Past Comments

June Issue 2009
by Tom Starland

Don't - Let It Be

Beginning this month we enter into what's known as the "dog days" of Summer. Don't let them be dog days. Now is not the time to slack off or sit back and hang. If you do that - more than the dog days will pass you by.

On The Cover

Presented on our cover this month are two beautiful black and white images by Corrie McCallum (Halsey), from the Carolina Arts collection. Corrie passed away this March at the age of 94 - she missed being 95 by 12 days. Now that's what I call having a full life. We should all be so lucky.

These images were selected to show that the arts - especially the visual arts are not all about color. Don't get me wrong, I wish we still had our color covers, but we do what we have to in this economic downturn.

Perhaps like in the story of Peter Pan - if everyone reading this goes out and buys an expensive work of art - color will return to the cover. It's worth a try. Until then, we'll see if we can present some worthy covers in black and white. I think this is a good start.

One Year Of Being Unleashed

By the time you are reading this the one year anniversary of Carolina Arts Unleashed will have come and gone and year two will be well on its way.

My blog has been a major development in the Carolina Arts history. It has increased the website's viewership by almost a third, given me an outlet for comments we could never take up space with in the printed paper, and given me the opportunity to highlight and review some exhibitions, as well as alert readers to events which there normally wouldn't be space for in the paper.

Compared to the once a month opportunity I have to express my opinions in the printed paper - I have already contributed over eight years worth of commentary in just one year, and many of those blog entries were worth dozens - as there are no space limits in cyberspace. Of course, there are limits as to how much a reader can take in during one visit. All I can say is that some subjects take time to unfold and sometimes you have to layout a historical context to offer a point of view. Perhaps, I'm just long winded or as my wife would say - full of air.

Anyway, I've enjoyed doing the blog and I hope readers have too, because I'm not going to stop.

Although it's only been a year of blogging - next month we will enter our 23rd year of bringing news about the arts - now just the visual arts to readers all over the Carolinas and beyond. Our website has been bringing the news of the Carolina visual art community to readers all over the world for ten years and all that is available on the website. That's why the search engines like us so much - content. We have lots of it and people want to look at it all the time 24/7. Like the old Doritos commercial - read all you want - we'll post more.

Here's a challenge for you. If you are an artist, or the owner of an art gallery, director of a non-profit art space in the Carolinas and you go to Google and type in your name, gallery name or institution and Carolina Arts and nothing comes up in the top ten search entries - you've been pretty non-productive or non-communicative. And that would be your fault, not ours. We've spent a lot of time posting content and not asking for anything in return except for people to make our deadlines.

Public Funding - Too Many Mouths To Feed

Money - the Mother's milk of the arts is in short supply these days as well as corporate funding for the arts. Survival for some non-profits is going to depend on how well connected these groups are to the people who decide where - what little money there is - goes. It no longer matters what each group offers to the public and how well they spend the money they receive - it's all down to the pure idea of - who you know. That's been one of the unstated principles of arts funding for centuries, but now it's dog eat dog and the one who walks away with the funding bone - will be those with board members who have friends with connections, groups with involved relatives connected to officials, or better yet - groups who cater to the dreams and aspirations of those officials - the wanna-bes.

It never hurts if the director of an arts agency always wanted to play in a symphony, be a dancer or sees themselves as a actor or artist.

It would be nice if just for once the most worthy projects and groups get funding over the favored of a few officials, but that's not going to happen - it never will.

My advice is for artists and art groups to stop chasing the carrot of public arts funding and concentrate on alternative sources of funding - based on what they offer the community - not what happens to be the latest theme of the arts agencies. And, why waste your time lobbying for funds for these agencies - for funds you will never receive.


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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.