Past Comments

August Issue 2008
by Tom Starland

On The Cover

We thought you might enjoy an image of hope in these dog days of Summer. This digitally captured image by Susan Stanton entitled, Winter Stroll, makes me think that not too long from now - it will be cool again. If you're like me it's something easily forgotten this time of year.

Stanton is represented by Bluewood Gallery in Brevard, NC. Her work will be presented in the exhibition, Barns & Cabins ­ A Structured Past, which will be on view at Bluewood Gallery from Oct. 7 through Nov. 15, 2008 - when the weather there will be a lot more enjoyable.

Just hold on - have another cool iced tea and gaze at our cover.

Down Under

Speaking of the weather, I'm always reminded when responding to e-mail from our contributor from Australia, Judith McGrath, that things are different elsewhere. When I mention how hot it has been, she responds to how cool it's been there and she can't wait for Spring. They're working on an opposite climate from us - here in the Carolinas. But, she may soon get a taste of our Fall weather - still rather warm.

McGrath and her husband are planning a trip to the States this Fall and will hopefully be coming to the Carolinas. One of these days she could actually be writing about us in one of her columns. Wouldn't that be interesting!

I know there are some people who still think McGrath is a made-up person and we created her website as a cover story, but she's the real deal. We're not that clever.

So let's hope that everything works out and we get a visit from the art critic - two oceans over to the east.

I, for one, would be very interested in what she would have to say.

Tough Days For Newspapers

These are tough days in the newspaper publishing biz. Increasing costs for paper, transportation, and a slow down in the economy has put cost cutting pressures on newspapers - even us. Things may really get tight here in the Carolinas. The Post & Courier in Charleston, SC, just reduced the size of it's paper to reduce costs. The newspaper publisher, McClatchy Company, has just announced a reduction in staff at its newspapers. McClatchy owns seven newspapers in the Carolinas including: The State (Columbia, SC), The Sun News (Myrtle Beach, SC), The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC), The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC), The Herald (Rock Hill, SC), The Island Packet (Hilton Head, SC), and the Beaufort Gazette (Beaufort, SC).

This could be bad for coverage of the arts. Arts coverage could be one area that suffers the most and if coverage is cut - it will be the visual arts that suffer the most. There seems to be a preference for coverage of art events that involve the purchase of a ticket - mostly because these events also tend to do advertising in daily newspapers.

If you're a newspaper subscriber to any of these publications you need to let them know you don't want to see arts coverage reduced - especially the coverage of the visual arts. In fact, let them know you're not getting enough arts coverage.

These publishers and editors are hearing from others about what's important in the paper. You can bet on that. When the Post & Courier announced it's size reduction they made sure to let their readers know that the size of the crossword puzzles would stay the same. They knew what to say to avoid a mass subscription cancellation. So let them know what's important to you. Even if you're not so happy with the arts coverage as it is.

What's On The Blog?

Lots of entries have been added to Carolina Arts Unleashed and more will be added between the time I write this and you get to read it. But, I have to say one thing.

I have added some - what I call "layman's" reviews about a few exhibitions. And, because of that I'm already receiving lots of requests for me to come see other exhibits. Believe me, there is nothing I'd like more than to jump in the car and go see all these exhibits, but I can't.

Remember there are just two of us here doing this paper, maintaining the website, and now writing the blog. I just don't have that much free time and I can't be in all places at once. But some of you can.

Since Carolina Arts Unleashed has become a lightening rod of attention for visitors, I'll be happy to add "laymen/laywomen" reviews of exhibits, even those by people with some qualifications, to the blog. (With one exception so far - anyone from The State, since they kicked us off their blog directory.) The main idea behind these reviews is to get people to go see the exhibitions themselves. And, I've already added one for a show that was ending the day I saw it - so it's a post review. I guess we'll add those too.

Now like all things - we just won't take anything. These reviews need to be readable, spell checked, and pertain to exhibits taking place in the Carolinas. If we don't feel they are suitable - we won't post them. There is no freedom of speech here. I don't get to say all I want, nor will others.

Some people have asked why we don't take comments on the blog. Like I stated in the welcome to the blog, I don't have time to filter through and remove items entered by people who just think it's fun to mess with people. If you offer an open system - you will get anything and everything you could ever imagine - from anywhere on this planet and some from somewhere else.

If anyone wants to make a comment on something I've written or add a review, they can send it by e-mail to ( and put the word (blog) in the subject line. And, add your name and your phone number for verification.

That name part knocks out 95% of most people who would like to comment. Having an opinion in print and in public is something different than expressing one to a friend or in an e-mail. But, that's the rule we're going to have to go by. No name - no comments. Also - no real name - no comments.

Distribution Shake-up

For some people in our area of distribution this may be the last time you are reading Carolina Arts without traveling to another area or reading the paper online. With rising transportation and mailing costs we are forced to cut some places off our list which are close to other areas where we get support, but are not supporting the paper directly.

Perhaps it's time for some folks to become part of the Carolina Arts family.


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Carolina Arts is published monthly by Shoestring Publishing Company, a subsidiary of PSMG, Inc.
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