By Bill Coady
I really wish I had been able to more effectively plug the Exhibitour in advance, but being a participant really limited my time, as you may have noticed by the lack of recent postings here.
My firsthand impression of Exhibitour was absolutely fantastic, even though I was not able to get around to the other venues. The weather was perfect, and the big crowd of people happily strolling up and down Third Street was very heartwarming. Even more heartwarming was the number of people I talked to who noticed this and said, “Wouldn’t be nice if there were this many people downtown all the time?” And who knows, with the changes that are surely coming in transportation and some new ventures and ideas downtown, maybe we will see a resurgence. I certainly hope so.
But I have to say that as nice boost as Exhibitour was for downtown, it was a total blast for me. One of the occupational hazards of being a photographer is the thought that nature and the camera do all the work and that I am just a conduit. But many kind people reminded me that perhaps I see things differently and maybe even uniquely. Thank you very much for that. When the evening was over, I felt like I had nothing but “thank yous” left to give. I hope I don’t forget anyone here, if I do, my apologies.
First, I have to thank Leah Alters and Wausau Area Events for putting together the whole idea. This is big city stuff and everyone involved in the concept and planning did a great job. Things seemed to run very smoothly, and I like said, downtown was filled with happy people. Doing their jobs perfectly, I would say.
An enormous “Thank You” has to go to Lisa and her crew at the First American Center. Lisa was kind enough to invite me to exhibit there and also purchased several prints of mine for display in the building. Without this “pump priming” I don’t know if I would have been able to display as much of my work as I did. Lisa and her co-workers, Dale and Brian, did everything (and I mean everything — from schlepping tables to keeping the ice bowls filled) to make sure things ran smoothly and that people had a nice experience. For me the equation was pretty simple: “No Lisa, No Exhibitour.” Thank you so much for the opportunity and making it happen. Oh, and Dale and Brian — thanks a ton for the Bottle Rockets ticket, they are an awesome band. Hope the two of you made it home OK. 😉
I know they got paid, but I am so glad that the John Greiner Trio was there to provide the musical backdrop for the evening. I told John that Lisa had asked me, “Who do you want for music?” When I looked at her and said, “Duh,” she was on the phone to John right away. Good call. And for those of you lamenting the end of Kelly’s and John’s regular presence there, he wants everyone to know he has found a new home. His big band, The Swing Shift Band, is playing at the American Legion Hall on Thursday nights. He told me his first time out there was Thursday and he had a 14 piece band there and got a great reception. Fourteen great musicians on one stage in Wausau? You gotta get on this. See you at the Legion Hall.
Another great talent I had the pleasure of sharing the evening with was Josh Ernst. Josh and I did not get to talk to much as we both were a bit busy. But I could not help by notice that while I was sipping Diet Coke and trying not to sweat through my clothes making small talk, Josh turned out something like 50 pots and bowls and other works. Considering my art consists of pushing a button, I was amazed at how quickly and easily he could take a lump of clay and form it into something both decorative and useful. His finished works he had on display were quite beautiful. I think you will be hearing more from this young man.
Another talent was on display, but maybe most folks may have missed this artist. The folks at the Downtown Grocery provided delectables that kept me and every one else going for the evening. The Chai Tea was perfect, we should have ordered several more 55 gallon drums of that. 🙂 Everything else was scrumptious as well. Thanks to Kevin and his crew.
Thanks to the folks who came up and said they are Wausaublog readers, it is really nice to know you are out there. Yes, I get statistics about how many page views there are, but it is so nice to actually know that people are reading this and appreciate it. Community happens face to face, so I am glad I could meet you. And even though community is face to face, you can still participate here by commenting on the posts. Let’s not only see the same hands each time, OK?
And thanks so much to everyone else who stopped by. The comments were wonderful and it was nice to see people enjoying my work and the whole evening. It was deeply gratifying.
Finally, and this may be strange, but I want to thank Wausau. Wausau as a city and a place. While talking with people at the exhibit, I realized and started saying that almost every picture displayed was taken within five miles of downtown. I hadn’t really realized that before. But there it was, from our newest skyscraper to silos in the sunset — all within biking distance of each other. Wausau is an amazing place, and can be a very exotic locale, if you make it one. I am so glad I am here.
Thank you all very much.
ps I wasn’t really able to get good pictures of my own event, as I was told that I was not allowed to “hide behind the camera.” So, this picture I snuck away to take will have to do.