and potato chips.

Add in my monthly menses and all I want to do is sleep and eat junk food. Not helpful. I have a full spectrum light, which I have on a timer to make certain that I don’t forget and operate it for an hour after sunset each night. I generally wake up okay so I don’t need it in the morning. However, on overcast days I will turn it on whenever I am near just to trick my brain. I take a daily dose of St. John’s Wort and that seems to be enough to alleviate the blues.

Stress and anxiety of unemployment makes SAD worse. I have learned that distraction is a good thing. My main life focus right now is job search. When I have extra time I work on projects around the house, read, blog, herd cats, and hang out with friends. I strive to be physically active but the cold bothers my lungs and malls cause me to sneeze. I’ll be shoveling snow when that falls. I need an inhaler for my asthma but that will have to wait for the job…

Long night’s journey into day will begin soon (winter solstice), though the temperatures seem to dip into the recesses of the Artic for a couple months afterwards. Gloom and doom. Difficult to hold onto optimism. I want to be self-sufficient again. I’m accustomed to taking care of myself and prefer to help others than be a recipient. It isn’t about arrogance; it’s just that I feel better when I am assisting others. This bee wants to buzz!

Seeking Sunshine!
© 2011 Ima B. Musing

Monday, December 12, 2011


Dear Mr. Kringle,
All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth. Actually, I seek a full-time job with benefits so that I can afford to have my two front teeth crowned. I have temporary caps right now and one chipped last year so it looks horrible. I cannot afford to get it fixed until I procure employment.

I don’t expect the perfect position, just one that pays enough to cover the bills. I would like to do a job that I am good at and enjoy but I’m willing to do almost anything. I would like a nice boss who doesn’t micromanage and co-workers who are nice. It would be most amenable to be within ten miles of home, on a bus line, or within walking distance of home. A real office with a door would be a treat since I don’t do very well in a cube.

I live a very modest life (no cable, 12 year old car, no smart phone, etc). I don’t get a thrill from the acquisition of stuff. I need dental and health care insurance because it is blasted expensive to procure on my own ($279 per month with no vision coverage). I desperately need new eyeglasses because my old ones are scratched and blurry due to aging eyes.

The cats need checkups, vaccinations, and Tillie spayed. The house requires electrical and plumbing updates. Two lights aren’t functioning and some of the wiring is very old and must be replaced. The shower isn’t working, the bathtub leaks, and two faucets drip. The piping is steel and has buildup inside. The front walkway has crumbled. The basement floods easily so it needs trench drains. Lots of preservation is desired for this nearly 100-year-old abode. I want to pay for all these repairs by working.

I’ve been a good person and diligently sought a job. I’ve sent out 368 applications and been on 16 interviews, thus far. I network as much as possible. I volunteer regularly to help others and gave vegetables from my garden to others. I helped two neighbors with designing and seeding their own native perennial yards. I’ve provided a lot of free babysitting for friends and consulting work. I strive to better my community.

Thank you for your time and contemplation of this request.

Safe travels,

Believe in hope.
© 2011 Ima B. Musing

Friday, December 9, 2011


Tales of the City series of books by Armistead Maupin, Part II of review. Please read Part I posted on December 7th, first. Mr. Maupin has also authored several other books but I haven’t had the opportunity to read them, yet.

Significant Others (5th in series) Three and a half worms
Calamity returns! The characters get back to silly chaos and humor. The Grove sounds like more fun than the Wood but what happened to Frannie’s retreat? Serious topic of HIV and AIDS included, though very little was known about the disease at the time. Characters seem to have abruptly ceased chemical use without explanation.

Sure of You (6th in series) Three worms
No murder mystery or kidnapping, just solid character development though one person has devolved. The holiday in Greece was most amenable. Nickel-Dime chapter is a frank discussion about terminal illness and those left behind.

Michael Tolliver Lives (7th in series) Three and a half worms
Single narrative voice is a modification from the multi-character storyline. Strong storytelling and humor. Some of Michael’s viewpoints are repeated to the point of exasperation, once is adequate. Relationship status should not define a person.

Mary Ann in Autumn (8th in series) Three worms
Return to a simplified multi-character storyline. Interesting twist with the return of a character, though it was obvious to me after the email scene. Several good passages augment character development. Perhaps one or two more books will continue the story…

Spoiler Alert! Don’t read this paragraph if you haven’t read the books, the plot line will be discussed. Michael is my favorite character. He is a “nice” person who muddles through the roller-coaster of life. Mary Ann became unlikable. She morphed into an unfeeling monster and only showed a little vulnerability in the last book. Mrs. Madrigal is fascinating and deserves a biography-style treatment. I like her wisdom about change, “You don’t have to keep up dear. You just have to keep open.”

Stay open to change.
© 2011 Ima B. Musing

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Summary of Volume I was published on November 6th. Decided to review a series of books by Armistead Maupin. Intrigued by the scandalous BBC miniseries rebroadcast on PBS (nude scenes severely edited) to read the first three books about fifteen years ago. It would be cool if BBC would film another miniseries. Too bad Thomas Gibson won’t be included; he was deliciously naughty in the BBC show.

