Tourists Ruin I Madonnari Artwork
By Diane Graham
Saturday, I took my father to see the amazing and inspiring artwork at this year's I Madonnari. Wish I hadn't. And then was immediately thankful that I'd made my first visit with my son on Tuesday, the first day of viewing after the paintings were complete. What a difference just a couple of days make.
On Tuesday, all the paintings were in excellent condition and I took about 50 photos. In contrast, yesterday every painting had been ruined--make that vandalized. Each had evidence of shoe treads all over, and many looked to be purposely defaced. It made me cry.
At first, I jumped to the all-too-common conclusion that teenagers were the culprits, but I've changed my mind. In the short time we were at the mission, dozens of tourists were deposited by a tour bus. They commenced to scurry all over the plaza with total disregard for where they were walking, criss-crossing back and forth over the paintings. With cameras held high, they were NOT capturing photos of the art, but rather of each other and the mission building. I was appalled and totally taken aback that a group of adults could be so uniformly oblivious and disrespectful.
Maybe the tour bus driver could have provided some direction and guidelines for grown-up behavior. Maybe the festival sponsors could have posted a few signs asking visitors to walk around the art and not on it. The experience was so saddening, so frustrating, so unbelievable that we had to quickly leave.
Next year, we'll go early, before a few people ruin the experience for many.
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