DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a young artist, and one of my art classes involves drawing all day in a famous natural history museum. The etiquette surrounding how to act around artists who are focused on their work seems to be varied.
I have talked to many of my fellow students who have expressed anger at the way they have been treated while working. A common issue is photographing artists working next to their subjects, especially including their work in the picture.
Artists are not zoo animals and have the right to be asked to not be photographed — not to mention not wanting their art to live forever in a stranger’s memory card. If a patron enjoys the artists’ work, please ask for their card or information.
Commenting on the work is fine for some (in my case, I appreciate it), but please try to remember that the artists are focused and do not want to be distracted by someone trying to instigate a full-on discussion of their subject matter.
GENTLE READER: Much as she would like to help, Miss Manners must point out that you work in a public place, doing something that is of particular interest to people who are there precisely because they want to look at what is also your subject matter.
It would not be a good sign if they ignored you or asked you to move so that they could get a better view of the exhibits. And you are not indifferent to the possibility of admiration that would lead to your being asked for your card.
So please suggest that your fellow students drop their anger. Rather, they should devise “Artist at Work” signs that are so charming, both visually and in their instructions about not photographing or interrupting, that admirers will wait until they take a break to beg for their cards.
Flooded with drivel
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Why do the membership chair of my social group and the secretary of a semiprofessional organization I belong to, who have complete access to the membership roster, think that entitles them to keep sending me all these forwarded emails of “The cutest puppy dogs you’ll ever see,” or the “Nineteen architectural treasures of Hawaii,” or all the other drivel they can find that they think will enrich my life?
I am so inclined to delete emails from them that I have missed some very significant information from each organization, such as meeting times, places and dates.
GENTLE READER: You must send out a mass email of your own.
The idea, Miss Manners hastens to point out, is not to retaliate. It is to gather support and soften the impact by generalizing the problem.
So not, “Having my address for the organization doesn’t entitle you to waste my time with this idiocy,” but: “Perhaps I am not the only member who is missing some important notices because of the mass-forwarded and other emails unrelated to our membership that land in my spam file. Could we please limit the use of the list for business matters?”
Judith Martin writes the Miss Manners column with help from her son, Nicholas Ivor Martin, and her daughter, Jacobina Martin. Send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, MissManners.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.
© Universal Uclick 5/19