Tales of the City (1st in series) Three worms
Story line is a bit choppy but that is probably because it began as a newspaper column. Limited space makes the story terse at times. I especially enjoyed Michael’s diatribe about the holiday conspiracy.

More Tales of the City (2nd in series) Four worms
Stronger narrative flow with better developed characters. Events woven together for the adage of “small world in a big city.” Once again, the voice of Michael is the most poignant. His “Letter to Mama” could be used for the current “It Gets Better” campaign. Thankfully, our culture has become more inclusive but we have a ways to go to accept people for who they are instead of merely tolerate or openly despise them. Michael would definitely be a Little Monster fan of Lady Gaga and gleefully sing out “I was born this way!”

Further Tales of the City (3rd in series) Three worms
Storyline becomes a bit fantastical. Chemistry lacking since of the main characters is completely absent. The thriller aspect kills off the humor. The writing is strong but I miss the whimsy. Odd that the characters continue use of mind-altering substances despite aging.

Babycakes (4th in series) Two and a half worms
Creative bookends to the storyline, I like how the beginning and the end are tied together. Overweight people are maligned and the Little People of America (or the English counterpart) should have been consulted for respectful verbiage. Ending is a bit too sweet and tidy.

Other notable:
Visited the 1968 Exhibit at the Minnesota History Center and thought of death by macramé, which occurs in one of the Maupin books. The exhibit starts with the Vietnam War and then moves into politics and arts. The grade-schoolers who were there giggled at the old voting machine, which I remember being awed by as a little kid. It sounded so cool with the lever jingle and looked like the wizard’s booth in Wizard of Oz. Exhibit ended with the Apollo program. The display cases need rounded corners, an audio tour option, and better exit signage. All I remember about 1968 was being in the hospital for a tonsillectomy.

Reviews of the series will be continued in the next edition.
© 2011 Ima B. Musing

Monday, December 5, 2011


Simple guidelines to improve any art crawl. Attendees will greatly appreciate efforts made to develop the experience. Location refers to the site of artist’s display; it could be a building, studio, or home. Timing is everything. It is advisable to offer a variety of open hours. It is great when the event starts on a Friday evening and is open both Saturday and Sunday during the daytime. Don’t hold it on the same weekend as a major competing event, such as the Minnesota State Fair. It is good to coincide with other events in the area; a Zombie Art Crawl would be a fun addition to the Zombie Pub Crawl in downtown St. Paul.

The sponsoring organization or committee can easily increase attendance with clear information. The website should be updated with as many details as possible, include directions and a map. If there is construction nearby, offer advice regarding bus, alternative routes, and parking. Improve logistics with a detailed map available online and print some to be handed out at each location. Free parking is essential. Procure a trolley bus to ferry people around at large events. Make certain that the trolley makes frequent trips, at least every fifteen to twenty minutes. Invite neighboring businesses to participate by offering special deals for art crawl attendees.

It is okay to request donations to support the sponsoring group, as long as it is a nonprofit entity. Obvious signage is essential since many of the art crawl patrons are unfamiliar with the area. Post large signs with big print at each location (one for each entrance). Make certain that they are big enough for someone driving by to notice. Sandwich boards are helpful when a sidewalk is involved. Balloons or streamers are nice to add movement to the signs.

A smiling Welcome Host should greet patrons at all entrances to the building. It creates a positive attitude for the visitors. Hand out or post interior maps of each building. It is nice to have wandering Information Guides in large buildings to help people who become disoriented. Display a schedule of special activities occurring in the building, like performances. Clearly mark what areas to avoid, such as loading docks. Clean bathrooms with toilet paper should be indicated. Elevator and accessible buildings are essential. Utilize food trucks to supplement dining at large buildings or isolated locations with no restaurant.

The artist is the most important element of a successful art crawl. Friendly artists who actually want to show their artwork establish the tone of the event. Consider each guest as a customer. They may not purchase art during the crawl but harbor potential. Don’t display every piece of artwork but a few examples of each series. Prices should be clearly displayed with good lighting. Create an atmosphere with some background music and scent. The display space should be accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. If outside, make certain that the yard is cleared for walking and post additional signs if you want patrons to follow a specific pathway. Pets should be positioned away from the display because they may scare or become frightened of the art crawl attendees.

Good to have friends or family to help but always focus on the patron visiting. Be available for questions. It is fascinating to watch demonstrations or view a display of the process the artist uses to create their work but don’t ignore the guests. Business cards should be available with email and phone number. Simple refreshments are fine but extra points for homemade items, beverages, vino, and compostable plates/glasses. At the very minimum have a website or Facebook Fan Page featuring the artwork; create a separate account for personal friends and family. Twitter, blogs, and other social media accounts are good, too. If your exhibit space permits, invite an emerging artist to display their work and highlight all social entrepreneur activities (such as a percentage of sales get donated to a charity).

I felt honored to attend and review these events during 2011.
Reviews Posted:
Art-A-Whirl on June 23rd
St. Paul Art Crawl on October 24th
Highland Fest & Art Fair on August 5th
LOLA Art Crawl on September 21st
Powderhorn Art Fair on August 25th

Thank you artists!
© 2011 Ima B. Musing