Past Comments

February Issue 2009
by Tom Starland

Over Editing

Trying to fit as much into last month's issue had me cutting and cutting for every inch - so much so that I cut out some pretty important info from one of the articles about an exhibit taking place at the Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston, SC. We left out the dates of the exhibition. The exhibit, Broken, Beaten and Buried, a new site-specific installation by internationally renowned artist James Marshall, (aka Dalek) will be on view from through Mar. 7, 2009. It's a good thing this exhibit started late in Jan. and would be continuing for several months. Of course we did have the dates for the exhibition in our gallery listings - which I hope people reading the article checked out.

That was a first time event and I hope the last time, but I do hate being in the position of being more a surgeon than an editor. But, in these tough times we're grateful to be able to put out any size paper.

An Offer You Shouldn't Refuse

On this page of this issue you will find an ad for Inkpressions PhotoGraphiks, Inc. They offer scanning services, printing, and Giclée prints - among other services. There is also a coupon that can save you 20% on their services - if you just pay attention and use the coupon. Who doesn't need a break these days?

Just Ask For Money

I was given this suggestion by someone who has been in our position before - shrinking revenue - mounting debt - to just ask readers for money. It's not as if I haven't thought of this before, but it just seems so unnatural. But, in these times - we do what we have to.

My request is twofold and it's for our regular readers of Carolina Arts. First, go out in your community in the Carolinas and buy some art - from galleries, artists, and even art museum shops. You don't have to buy the major work of the century, but buy something. Second, if you have enjoyed what we have been doing for the last 21 years and would like to see us continue for many more years to come - send us a check. It also doesn't have to be the check of the century - anything will help, but you could surprise me. I can take it.

If you have been reading or listening to stories about non-profit organizations in the arts needing money to continue - commercial art galleries and commercial art newspapers are hurting too. We can't offer you a tax deduction, but we can offer you our undying thanks. Just think about what it would be like without us around.

Many people have said to me over the years, "I wish there was some why I could give you money for what you do?" - as if we would turn down people giving us money. All I can guess is that the non-tax deduction is a deal breaker or they think it is against the law to give people money - I'm not sure what it is.

I've seen non-profit groups who receive funding from local, state and even national tax dollars, sell tickets to their performances and pass the hat during that performance for donations. We don't get any funding, don't charge for the paper, but I guess we can ask for a donation. We don't have anything to sell you.

Some people think buying a subscription to a publication is a way of giving them money, but it is just another financial obligation - with constantly rising postage costs. I guess if we sold subscriptions for $500 or $1,000 - that might help, but that's silly when the paper is free.

So, if you have some money you can spare and you like what we have been doing for all these years - send us a check to help us get through these troubled times. We'll thank you for it.

Don't Roller Skate In A Buffalo Herd

I'm not sure what that means, but it sounds like good advice. My advice to those in the visual art business is - don't stand still when the market has stopped or slowed. It's sort of like - the tough get going when the going gets tough.

In my December commentary I offered 10 suggestions as to what you could do in an economic turndown. I'm beginning to see that some people are getting creative, while others are reinventing themselves. One stand out this month is an exhibit being offered at Corrigan Gallery in Charleston, SC, (see article on Feature Articles page). They are offering an exhibit of works that are "unframed, unadorned, simple and affordable". That's one way of bringing down the cost to the consumer.

Some artists are teaching classes and workshops - something they haven't done in years, while others are thinking small and working small - offering quality works at a more affordable price. Don't worry, there will still be plenty on mega sized works for those who still have deep pockets of money.

Some artists will be going to cyber space - hoping that the Internet will offer them a wider buying public. It surely is a larger audience than you will find in your own hometown or city, but it also comes with its own problems.

The thing is - some people seem to be stopped in their tracks - they just want this all to go away. Well, I want it to go away too, but I can't wait for when ever that might happen, so the word is - keep moving, keep trying, keep pushing and keep offering people art - they can't live without.

We still received more articles about exhibits than we had room for - especially in this reduced size, but we didn't receive as many as we usually do. It seems some people are not presenting as many exhibits, are not sending out their press releases, or are just not doing anything.

You're right, we couldn't have handled more even if we got more press releases, but all we receive go into the gallery listings and all are posted on our website. People won't know you're still here - if you don't tell them.


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Carolina Arts is published monthly by Shoestring Publishing Company, a subsidiary of PSMG, Inc. Copyright© 2009 by PSMG, Inc., which published Charleston Arts from July 1987 - Dec. 1994 and South Carolina Arts from Jan. 1995 - Dec. 1996. It also publishes Carolina Arts Online, Copyright© 2009 by PSMG, Inc. All rights reserved by PSMG, Inc. or by the authors of articles. Reproduction or use without written permission is strictly prohibited. Carolina Arts is available throughout North & South Carolina.