Past Commentaries

February Issue 2001
by Tom Starland

One of our cover articles tells about the upcoming National Council on Education for the Ceramic Art's Thirty-fifth Annual Conference which will be taking place in Charlotte, NC, Mar. 28-31. This will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see ceramic works being offered from throughout our country and beyond, as well as works by many ceramic artists from the Carolinas. There will be many exhibits and we hope to be telling you about all the opportunities available during this conference and those events associated with it. Just make sure you go see and participate in some of them.

The main exhibition of the conference will be held at Winthrop Galleries at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. Other exhibitions will take place in SC and even GA.

CFADA Update

Since we have an article (page 3) which mentions the Charleston Fine Art Dealers Association (CFADA), I guess it's a good time to give a little update on some of the financial results of their 2nd Charleston Fine Arts Annual which took place last November. A lot of people probably didn't know that the event was also a fundraiser for the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC. So far, the totals from the ticket sales to the lecture by Andrew Schoelkopf of "" and the sale of paintings executed during the plein air demonstration add up to $12,000. Another $7,000 could still be contributed through sales of other paintings from the "plein air" demo. That's a nice donation - from a group of commercial galleries.

But, that's no news to commercial gallery owners. The members of CFADA and other commercial gallery owners from throughout the Carolinas are some of the best supporters of museums in the Carolinas. And, when I say support, I mean - cash, artwork, services, and other means of support most of us wouldn't even think of. If some of you are shocked at this news - let me explain. It's simple. Owners of commercial galleries, and their artists, know that the next best thing to selling art, is to have places that show art. And, a healthy, well-rounded visual art community is the best atmosphere for commercial galleries. By well-rounded, I mean a good mix of non-profit visual art spaces and commercial galleries.

Some artists, some people, and some government art agencies think that the distance between the non-profit and commercial sectors just isn't far enough apart - that's wrongheaded. The two sectors actually have a symbiotic relationship. They need each other, whether some like that fact or not. Artists who like to be known as museum quality exhibitors also want to sell their art - more than once a year. Artists who sell their art in commercial galleries on a regular basis - once a day, twice a week, $20,000 worth a month - they hope to one day get an exhibition in a museum. Gallery owners know that the more museum shows their artists have, the higher price they will be able to ask for the artwork. Museums also help educate the public. And, as I said earlier, museums benefit from various forms of support from commercial galleries and their artists.

So why would any, so called, arts agency try and pit the two groups against each other? All I can think of is a little twist on the old -divide and conquer routine.

An Opportunity

On page 19, we have an ad announcing an opportunity for one advertiser to host our companion web site Carolina Arts Online.

Two years ago, we started the web site as a place where we could do things that we couldn't do in the paper - show color images of artwork, present special features about subjects which would take more than a few pages of text, provide coverage of areas we didn't cover in the printed paper, and a few more things.

Two years later, we have over 800 pages of content, on just about everything dealing with the visual arts in the Carolinas. Carolina Arts Online is now a major focal point for anyone interested in just about anything dealing with the visual arts in the Carolinas. Thousands of visitors from all over the Carolinas, the US, North America, and the world are logging on, as well as bookmarking the site for return visits. They just can't get enough and they know the passing of each month just brings more and more.

When we first started the web site we didn't want to burden ourselves and the site with advertising - the site is enough work as it is and keeping up with a lot of constantly changing ads would even add more time to the task. And, as a cyber surfer myself, nothing turns me off a site faster than a lot of downloading ads. We wanted our site to be about content. But, where there is a lot of content - there is a lot of viewers, and viewers attract advertisers. And the advertisers have come a calling, and calling, and calling. Like everything else we do, we'd like to keep any opportunities that come along reserved for people in the visual arts community in the Carolinas.

If you have a web site which you would like to expose to our viewers or a special exhibition or event - we just might have the place for it - Carolina Arts Online.

Call us for details at 843/825-3408, e-mail at ( and check out the web site at (

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