Saturday, June 23, 2007

the Huntington Library.....never again

the reason there's no image this week is because i wasn't allowed to finish the painting. Confused? perhaps i should start at the beginning. i have always heard that the "staff" at the Huntington can be very "fussy" about people actually making art on the premises. I’ve been teaching for...what, at least 2 and half years at Art Center and have never had a problem with Descanso Gardens, the LA Arboretum or any of the number of locations myself and the class paint at. i even called ahead last week to see if it would be ok if i brought the class to paint there. i explained we work on laptops and there's no mess. they said, "sure". we set up in the Japanese area and specifically ask the SECURITY GUARD if the locations we are at were ok. "sure", he says. about 60% into the painting another SECURITY GUARD comes by and says we have to move...while the first....who is still standing there...does nothing. i explain that we had called ahead, been given permission and actually been "ok'ed" to paint here. no dice. I’m informed that my options are to move or leave. this from an "organization" devoted to the arts? I’m at a loss friends and readers. obviously the hundreds of dollars the class brought into the establishment is outweighed by petty, inconsistent bureaucracy with no true regard for the advancement of art, merely the dogmatic enforcement of arbitrary policy. this is the first time i have ever used my blog for something other than the display of art but i was so appalled by this i had to share it. i hope anyone thinking of going there will have better luck.


Blogger Ben Mauro said...

what a shame, thats a great location. is it officially off limits to paint there now?

5:46 PM  
Blogger robh said...

i can't say ben, we were told it was's a crap shot.

6:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, bad experience!.
They apparently only allow informal painting trips for those who register with the Gardens Art Guild.
You need to email this person to get info about registering:
The drawbacks of a private institution I guess, LA definitely lacks enough public gardens of this calibre.

6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Norm Schureman said he will no longer go to the Huntington for almost the same reasons: students, being harassed, fees, etc. Sorry to hear you and your class got the bureaucratic treatment. Post the painting in protest!

10:03 PM  
Blogger Craig Mackay said...

That's lame. I'm sure someone could have accommodated you guys especially after telling you "OK" multiple times. Art Center has hosted alumni painting trips in the past there and I'm pretty sure that they were'nt all required to register with the Garden Arts Guild. Maybe Ann Field needs to get the Public Relations team at Art center to work out some sort of deal. I mean you only go there once a term. That's 3 times a year. I think the Huntington could figure out a way.

10:38 AM  
Blogger PleinEric said...

That's awful Robh! I looked into the policy there years ago and was told there is a required portfolio review... Once you passed this you just needed to buy an annual pass. The cool part was that the grounds were open only to painters during certain hours. I never followed up because I live so far away.

Sorry they treated you and your class so poorly.

5:56 PM  
Blogger Marco Bucci said...

That sucks. You should go back there and do another painting. With spraypaint. On their walls. :D

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yikes! sorry to hear that . Have had similar experiences bringing my daughter there . The security just seem to go out of there way to make the experience as uninviting as possible .

A real pity too - as in this case it's the arts that suffer . One would have thought they would support such things .

11:11 AM  
Blogger Adam Street said...

That's sad. ...just sad.

9:34 PM  
Blogger drips of paint said...

Friend brought me to paint at Hungtinton gardern for the 1st time last Monday and right after, I intended to get an art guild pass for myself.

Now I am not sure I want it because dealing with that M. Thorpe person who handle this matter was a most unpleasent experience for me.

Now hearing about your run-in with them Hungtinton garden definitely put me off.

Hope you have many happy painting & classes at other places!

12:27 PM  
Blogger Alexander Mandradjiev said...

Hapened to me at the Hunington Library too before...I just moved to a different location.
Just dont let those pigs tell you what to do.
Give them the midle finger.
I hate those power tripers.
They have no culture.
No Aesthetics.
All they like to do is sleep, eat and yap about nothing.

I am ticked off because eventualy you won't be able to do it anywhere...because we feel powerless to stand our ground...they threaten us with their legal crap...then we got no choise but to walk off..."because they might do it factor" oh and the courteous act to those folk has to fly out of the window I say.

Imagine a half ass job like that with authority to dictate over you.

8:11 PM  
Blogger hans bacher said...

too bad, you forgot - you are surrounded by idiots.

2:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GET IT IN WRITING. Someone's word, for better or worse, is not binding. You should always have written permission.

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! It seems that there is a lot of opinion here, without any facts. The Huntington Gardens ABSOLUTELY promotes art, but they also promote an environment in the gardens for everyone to enjoy. I don't know what your situation was with your class that while you described a certain manner of painting that you received an "OK" to paint, while their web site specifically states what is acceptable during normal garden hours vs. what is required to participate in the Gardens Art Guild and have a greater access to the gardens, within their scope of rules. I had to go through the process of providing a portfolio to Ms Thorpe and I found her to be flexible to meet with me, yet thorough and professional. Was my portfolio very large or particularly great? I don't think that is the point. It is that I respected their policy and followed their protocol. Even those of us who are part of the guild have to keep up with our membership - a small price to pay to be able to bring in a easel on a Monday and paint without anyone around, except the gardeners and squirrels. But, I am expected to respect the gardeners work too. I have to accomodate them and move if they are in need of watering the spot I am at. Now, during the regular garden hours, visitors have paid for the experience of the garden and should not have their experience marred by an artist (or would-be artists) who has planted an easel in the middle of walkways or set up a group of teenagers across an area so that others can't enjoy it, should they? I think what is missing here is the understanding that sometimes there have to be rules. Sometimes rules, well, they just kind of suck, but they are there to try and be fair to everyone.

I'm a little bothered that some of you here feel that one security guard's actions along with some possible mis-information on the phone to our blogger, translates definitively to the Huntington not promoting the arts and being some huge cog in the wheel towards the destruction of art. Correct me if I'm wrong here. But, seriously, they are one of the most well-respected art foundations in the nation, with some of the most prestigious archives and art collections. I think an understanding of the bigger picture here just might help. That's all I'm really saying.

2:10 PM  
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