Past Comments

October Issue 2003
by Tom Starland

Rave Comments

We received many positive and supportive comments on Jerry Spencer's guest editorial about "art auctions," just as I have in the past when I have offered similar words. Unfortunately, the artists, even some who complain the loudest - just keep giving their art away. They just don't seem to be able to say no or at least ask for more in the way of respect in return for their generosity.

Don't get us wrong, Spencer, I and others are not completely against art being used to help worthy causes. We just don't want to support a practice that has gotten out of hand and is deteriorating the value of art and the art market. There are better ways to use art as a fundraiser. This is truly a subject that will come up again and again. And, as I stated before, we hope to be offering an example of our own - on how it can be done.

A Bit of Housekeeping

I am continually amazed at how little some people know about how our paper works. Even those who say they have been following us for the 16 years we have been publishing an arts newspaper. Nevertheless, it behooves us to go over a few points from time to time - as a reminder to the experienced Carolina Arts readers and for newcomers. And, we have added a lot of new galleries to our listings lately, which also means new readers.

First, Carolina Arts is NOT a non-profit organization which receives funding from the public trough to do what we do - at least not directly. We do receive paid ads from some groups that do, but that is in exchange for advertising. We don't get handed a check from anyone to spend on whatever we think the community needs. No, we survive solely on advertising revenue and money from our own pockets from time to time - times which I don't particularly care for. So, it is NOT our duty to cover all art activities - everywhere.

Second, we are a visual arts newspaper. We don't include film and TV, even though you have to look at them.

Third, we only cover the visual arts in selected parts of North and South Carolina. Those selected areas are printed on the cover of our paper, and they include many smaller areas in, around and on the way to those selected areas. We didn't select the areas - they work in cooperation with us. Other areas didn't and they are not covered in the paper.

Now, at this point it should be pointed out that there are two versions of the paper. Carolina Arts is the printed version of the paper - the very costly version of the paper which is distributed to galleries and art spaces throughout our area of coverage. Carolina Arts Online is the electronic version of the paper which exist on the Internet at ( The cost of this version is more reasonable and allows us to do many things we can not do in the printed version. Carolina Arts Online is much bigger than the printed version of the paper each month and includes almost five years of back issues, color photos, special features and more, on over 3,000 pages of content.

We also cover the entire Carolinas' visual art community on that web site. Each month we get press releases and photos about exhibits at galleries that have never seen the inside of the printed Carolina Arts - all done for free.

Fourth, the paper and the web site are published monthly - every month until we die. That is either the paper or my wife and I - whichever comes first.

Fifth, we do not write the articles or gallery listings found on both versions of the paper. We allow the presenters of the exhibitions to write their own press releases/articles - they should know more about what they are presenting than we should. Yes, we do edit or reformat them to fit the paper's style.

At this point it should be stated that the focus of Carolina Arts is exhibitions, NOT individual artists, galleries, or other related visual art activities. You can buy advertising about those items and many can go on our web site where we have more room. As it is, we don't have enough room each month to include all the articles we get about exhibitions.

So, you can send us articles for every exhibit you present - we may not have room to print them every month, but if they are not sent - I can guarantee you won't see them in the paper. I'm almost sure that some of the articles I read are about made-up exhibits, but we don't do that for the readers.

It should be noted that I personally have my own likes and dislikes when it comes to art, but I do not get to express them by editing what goes into the paper or on the web site. If that was the case, a lot of stuff wouldn't have made it in the paper or on the cover of the paper. I let the readers decide what they like. Lack of money is the cruelest of editors in our case.

Point number six is that a lot of this info can be found on our web site under the heading "How the Paper Works". There is info about advertising, sending gallery listings, writing articles, info on subscriptions (yes, the paper is free, but not free to mail it to you), and as I said - more about what I'm telling you now.

Point number seven covers e-mail. The preferred e-mail address to send us info is at ( You can send photos and attachments to it. Don't use the words "No Subject" in the subject space. It will get deleted with all the other junk we get. It is also a nice idea to put your name on your e-mails. I sign all mine. I don't like replying to "whomever sent us this e-mail."

E-mail is preferred over FAX, letter, and especially calls about info. That way we don't have to retype it or scan it - avoiding mistakes in translation. But, it is good to send printed backups since the e-mail process does terrible things to many punctuation marks - note that a backup is being sent in your e-mail, so we don't end up processing it twice. If you are worried about e-mails making it into our hands or computers - ask for a reply or receipt.

A related note: I have always advised artists to let us know about exhibits they are having just in case it slips the mind of the gallery owners to send us a release. This way if we don't eventually receive one from the gallery we can call and ask - don't you have an exhibit this month? We will not print press releases sent by artists without the gallery's consent or knowledge. So, artists, you can remind us and remind them, but you can not take over a gallery owners' right to control their publicity. At least not through us.

Point number nine is 15. Our deadline is always the 15th of the month prior to the next issue. Example: the deadline for our Nov. 03 issue is Oct. 15, 2003. If your exhibit is going to start Nov. 28, 2003 - we need to hear about it by Oct. 15, 2003. If it begins Oct. 23 and ends Nov. 5, 2003 - you missed the boat. We should have know about that on Sept. 15, 2003.

Finally, if you have been reading Carolina Arts for years, a few months, or for the first time and you don't see your gallery listed in the back or info about your exhibit - where it should be in the paper or on the web site - it's in your hands. We collect and distribute info, we don't make it up for the readers.


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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.