Just got home from the MacDowell Fellows Reunion party held at Little Airplane in South Street Seaport. Now, I have to admit going in, I was just as apprehensive as I would be walking into any gathering of folks, particularly creative types in New York City. Let's face it, gatherings that pass as "parties" are often anything but fun. Even moreso on the West Coast. (sorry Hollywood pals, but you know what I mean)
Imagine my surprise when moments after reaching the top of the entry staricase, I was greeted by a warm familiar face and a big loving hug from my friends Quito and Honor. As much as I enjoyed reconnecting with some of the fellows who were at MacDowell last December when I was, I'm especially tickled by the odd conversations I found myself in with people I'd never met before. And it left me wondering why. Specifically what was it about this gathering that made it so friendly and inviting and the conversation flow so naturatlly? I honestly can't remember another time when I had such fun at a party populated largely by strangers.
Here are some theories off the top of my head. And I'm wondering if any of them make sense to any of you in the light of day (tomorrow) when I imagine most of you will be reading this.
The MacDowell Fellows Reunion Party was a blast because:
A. The room was full of artists only. No merchants. So, in essence, no one felt the need to be "on" in order to sell themselves to the world. Without a class of people we ordinarily regard as "buyers" -- producers, exhibitors, funders, philanthropists -- the artists could just be themselves and focus on having fun.
B. The organizers of the event were incredibly friendly and staffed the event with friendly volunteers, most of whom were themselves connected to the colony -- either as staff or as former fellows themselves.
C. MacDowell has a magic warmth that most attending tonight still carry in our hearts and we brought an expectation of that warmth with us as we entered the room and so radiated it outward and it was sort of contagious.
D. The space was comprised of three or four separate smallish areas, each at a different level separated by stairs but open enough to allow for an easy flow of traffic, but with enough small areas to allow for one-on-one conversation.
E. No one dressed up. I know I always feel nervous about what I wear to a party. Tonight was no exception. I wore one of my favorite shirt creations from JJThreads and felt totally comfortable -- didn't feel like anyone was wondering why I was not wearing black, as I do at so many New York City functions.
F. None of the above. Something I hadn't considered? Fill in the blank please. And if you were there, please say "hi."