Tuesday, October 09, 2007

My public apology and explanation: I'M SORRY FOR STEPPING ON YOUR BIG FAT TOES!

A couple of weeks ago I got an e-mail from a local art group my desire to be helpful and get the word out to more artists backfired. I will change the names as I write this as it is just a tantrum and my venting about some art group drama, e-mail being miss used, egos being stepped on and things being blown way out of proportion. This is the e-mail......

Dear (artists organization) members: The Boys and Girls club of ALLISAW is making an artist call.If you would like to contribute your knowledge to a small group of enthusiastic young kids, this is your opportunity.The Boys and Girls Club is working to bring unique skills to it's kids and art is one of them. They are looking for artists in any medium, willing to donate any amount of time to broaden the horizons of their kids. You could offer a one time demonstration to teenagers, or set-up a 3 week session for elementary students, or even offer one-on-one classes in your specialty. The time, dates and age of students would be up to you.This could be good exposure for those of you who like to have students for private lessons. And for the rest of you artists this is a great way to 'spread the art' and give back to the community. Your efforts could inspire some young artist to follow their imagination.Please give this opportunity some thought and call Jeth Melley at the Boys and Girls club @ 123-4567 or e-mail him at www.skelley@bgcalaska.org for more information.PS. In exchange for volunteering, the Boys and Girls Club can offer meeting space. They often find it's large meeting space empty and would like to see it used for functions, classes, meetings, workshops, etc. Thank you for giving this consideration. (Name of Person who wrote this message, position, the web site e-mail etc)

So I called (Jeth) to discuss the possibility of giving a wax demonstration to the boys and girls and teaching a class. In the course of the conversation, he asked me if I knew other artists or venues he could use to get the word out? I said sure a Yahoo group that posts events and happenings in Alaska. I could post the message there. So unconsciously and without thinking copied and pasted the body of the message (IN RED) to the yahoo group. To be fair there is some bad blood between (artists organization) and the person who started that Yahoo group. Not my problem.

I got a call a week or so later from (insert name) apologizing to me for the strongly worded e-mail she sent to me that she should have never mailed it. (The e-mail I never recieved) We had a nice chat and everything was fine.
I sincerely said I am sorry for stepping on any toes, explained the conversation I had with Seth etc. and admitted it was inconsiderate of me to not at least call before I foreward any e-mails. Then I followed it up with an e-mail just to make sure she got my apology. Following is the e-pology.

Dear (insert name),

Whatever you said in your e-mail did not come across into my box. Strange. But if you were harsh I understand why.
Like I said I am challenged in certain areas where common sense and diplomacy should prevail.
Again; my apologies for not paying you a phone call, using your words and not saying where the info came from.
You’re doing an excellent job as president of the (ARTISTS ORGANIZATION)
I will watch your art career with interest.
I appreciate your deference towards me.

Very Sincerely
Judy Vars

Was that ass kissy and contrite enough? Then I forgot about it.
she writes back.....

Thanks Judy, I appreciate your friendship and was afraid I might have jeopardized it. I glad I could explain myself and we could work it out.
Talk to you later.
(author of the call for artists e- mail)

Now a few weeks later and over the weekend I get e-mails from a local business woman and artist, saying "I emailed Ms (author of the call for artists) and told her that her response was unprofessional and inappropriate and to please take me off of her list. She was over the top. This is silliness I just don't have interest or time for something that small minded. Who really cares? Nobody I've seen is a master artist here in the valley. Even the most popular are just that. The egos need a reality check."

Up until them I thought it was better if I didn't see the e-mail but (business lady) got me curious just what was in the e-mail and why did she see it??? I thought it was sent only to me and I somehow missed it. So I had MsBusiness Lady to foreward me a copy of the e-mail she had recieved.
The following e-mail was sent to everyone in the artists organization a large group of other people on the mailing list!

Dear Judy and whomever else sent this message:

I have a problem with this. The writing below is taken directly from an e-mail that I composed and sent to the membership of the (artists organization) a week or so ago. Yet, my name and the name of our group has been removed from the original text. This is plagiarism. The opportunity with the Boys and Girls club was offered directly to the (artists organization)by (director of Boys and Girls club) when he attended one of our meetings after contacting me. I understand that some of our members are also members of other groups, but opportunities from our (artists organization) cannot simply be copied and pasted and offered to the other art groups without the permission of the (artists organization). Neither should anyone simply omit the name of the original author and sender. This is misleading. I do not have a problem working with other art groups to support a good cause like the Boys and Girls Club, but information must be shared properly. The rights of each group, and the possible special nature of these opportunities must be respected. I would appreciate that this matter be rectified, either by an explanation being sent to the members of vfaa@yahoogroups.com or by this e-mail I have sent you being forwarded to the members of (Rival Yahoo Group) though the yahoo group site and any other place it was sent. Again, with this particular opportunity the (artists organization) does not mind, it even encourages artists from all groups to participate with the Boys and Girls Club. However, credit for where these opportunities come from must be made clear and permission should be sought before forwarding to other art groups. I hope the same is done from any other groups to us. Respectfully, (insert name of person and artists association here)

Well I'm aghast! and quite embarrassed! So before everyone throws me into stocks and pelts me with rotten tomatoes, may I publicly offer my apologies for presuming that other artists in the valley might be able to pitch in and offer their talents for young people.

I learned my lesson:

  • Never cut and paste someone elses words.
  • I will always give the author and source their credit.
  • Always have the courtesy to call someone on the telephone and ask first.

The older I get the less things like this seem to matter. I just can't please all of the people all of the time (although I try) and I can forgive myself for not being perfect and other people for there inperfectuns and sillyness also. WoW I've given this waaaaaay too much of my time.....


P.A. GIbbons said...

Judy; one of the reasons I do not get head-over-heels involved with OUR local art org is for the very same reason. There are so many dramas, ego fights, etc. I don't take sides, I don't even want to be involved in it. I am there for the art, not for ego, not for power, ok, a bit of socialization is always a good thing, but JEEZ, I have no TIME for such silliness. I forward requests like this all the time. If anything, you were trying to be diplomatic in leaving the name off the letter so as to keep things calm, no? It has become THEIR problem, and all it does is make those involved seem like a bunch of pompous asses.

Hold your head up high girl! xpatti

Judy V. said...