Past Commentaries

January Issue 2003
by Tom Starland

Top Ten Myths About Carolina Arts

As we venture into our seventh year of doing Carolina Arts, it's time again to go over some housekeeping issues - for those who have never understood how this paper works and for those who are new to this publication.

I think the best way to explain some things is to address the Top Ten Myths About Carolina Arts - a format many people can relate to these days - and, often entertaining.

No. 10 - Carolina Arts is not a nonprofit publication. Contrary to most people's opinion, we are a for-profit paper. That means we are trying to take in more money in revenue (advertising) than we spend to produce the paper - including money to live on since we have no other income.

Many people have gotten the impression or assume from looking at the paper that some government entity must be supporting the paper with funding - public money. I guess to them what we do just seems like something that should be supported by taxpayer funding.

Well, it's not directly. We do receive some support in the form of advertising from non-profits who do get public funding so I guess we do indirectly. But then, they get advertising in return - so we've earned our part.

Although we are not an official nonprofit, we could get corporate funding in the form of advertising, which is counted as an expense of doing business and is just as tax deductible as donations to a nonprofit - plus they get the advertising. There are other ways they could support us and at the same time support the visual art community. Give us a call.

No. 9 - Carolina Arts does not cover events in Georgia, Texas, or Ohio. I know it's hard to figure this one out, but for all you who travel to North and South Carolina and pick up our paper and then go home and figure you should send in a press release about your local art museum's exhibit - we ONLY cover exhibitions taking place in North and South Carolina. Those are the only Carolina states in the US. Which brings us to:

No. 8 - Carolina Arts only covers the Visual Arts in North and South Carolina. This is also a point some people seem to be confused about when they run across our paper. I would think reading one issue would solve that problem, but here again, some people just see a publication and think - free publicity for all events. Let me see if I can narrow this down for some people.

The basic focus of Carolina Arts is visual art exhibitions taking place in venues located in North and South Carolina. And, that only pertains to the areas listed on the front of the paper. All other areas in the Carolinas are included on our website. Those other areas could one day be included if they would like to become part of our advertising support network.

Because of our limited space each month, I have decided that "exhibition" will be the cut off point for getting included in Carolina Arts. In the visual arts world, getting an exhibition is a major accomplishment - one to be celebrated. Finishing a new painting is great too, but not something everyone needs to know.

We do also cover some visual art related events, such as art festivals, art walks, gallery openings (the opening of a new gallery - not a reception), fund-raisers, etc. But, if in your press release about an art festival you write 13 paragraphs about the performing events, food booths and music which will take place at the festival and then write - an arts and crafts section will also be included - don't count on getting this printed in our paper. This also goes for those you host fund-raisers which use donations of art to raise funds for charities. If you don't include the names of the artists who have donated the works you will be auctioning off at half the work's value - you can also count on not getting in our paper.

So, the key words here are - visual art exhibitions. And, we can throw in - North and South Carolina.

No. 7 - Carolina Arts is not part of some imposed community service sentence for a crime I committed in my wild youth. Although at times it may seem like it - it's not. This is a self-imposed sentence. It's not for life, but if I'm hoping to get off early for good behavior - it might take some time yet. It all depends on who is sitting on my parole board.

No. 6 - Although I am the editor and publisher of Carolina Arts, I do not know everything and everyone involved in our community in North and South Carolina or anywhere else. I also have had no formal training in the visual arts. All I know has been experienced, and what I don't know, I'm not embarrassed to ask about. I might be able to point you in the right direction to find out what you want to know, but I am no expert on anything - except being a pain in the ass - so my good wife tells me. So, for the record, I don't know how much that print is worth that you bought ten years ago at a flea market or the e-mail address of that artists you went to school with so you can send them a Christmas card. Remember - I'm also the paperboy at "Carolina Arts too.

No. 5 - Size does not count when it comes to advertising - consistency does.

No. 4 - Carolina Arts is not based in Charleston, SC. The paper's headquarters is in Bonneau, SC. The paper is really based nowhere in particular. The majority of our advertising does come from the Charleston area, so the paper might look like it's based in Charleston, but it's not. On any given month, most of the articles we present are from NC. Any other area that would like to challenge Charleston with more advertising can easily make it so that the paper looks like it is based in their city. Be my guest.

No. 3 - Cover images are sold to the highest bidders. Not so, we select covers at the last moment from the images we have at hand. If you don't send one - we can't use it.

No. 2 - Carolina Arts is printed monthly - every month and the deadline for advertising and sending in info for any issue is the 15th of the month prior to the one you hope to be in.

No. 1 - We do not write all the articles you see in every issue of Carolina Arts. This is perhaps the most misunderstood thing about our paper. I write the commentary and an occasional article about some general issue, but almost 99 percent of all articles you see in Carolina Arts are written by the people hosting the exhibition the article is about. Some are written by professionals, some by literate volunteers, and many by people like me, who probably shouldn't be writing anything more than their name on a check to pay a professional to write an article. But, we don't write them. We read them all, but we don't memorize them all.

Now, there are two very important points here to be made about this fact. One, no one is going to show up at your gallery or exhibit to write an article for you that will magically show up in Carolina Arts. And, two, since we don't write these articles - if you want more info about the article, you should call the number at the end of the article. That's what it's there for - further information.

On the first point. We would prefer for you to publicize your gallery or exhibitions by taking out large display ads for months at a time, but you have the opportunity to send in a free article about your gallery's opening (not receptions) or about exhibitions you will be presenting. This goes for both non-profits and commercial entities. You can send them every month, every time you have an exhibition or for those special events you are planning. But, we might not always have room to print them in the paper. They all go up on our website at ( In fact, I can guarantee you everything you send won't make the paper, but none will ever make if you don't send it in. The same goes for a gallery listing or an update to your listing. If you don't see it there - you need to send it in. We provide plenty of information about how to do these things on our website under the heading "How the paper Works". Check it out and become part of Carolina Arts.

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Mailing Address: Carolina Arts, P.O. Drawer 427, Bonneau, SC 29431
Telephone, Answering Machine and FAX: 843/825-3408
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Carolina Arts is published monthly by Shoestring Publishing Company, a subsidiary of PSMG, Inc.
Copyright© 2003 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© 2003 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.