I was in Austin over the weekend to see the Sketchbooks! I was DISAPPOINTED in the management of the show! BUT DEFINITELY NOT IN THE SKETCHBOOKS! The sketchbooks were exquisite, quirky, creative, beautiful, varied, colorful, stunning, amazing! Some (including mine) had pop-ups, fold outs, dimensional elements, or carefully engineered embellishments. They were a thrill to see once I got to see some of them.
The show did not open on time, it was delayed by 2 hours. We had traveled a long distance, and arrived early, so the wait was a bummer. The room was too small to accommodate the crowd that came to see the show; there were no tables or chairs. We stood shoulder to shoulder, crammed into a small space and tried to look at the books and enjoy them. Books had to be checked out by author or category. The stacks could not be perused. So it was not possible to get a book that looked interesting unless you knew its category or its author. Most people had no idea of the categories and there were no posters or information leaflets to explain. It was easy to return books to the drop box but then it was necessary to wait in line again to check out a few more.
The staff was gracious and remained friendly throughout the short duration of the show but they were too few to serve the attendees.
My daughter arrived late and wanted to see my book. Although it had been returned to the drop box for returned books an hour or so earlier, it had not been logged back in and returned to the shelves so she was not able to see it.
We learned from one of the staff members that Austin had more sketchbooks than any other city except for NYC, so it is an enigma as to why the staff did not prepare for the crowd. They knew last year how many books had been purchased and they have known since January that they have 10,000 (?) books. They also knew how many books were from Austinites. I hope that as the tour continues, adjustments and refinements will be made to make it possible for the sketchbooks to be seen and enjoyed.