Best Intentions | Letters | Chicago Reader

Best Intentions 

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Dear Reader,

I am responding to an article by Ben Joravsky dated December 6 ["Lisa Alvarado Gets Her Due"]. This article involved complaints against Randolph Street Gallery by Lisa Alvarado. Although this issue was about a larger organizational dilemma, Mr. Joravsky printed remarks made by Lisa Alvarado that pinpoint me personally and describe me in the most unflattering of terms. I find it difficult to believe that a fellow artist and such a reputable journalist could countenance doing so much damage to my personal reputation and jeopardizing my professional future.

Lisa Alvarado portrays herself as a victim of a large and insensitive institution that betrays the very artists who it supports. Randolph Street Gallery's impeccable reputation and contributions to the artistic community were my principal motivation for accepting the position of business/operations manager last August.

Being a young and struggling artist myself, I was completely sympathetic to Lisa Alvarado's situation throughout this process. Lisa and I discussed extensively my sensitivity to her financial status and the fact that the delay could jeopardize her project.

To set the record straight, I spoke to the writer only once very briefly. Mr. Joravsky did not ask me about the nature of any telephone conversations or professional interactions I might have had with this artist. He did approach Randolph Street Gallery, but he failed to inquire about my involvement. If he had attempted to corroborate his information about my interactions with Lisa, I might have been able to shed some light on the circumstances so grossly misrepresented by Ms. Alvarado.

If Ben Joravsky had talked to me about my involvement he would have discovered that when it became clear that Lisa would not receive her payment on the date we had discussed, she was notified immediately. I was sensitive to her situation and was unwilling to allow the situation to be drawn out any longer (this gave Lisa time to contact the press). If the writer and I had spoken after the November 29 article ["Other People's Money"], he would have discovered that when I called Ms. Alvarado to make payment arrangements, I waited an entire day for her attorney to return my phone call. I suggested delivering the check to her myself that evening. I felt sympathy for her situation and a commitment to expediting the payment for the sake of her project. I regret that this action was not understood for the heartfelt gesture that it was meant to be.

In addition to her misrepresentation of this payment, her misguided and offhand comments printed by Mr. Joravsky impacted my employment search very negatively. The characterization of "hand-whipped puppy" was raised in a number of interviews that had been scheduled prior to December 6. I was specifically told by one company that this unflattering portrayal of my professional behavior was instrumental in their decision not to hire me (I had been interviewed twice by that company, and the search had been narrowed down to just myself and one other candidate).

It is reprehensible that in Lisa Alvarado's effort to discredit Randolph Street Gallery, she felt it necessary to attack me personally in such an unfounded and gratuitous way. It is difficult to imagine for one instant that she could have been under the illusion that the delay in processing her check related to me specifically. Her self-serving portrayal of herself as a helpless victim is ironic in this context; she treats me as poorly as she claims Randolph Street Gallery has treated her.

Moreover, it is also unfortunate that Ben Joravsky allowed his journalistic integrity to be compromised in this unprofessional and glib manner. His reputation can only lead me to believe that his lack of investigation into this issue and his printing of Ms. Alvarado's remarks are the exception, not the rule.

Laurie Kerlin

Business/Operations

Manager

Randolph Street Gallery

Ben Joravsky replies:

When I went to the gallery and asked Kerlin about Alvarado's allegations, she said she didn't "know anything about this" and referred all questions to Gustavo Paredes, another gallery employee. I told Kerlin that Alvarado had said she'd talked to her, and Kerlin again told me to talk to Paredes. He (and two gallery board members) are quoted in my story.

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