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Size DOES Matter!

August 31, 2012

As a person who has been labeled with any number of monikers relating to her height (or lack thereof), you might assume I’m a little more size-centric than most. True, if found in proximity with a taller-than average person I usually end up asking in amazement how tall he/she is. However, for the most part, I don’t really notice my diminutive stature until I’m getting out a chair to pull a ceiling fan switch, or climbing on countertops like a Rhesus monkey to get a stack of plates.

rhesus monkey kitchen

This is me on a fairly regular basis.

Though I accept and embrace my smallness as part of who I am, I have a harder time accepting the smallness of the Arts Center, a fact I became acutely aware of when I explored advertising options at the local movie theatre and grocery store. Our budget can’t possibly support this scope of advertising, which of course is just the kind of advertising I feel we need. Being locked out of such advertising opportunities makes my marketing efforts feel smaller than ever. Despite the fact that I am often mentally and sometimes even physically hoarse at the end of the day from promoting all of our events, there are still many people I’m just not reaching. It feels like I’m shouting, but in the grand scheme of things, it might not be more than a whisper.

king kong

What I think I’m doing.

tiny monkey

What I’m actually doing.

Thus we reach the eternal marketing dilemma: as someone who spends 8 hours each day devising Facebook posts, tweets, newspaper articles, web blurbs, flyers, posters, and everything in between, it can be hard to gauge how big or small my marketing presence really is. I need a way to zoom out, to scale back, to escape from under the magnifying glass of my own perspective that makes everything seem incredibly visible and clear so that I can see what people on the outside see.

2391822518 b2633afc14 He really needs to zoom out so he can see what I’m seeing. Like right now.

In the past few weeks, as I’ve been gently testing the boundaries of my marketing abilities I feel more than a little like I’m part of some 21st century Gulliver’s travels, sometimes feeling obnoxiously large and other times infuriatingly small. And while this Wonderland of continually shifting size and scope definitely has me somewhat disoriented, I’m beginning to think that this is simply the type of world most marketing professionals have to live in, a place where one moment you feel like you have a real presence, and the next you’re staring up what must be multiple stories at a doorknob that you just can’t reach.frustrated monkey

Why an orangutan? I don’t know. I like the monkey theme. Let’s run with it.

Fortunately for me, after a week of feeling small, today I finally got to feel big! As it happens, today is the deadline for our Horizon Juried Exhibit, which requires that artists upload digital copies of their art onto our website for the jurors to look at. While this seems like the most trifling of affairs for someone who’s spent more than half her life around computers, for some of our artists, this was a nearly insurmountable task.

kong4lg

Planes = Juried Exhibit entries. King Kong = me!

Today, one such artist was so lost in the uploading process that I asked her to come to my office so we could walk through it together on my computer. As we sat on either side of my laptop, she mentioned her recent chemotherapy treatments and her mother’s worsening health. The more she spoke, the more I realized she was dealing with issues that were big in every way, much bigger than any single issue I’d worried about all day. It was certainly humbling—suddenly all the frivolous stresses of my day seemed miniscule compared to hers, which probably involved coping with her own mortality, the loss of her mother, and least of all, getting her works entered into our juried show.

The submission process was over in all of 20 painless minutes. The artist was off to a doctor’s appointment and she looked tired, but she smiled and thanked me for helping her get her work in before the deadline. At least this one thing could go right—she could have a chance to display her work at the Arts Center, sell a few pieces, even win a prize. Whatever her motivation for entering, she could at least look forward to that. Now I saw it: though I might feel like the Arts Center is pretty small in the grand scheme of things, in this moment, with this artist, it was a big bright spot in what might otherwise be a not-so-great day. And for me, that’s big enough.

Monkey

 We did it!