It was my morning to come in late to the store (Creative Block). I was puttering around the house with some music on when my middle son and business partner, Tim, called and asked me if I had the TV on. I turned it on while on the phone with him, just in time to see the second plane hit the towers. I quickly drove to the store where we gathered with our employees for several hours watching the store TV. Just like everyone else we could not believe what we were seeing.
The days following were so abnormal all over the country and our days were no different. No customers came into the store for at least a week. We spent those empty days discussing Art Continuum. It was coming up in just another week or two. We were expecting a total of 750 students, 33 instructors and 35 vendors. Should we cancel it? We called the hotel where the event was to be held. They first told us that they had received no cancellations for room reservations. Secondly they told us we were responsible for any lost revenue if we cancelled. That meant we would not have the money to reimburse the attendees if we cancelled. Events were being cancelled all over the country. People were afraid to fly and 75% of our attendees came from out of state. We didn't know what to do.
The week before Art Continuum we began to be deluged with phones calls from people wanting assurance that Art Continuum would go on. We said yes. Many people who were going to fly decided to drive. In the end, we only had 3 people cancel.
The event turned out to be the best of all the Art Continuums. We really needed each other. We needed to take a small break from the sadness and fear we were all feeling. We needed the release, the comfort and the joy that art gives us. We needed something to make us feel normal again. There was more hugging, more kindness, more friendship and camarderie at an event that had always encompassed these things on a large scale. We were allowed to smile again. It was art therapy at its zenith. Art Continuum 2001 stands out in my mind as the best above all the rest of our events.
A few blogs entries ago I dedicated my words to my oldest son Wes on his birthday. That little baby I am holding in the first photo now works at the Pentagon. A couple of years ago, John and I were visiting Wes and his family. Wes organized a special tour of the Pentagon for us. Part of the tour took us to the memorial garden near the location were one of the 9-11 planes crashed. There is an abstract type of bench for each person killed on that day at the Pentagon. It was quite moving to stand there and really grasp how many innocent people died just there that day.
Today is difficult for all of us, but my heart goes out to those who lost loved ones.