Accidental Art Thieves

Last weekend Scott and I went to Troy, Alabama for the opening reception of "The Nature of Being Southern: Celebrating Contemporary Art in Alabama." The exhibit highlights some of the artists who have received an Alabama Council for the Arts fellowship over the years. I've got a few pieces in the show. Apparently I'm an official southerner now, since I am considered worthy to present visual commentary on the nature of being such. Here's the link:

In the morning after the show, we took a walk around the Troy University campus. Our first tourist sight was encountered next to a non-descript parking lot by the football stadium. A very official historical marker (the kind you only see next to something George Washington touched, or on the site of a battle that happened 150 years ago) was a tribute to the guy who introduced football game tailgating to Troy in the early 1990s. I guess since it happened before my daughter was born it's history.

Farther down the road on our adventure we saw, front and center, regally looking over a picturesque part of campus, a huge sculpture replica of Rodin's "The Thinker." But it was attributed to a Chinese artist. A great riddle.

Our main mission on the walk was to check out the university's visual arts department. After scouring what we thought was every inch of the place, we eventually discovered the unassuming VAD tucked away behind the student union building. Because it was Sunday, the place was deserted, and we tucked our heads into a few studios to see their facilities. To our surprise, the administration building door was unlocked. We walked into the building and checked out a few art displays in the hallway, wondering where we could find the university gallery. An official looking door with a combination entry peaked my curiosity, and a tested the door. It was unlocked, too! I opened it slowly, until a gentle buzzing alerted me that I'd tripped the alarm. Oops. We scooted out of the building, only to find a loud, air-raid siren blaring all over campus. "Don't run," I told Scott. "But walk quickly."

We got away. We were slightly nervous on our trek back to our car, but mostly smiling. The few people we passed on the way looked alert and gazed around, wondering what emergency had befallen the world. Later that day we attended a picnic for the exhibiting artists, and told someone about our caper. He turned out to be the guy who had to go turn off the alarm. Oops again.


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