Community exhibit (by appointment only)


Somewhere, near you, is an exhibition hall.

Not necessarily a fancy exhibition hall, or a committed to massive quantity and impressive quality exhibition hall. Instead, a place where exhibits and showcases and more can be held. Think a library, town hall, or just some recognized facility such as a museum or a church.

These are places where local artists can display their works, and people can gather to experience such a display. And… often… places so familiar, and perhaps even hidden in the community’s background, that its presence is almost taken for granted. You get in the car, drive by, and may not even notice announcements on the boards out front.

The place is just there. Almost always has been. You know what it offers. You check it out when needed.

We take them for granted.

My professional endeavors led me along a new route recently. Had to spend time at a different location. Drove along roads I do not usually frequent. One morning, while waiting at a red light, a display off to the side briefly caught my eye. The light changed and traffic began to move, with my thoughts only capturing the notice of an exclusive engagement.

But that first sighting was not the last. A few days later I was driving the same route, stopped at the same light, and with a bit more time to look around my gaze eventually reached the display again.

It was a limited engagement from a local artist.


A switch to green and moving traffic prevented me from learning any more.

The next day, as I was approaching the intersection, I remembered the signage. Despite a green light meaning traffic was moving without a pause, I was able to spot that the exhibit was available by appointment only.

And that was the first moment when things seemed a bit strange.

But not that strange.

Have you ever looked for a rare or unique musical instrument? For one example, consider a guitar that’s expensive or not readily available in the country where you live.

Over the years—to continue with such an example—I’ve been trying to find a place where I might be able to see, look over, and perhaps play a Rickenbacker electric guitar or a Maton acoustic guitar. Neither is commonly available to see, however. And because of the… if you well… combination of scarcity and cost, even places that are able to offer these instruments to the public don’t like to make them available to the public. At least they don’t like making them available to the general, unsupervised, not really a serious buyer public. And so, many times they have viewings by appointment only.

Along a different path, but similar idea, some artists would like to be there when others view their work. To answer questions… collect feedback and opinions… and perhaps consider a purchase offer. Viewings by appointment only.

And so… a local exhibit, at a small facility, with a schedule organized around appointments.

Curious. That’s a good word for it. (But not that strange. Until…)

After a few days off and some tending to other concerns, it was roughly five days later that I found myself approaching the host establishment of the by appointment art exhibit. It was not at the forefront of my thoughts. Ah… but the light was red.

As the bottom line of text for the display—and given my experiences with this display, what we might consider the fine print of the exhibit—was an interesting little tidbit.

Adults only.

An exhibit, available by appointment only, at a smaller place off to the side of what would be considered the main road for a very quiet town. Adults only.

The announcement has since been changed. A local photographer’s work featuring waterfalls in regional state parks is now in the space. At least, I think in the space. I never made an appointment for the adults only review, and I haven’t seen the waterfall exhibit. However, perhaps strangely works here, I find comfort in the fact that both exhibits found a home. (Albeit temporary.)

There tends to be an approach toward potentially controversial materials. A NIMBY approach. (Not In My Back Yard) It’s an approach that often results in extra attention being given a subject simply because someone wants to make a point that has absolutely nothing to do with the specific item involved. An approach that defies change the channel or look a different way. An approach that claims freedoms and censorship and more.

In this particular moment, it took me four passes to get to the fine print of the matter. No one was demonstrating outside in opposition. No one was on a pedestal claiming brilliance. It was a simple invitation. Come along if you wish and make a reservation, though not suitable for the younger audience.

The fact of an exhibit by appointment. A passing exhibit I could have easily never known existed.


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