By an Anonymous Member, AAEA
Our Mrs. Beasley (of the Unpacking & Hanging Division of the AAEA), has asked me to “have a word” with the Fall Show artists. “Some” of whose work has arrived in sub-standard boxes, with packing material more problematic than practical.
This offends Mrs. Beasley. And…well, you know.
Mrs. Beasley is The Academy’s oldest employee: oldest in terms of years, and years on the job. She knew the Founding Members when they were children, and tutored Maggie Smith how to properly portray the Dowager Countess on Downton Abbey. As such she is a font of wisdom and ancient practices. She is a treasure. We want her to remain happy. When she speaks, I listen.
Between you and me: Mrs. Beasley is One Scary Old Lady.
I can confess such a thought, because Mrs. B isn’t on the Internet. In fact, she does not know there is an Internet (there being no need to tell her); she has no computer. This has its drawbacks of course, but she is given wide latitude in the performance of her duties because: 1) she has never asked The Academy for a raise and 2) as I say, she is O.S.O.L.
1) However safely you may think you have packed your painting––some arrive with layers and layers of whatever materials come to hand. Please remember, someone has to do the un-packing. Mrs. Beasley sees complicated boxes-within- boxes, the use of foam peanuts, wads of loose foam, etc. Mrs. Beasley is careful with every entry…but you shipped one box––she receives 50 or more.
2) If your piece sells––or, even if it doesn’t––it has to be re-packed and sent on. Using your materials. If you needed all day to figure it out, how is Mrs. Beasley to cope? She says it makes her look bad, and that is not good.
1) Use High Quality Shipping Boxes.
As proper packing and shipping practices should be part of every artist’s education (patrons expect it; galleries demand it), you should purchase quality cardboard shipping crates, i.e. “Strongbox” from www.airfloat.com, or the “Deluxe Artwork Shippers” found at www.Uline.com. They come in a wide variety of sizes, available with (or without) plastic linings (which prevent punctured boxes) Fed-Ex and UPS both have their versions. Airfloat and Uline are tough, reusable, and with care will last through numerous round trips.
2) That’s it. That’s her one suggestion. These boxes aren’t inexpensive, but they have proven their worth. Mrs. B. wants your artwork to arrive safely and to leave her care with confidence.
Because of the time and expense of unpacking and re-packing. The Academy will discuss at its next Board Meeting, adding the cost of a “crating fee” to work accepted for shows. This has become common practice among other national art organizations, and it might be time for us to follow suit.
If The Academy does require a crating fee, it will be waived for those artists who use either Airfloat or Uline products.
Now, some may suspect I am pulling their leg about Mrs. Beasley. But I ask you why take the chance…she really is scary.