Many, many people say that they want be an artist/poet/writer living here in Provincetown. Thousands, tens of thousands – maybe even a million souls – yearn to “live the dream” and, for whatever their reasons, just can’t do it – yet. Please know, dear reader, that I live here on a wing and a prayer, with a couple of miracles thrown in.
Once a person gets to Provincetown, it’s hard to get out. I must go to Boston so I get in my 1998 Buick with the loud muffler and head to Hyannis for the 9:40AM bus. It starts out nice. Car. Coffee. A sense of adventure. Until the road turns into one lane. I wind through idyllic Cape towns behind drivers so slow that I am going to hyperventilate. Or, an SUV is up the ass of my car so hard that I stop breathing.
Finally, finally, I am here at the Burger King stop, Barnstable. I find a parking spot and race to buy a ticket at the mini mart and wait. It is 9:40AM. Just in time. The bus ride to South Station to the Red Line to the Green Line is city-dirty. I think about why everyone wants to live in Provincetown. I GET IT!
Here I am, at last, at my Alma mater to pick up my work (or a check) from an annual art sale. I want and need the money. While waiting in line, the woman right in front of me has sold all of her work. I am next. “Hi, your name?” says a young arts professional with beautiful red nails who does not look up. “No, you didn’t sell anything. We’ll get your work.”
My OLD self would have thought I wasn’t good enough but I know better after 21,758 days on Planet Earth. “WHO curated this show?” I ask with a sudden clarity and there it is; a gallery owner who is not into the kind of art I make. That means everything. The work may or may not have been shown with 9000 other offerings. This happens all the time, even to the Picassos of the world. Even so, ouch….
My stuff get wrapped by me. It takes a long time because I am pretty upset, coming all this way and not selling ANYTHING. It’s big and bulky. I take a cab to the bus station and then struggle with the package all through the terminal. Finally, I can rest it on the chairs. A driver quickly approaches me.
“Did you do this?” he asks, young with a BOLT shirt on.
“Yes.” I say.
“Wow. Give me your card.” he asks.
I can really tell that he wants to know why I’m am schlepping all my art around on a bus most of all. I speak as if he asked that very question, by saying “I can’t drive over bridges. It blows my mind that you can.” In that moment, we are each other’s heroes. I am healed by a stranger from the rejection that is inevitably happens when people share their art with others.
About the artist:
Laura Shabott came to Provincetown in 1992 and has been part of the arts colony ever since. A graduate of SMFA, Boston at Tufts in cross disciplines, she returned to painting and drawing through a Romano Risk Scholarship at the PAAM. Shabott received a Cape Cod Resident Scholarship to study with painter Robert Henry and also for a Returning Residency, both at the Fine Arts Work Center. She shows globally through her virtual gallery.