What a weekend this has turned out to be!
Many of my local friends are already aware that the mural project I revealed yesterday morning has unfortunately been cancelled.
I am so disappointed. Since there appears to be quite a bit of social media buzz about this topic, I wanted to take a few moments to explain my side of things and hopefully put any misunderstandings to rest….
A few weeks ago, the manager of the Three Springs Pool, Karen Flasher called to ask me about potentially painting a mural there as a way to celebrate their 50th anniversary. During our chat, she also mentioned that the pool didn’t have a large budget, so she was wondering if I’d be willing to paint it “real real cheap or for free.”
After hanging up, I argued with myself about it all night, then visited Ms. Flasher at the pool the following day to view the wall she had in mind. I quickly decided to say YES to the project and to do so for FREE. I agreed for all of the reasons I mentioned in yesterday’s post: the pool isn’t a far drive from my home in Saltillo, she offered creative freedom, and I’d be leaving a small piece of myself behind for future generations to enjoy. My brain was buzzing with ideas! I asked Karen if my 2 boys could swim for free while I worked and she agreed. Awesome.
I told her I wasn’t sure at the time what I’d like to paint but would get back to her with some sketches as soon as I decided. She told me not to worry about it, that she trusted my talent, and to just surprise her. Very cool! I mentioned that I really love bright colors and mermaids and asked if would be ok to go in that direction if that’s where inspiration lead me. She said I could do anything I want.
Shortly after, we had another phone chat and I told her I was thinking of seeking sponsorship from our local hardware store, Orbisonia True Value. Karen said that was a great idea and encouraged me to do so! I reached out to Susan Harry, who instantly agreed to donate supplies to my mission! SO generous of her and I’m truly grateful for her enthusiasm. I explained to Susan that I didn’t know yet exactly what I’d need, but I’d try my best to use materials leftover from previous projects. I didn’t want to take advantage of her kindness. Paint is expensive!!
I was feeling pretty groovy about things!
Then last Monday, I had a meeting with my dear friend, Amanda Jenkins and the mural came up in conversation. I excitedly told her about the pool’s anniversary, the idea I had in mind, and Susan’s willingness to contribute! As my business mentor and good friend, she voiced her concerns about me donating all of that time free of charge. She asked me why on earth I’m not seeking ADDITIONAL sponsorships to offset the costs even further while also compensating me for the time taken away from my usual (paying) projects. I am a full time artist after all. I have bills like everyone else. Why put paying jobs on hold for WEEKS to do this one thing for FREE? It honestly had never crossed my mind before that moment. I was just excited to paint a pretty picture! I had to admit her arguments were valid, but she could see I was still wavering on the idea. Right then, she took out a piece of scrap paper and wrote out her ideas for “Platinum” “Gold” “Silver” and “Friend” sponsorships (though for the record: her options were far pricier than the options I ended up offering) She told me to go home and write out a proposal, then submit them to local businesses. I weighed the pros and cons of it for the rest of the day… then decided there WEREN’T many cons! I get support, local businesses/community members get recognition, and the pool isn’t charged a dime! Everybody wins! PLUS, with extra funding, I can cover more wall space and extend my design over to include the concession stand! It’s the 1st thing you see upon entry and is screaming for a splash of color! For that I was imagining a fun underwater scene that could also be a cool backdrop for kids to take selfies! Then if I ended up with a good response and extra funding, I could make a DONATION to the pool to help fund the anniversary celebration Karen is organizing for the 21st!
Yesterday’s “Call for Sponsors” post was a HUGE success! I was driving all morning, which meant I couldn’t look at my phone much, but I did notice that my post had 22 shares and a TON of comments and positive reactions BEFORE NOON! I was so happy! I could hear my email notification chiming from my purse all morning, signaling that people were using my website to donate online! I couldn’t wait to talk to Karen and tell her what an awesome response it was getting! I thought for sure she’d be just as thrilled.
Then I got the call…..
