5 Annoying Things Parents Say and Do At Art Shows

We had our pyramid art show last week. One of two I’m participating in this year. Maybe. If I get my act together for the second one. For those of you who are unfamiliar with “pyramids,” as I was up until about 5 years ago, here’s how it works. I work for a county wide school system. Within the county, we have regions. Within the regions, we have pyramids. Each pyramid consists of a high school, a couple of middle schools, and a handful of elementary schools. In our county, we have annual pyramid art shows (not individual school art shows as I was familiar with in the past). The shows are usually held at the pyramid’s high school. Get it?

But none of that is really relevant to this post, except that it will help you to understand the context of the content below. Regardless of the details of the art show, all art shows have one thing in common. Parents.

5 Annoying Things Parents Say and Do At Art Shows


1. “My daughter has had a piece of work in this show for the past three years. I don’t know why you didn’t choose her this year.”

Yes, but, your son has work on display, which is why you’re here, right? So…

2. “Do you work here?”

Hmmm… I’m sorry, what? As in, do I work here at this school, or do I work here at the show, which doesn’t really make sense, because none of us are really working right now, I mean, we’re not actually getting paid for this… Are you wondering if I’m a teacher, or a volunteer, or maybe you think I’m a high school student (yes, even at my advanced age, it still happens)? Did you not see my special art teacher t-shirt, or my school employee badge? What exactly is it that you want to know? Ohhhh! You need help. Well, sure, I’d be happy to help you. First off, “Do you work here?” is not a very polite way to approach someone. Why don’t you try this thing called common courtesy and start with an, “Excuse me,” because, believe it or not, I was actually engaged in a conversation with my colleague here. Next, try a “Can you help me?” That way, I know whether you’re looking for directions to the bathroom or you’re going to complain about the ridiculous way the show is set up before I admit to “working” here. Or not, depending on where you’re headed with this. What? You didn’t find that helpful? Oh, fine, the bathroom is around the corner on your left.

3. “But how come she has a 3 in art?”

Thank you for coming out tonight. You must be so proud to see your daughter’s work in the show. She worked really hard on this particular piece, and I wanted to acknowledge her effort here tonight. If you have any questions about her grade, you can email me or set up an appointment to meet with me. Now, if you’ll excuse me, this man needs help finding the cafeteria.

4. “I’m not surprised you picked my child’s work for the show. You should see the stuff he makes at home. Everyone in our family thinks his spin art is great”

I’m sure they do.

5. “I can just move this over here, right?”

Of course you can! I’m so sorry we placed that other artwork so close to your child’s artwork. Please feel free to move it out of the way so you can get the perfect picture. I would hate to have some other child’s work clutter up your photo. Would you like me to adjust the lighting for you too?

What annoying things do parents say or do at your art shows?

18 thoughts on “5 Annoying Things Parents Say and Do At Art Shows

  1. “Could you tell me where my child’s art work is? ”
    Sure, I remember exactly where I put Billy’s art work, It’s not like I just hung like 1000 pieces of art and recreates Monets garden in life…wait, oh Billy was absent the four weeks we worked on this piece. I’m sorry it’s my fault you take your child out of school early because it’s Friday…


    • Mere says:

      The old “pull the student out because it’s Friday and only art” routine! Catch this one: my mother worked in a ENT / plastic surgeon’s office. While she was helping a lady one afternoon, it came up in conversation that she’d taken her elementary-aged daughter out of school early because it was more convenient for the mother. (The mother needed to see the doc. and not the daughter.) But the mother said that it was “no big deal” because the daughter was just mainly missing art that afternoon. My mother responded, “Oh, my daughter teaches art! Where does your daughter go to school?” Yup, the daughter was one of my students.


  2. “We can take the artwork home tonight, right?” Wait, whuuut?! You mean tear it off the wall, leave a big ole gap only to find that you took THE WRONG KID’S ART HOME?! (can you tell this has happened once or thrice before?). Um, no. Move along, parental unit, move along.


    • Oh, yup. That one too! Although, that could easily be placed in the category of Annoying Things Students Ask at an art show. I think I had two students and a parent asked that question.


  3. Josie says:

    I had my art show today. One of the displays (hung from the ceiling) fell and I was standing on a chair, struggling to reattach it. All I needed was someone to hold the other side and it would have been back up in 30 seconds. Instead I stood there struggling, teetering on my tippy toes in a dress and heels on a chair and not ONE person offered to help me. One mother stood right next to me and started to have a conversation with me in the middle of my struggle. I laughed out loud when I read your post…. Couldn’t have come at a better time. Let’s just say I can relate! 🙂


  4. Elizabeth says:

    Why can’t you have the kids make a pretty sunset picture or a painting of pretty flowers? You know, something that will match my sofa.

    Maybe you should start looking at New furniture


  5. Susan Bivona says:

    I’m with Kerri! You said the he/she had s piece in this exhibit but we cannot find it!
    Keeping looking lady…’s here somewhere!
    Now of course we do ALL make mistakes, but 9 times out of 10, the just don’t see it!!!


  6. Erin says:

    How about those parents who let their kids touch/pick up the ceramic pieces, or do it themselves?! Ahem…unless it’s yours, no touchy!!


  7. Cara says:

    How about these… The students have nothing to hang for the art show because…..
    they’ve been pulled out for
    Math intervention…
    Oh and they have band lessons during art.
    AND HERE’s the best one…..
    By the way my child is going to India for a month😤😤😤😤😤😤


  8. Amy says:

    “Is this all there is?” – Yes – the 520 pieces of artwork I matted, labeled, taped, stapled and hung up by myself is all there is to look at – sorry to disappoint…


  9. I love your blog and can SO relate, especially to the misconceptions other teachers/parents have about us. (I read “20 Things…” first.) One thing I didn’t get at my art show was any ridiculous comments from parents because…hardly any came. The highlight of my year was the principal walking among the pencil portraits the high schoolers made (accompanied by a short write-up on why these chose the subject they drew as their “hero.”) and murmuring, “I had no idea….I had no idea they were this good.”


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