It was in middle school, so don’t get too excited. I’d almost completely forgotten about it myself, but something about this fresh blanket of snow that has fallen today reminded me of my window artist times.
To he honest, this snow and I guess the holidays in general have put me right back into my school day feels. Makes sense though because at one time I was in band, chorus AND art club and all of those things are hoppin’ around the wintertime celebrations.
Band concerts, choir recitals, and someone had to make posters for both. Given like five minutes and I could remember how to play just about any christmas carol on my trumpet or french horn.
And I can join in and probably harmonize (I was an alto) with just about any Christmas carol that exists. Instantly and without hesitation (once I get over my natural shyness).
Remember earlier when I told you not to get too excited? Well, now I think you should get excited because I’m about to reveal the location of the windows I got to splash whatever design I wanted all over.
It was an Arby’s y’all.
And even better than that, it was a contest!
At this point in my life, I really loved being in art club. I had a teacher that knew how to encourage me in the “right” way even though she didn’t always understand my art. Hell, even I don’t sometimes.
She had arranged with a local Arby’s (which we all thought was the literal coolest thing as middle schoolers. But then I think about it as an adult and it was probably one of my teacher’s friends from high school who didn’t go to college and instead kept working at Arby’s and worked their way up to manager). Where was I?
Oh, my art teacher had arranged with an Arby’s for her art club students to paint their windows for the holidays. This was a moment I’d been waiting for my entire life. Why? Do you ask? Well, because all the time I spent in my room that wasn’t spent reading or doing singing contests on the phone with Billy was spent making movie posters for movies that didn’t exist. So I was ready to make an impact on these windows.
Here’s how it worked, to the best of my recollection:
Each student would submit their design for the windows to the art teacher. Then she’d evaluate them to see which would actually be most feasible for a window. Then 8 kids would get to go paint a holiday window of their own at a local Arby’s.
And the winner got FREE CURLY FRIES (and other Arby’s food, it was a gift certificate, but the Curly Fries were all that mattered to me at that time. I hadn’t yet known the wonder of the Arby’s potato cake, but I soon would.)
I’d never even eaten at an Arby’s before this contest so the simple fact that I would get to eat a meal there while I painted my window was enough for me.
I feel like it is important for me to mention that I submitted a design for the Halloween windows but didn’t make the cut. However, my art teacher was excellent about teaching us how to improve our art in marketable ways.
I guess she really set me up for my future career, huh? Even though after we moved to Social Circle I pretty much stopped any visual art whatsoever.
Until recently of course.
That time, I did not win the window design contest (my friend Jamie did and I wasn’t mad about it because she was incredibly talented and I was just me) but I did come in second place. And got ANOTHER FREE MEAL AT ARBY’S!!!! SCORE!
Of course, I can’t remember what the window looked like and I definitely don’t have any pictures, but the card catalogue in my brain has a pretty good entry for this particular scene, especially after thinking about it all morning while writing this blog.
So, I’m gonna try to recreate it tonight while we’re snowed in. I’ll post the results to my Insta, no matter how bad they are.