An EXTREMELY UNFRIENDLY ONE from Karen Flasher. Someone showed her my post and instead of being happy about it, she was PISSED! She basically told me that my sponsorships were UNWELCOME and that if people wanted to make donations, they need to be making them DIRECTLY to the pool instead of to “SOME ARTIST trying to get rich off of them!”
I was completely blindsided by her unexpectedly hostile tone and opinion. I apologized for the miscommunication and calmly tried to explain how mutually beneficial the idea could be. I told her how EXCITED people were about my proposal! And how eager to participate they seemed to be! Ms. Flasher was ridiculously RUDE and yelled over me like a hillbilly the entire time I was trying to speak. I pleaded with her over and over to please let me finish a sentence and to just consider how helpful this could be. My intentions were not greedy or malicious and it was very hurtful to be accused of such things. Then when I told her how much I was looking forward to this project and that I could return any sponsorships and delete my post if it made her uncomfortable, she told me to FORGET IT. That she’d get somebody else to do it and that she didn’t even like my design anyway. “I think it’s GAUDY and I don’t even want it on there!”
My response? “Well I’m very sorry you feel that way.” ….. CLICK!
Wow. That sucked.
After I attempted to calm down a bit, I got out my phone and video chatted with my 2 best friends, trying my best to NOT CRY while I repeated what had just happened. When I got to the GAUDY part, I was unsuccessful. The tears began flowing and as much as they tried to calm me down, I couldn’t stop them from pouring. I was (and still am) heartbroken by Karen’s comments. I also called my mom… cause… well… sometimes ya just need your mom! They all told me to forget about her and to try my best to have fun. (I was all gussied up and on a long overdue date with my man). I took their advice, turned off my phone and tried to be present. I ended up being the sad girl, sniffling on the mini golf course, sick during our nice dinner, and was completely lost in thought all night. I am a crappy date.
Later that night, I turned my phone back on and it was BLOWING UP! During my absence, my best friends had organized a full blown REVOLUTION and built me a BLUEBIRD ARMY!!! I learned 2 things in that moment: 1. I am more loved than I EVER suspected. And 2. Kammi Sparkle Booher is a BADASS and I never ever ever want to cross her!!!
In case you missed it, here is the post she made: **Kam’s post**
Kammi later apologized to me, knowing how much I HATE confrontation and drama. She was worried I’d be mad at her for causing a scene… but how could I EVER be upset over that? Over someone loving me SO MUCH that she can’t sit silently while I cry? Who wants to drink the blood of my enemies and organize an angry mob with pitchforks and torches to defend my honor. OK… that last part is a dark joke and completely untrue…. but still… she’s amazing! My goodness. I am the luckiest bluebird in the land. Thank you, Kammi. And thank you to everyone who commented in my defense. I see you. I appreciate you. I love you all.
For the record, I never meant to cause any headache to the Three Springs borough and while I appreciate the gesture, I don’t think anyone should boycott the pool because of little ol’ me. The pool is an excellent resource for the community and doesn’t deserve to be punished over the actions of one person on a power trip. It sure is HOT out there lately! It would be a shame to miss out on a refreshing dip because of a silly grudge.
Thank you again to everyone who stepped up for me. I never would have “gone behind the borough’s back”, disrespected the management or ANYONE intentionally. EVER! I honestly saw it as a way to make my painting extra special for the community, generate more traffic and revenue for the pool, advertise local businesses, and be compensated for my time… all without costing the pool a nickle! If the community or borough decide they still want this project to happen, I’ll follow your lead. I love sharing my art with the community…. but I also love spending time at home with my boys and my paints and my ducks and my dogs! So I’ll be just fine either way.
I have no desire to collaborate with Karen though, so someone else would have to approach me to make it happen. I can handle someone disagreeing with me, but refuse to work with such an unprofessional and unpleasant human.
Anyway… that’s all I have to say about that. Thank you for enduring this very long post! Have a good night and remember to love thy neighbor…. even when they act like butt heads.