Past Commentaries

February Issue 2000
by Tom Starland

Need Your Spirits Lifted & A Few Laughs?

Believe it or not, every once and a while I get the blues. It's more frustration than depression, mostly because I've run into some obstacle to my overall goals. Before you know it, I start asking questions of myself - Is the paper having an impact? Am I doing all I can? Have I driven far enough? Did I criticize too much? Did I leave the stove turned on when I left the house? It can go on and on, but before too long my wife will slap me silly and tell me to get out the book.

What she's referring to is the SC Arts Commission publication, A Ten-Year Plan For The Arts In South Carolina 1992-2002. This publication is a 10-year, comprehensive plan to guide arts development in South Carolina from 1992 until 2002. It is the result of a major "canvas" of the people in South Carolina. The document pinpoints our problems and provides solutions on how to overcome those problems through stated "Objectives" and "Suggested Strategies".

If you're not familiar with the "canvas," let's just call it a mega "Arts Summit". And, most of us involved in the art community know how powerful an Arts Summit is at solving problems - just ask the folks in Columbia, SC. They conducted one not too long ago and all their problems are now solved. Just the notion of calling an Arts Summit can solve some problems instantly. It's a powerful tool and shouldn't be taken lightly.

Well anyway, when the blues come a calling all I have to do is get out my copy of the "Ten-Year Plan" and all my troubles just fade away. Just by reading this document my spirits are raised knowing that the year 2002 is just two years away. In just two years, my paper and I will have survived the ten-year long implementation process and all will be better.

Why am I so happy about this plan? Well frankly it addresses our paper directly. Objective 21: "Encourage and Develop Comprehensive Arts Coverage, Dynamic Arts Criticism, and Vigorous Public Dialogue". Objective 21 - I've been waiting for that one.

Objective 20 is not bad either, "Provide for the Exchange of More Accurate, Up-to-Date Information About the Arts and Issues Affecting the Arts". I might be wrong, but it just seems like these two objectives are talking about "Carolina Arts" or something like it. Of course when the "canvas" was done and the "Plan" was hatched - we were just "Charleston Arts". Since then we've taken our coverage of the visual arts state-wide in SC and into NC.

Now I know I've been doing my darnest to provide some dynamic arts criticism, but when is the encouragement coming?

Let's go over some of the suggested strategies. This is the part where I get the feeling that no matter how bad things are today - things will get better, it's just a matter of time.

The Suggested Strategies:
Consult with artists and organizations about producing and distributing print articles, news releases, and other promotional strategies. - Develop programs in arts criticism. - Develop television as an outlet for artists' work. - Establish strong relationships with state, regional, and national public and commercial media. (I really like that one) - Generate statewide and national press releases. - Improve distribution of ARTIFACTS. (I didn't even know they had a problem) - Provide incentives to encourage critical thinking and writing about the arts, as well as high-caliber radio and television programing on the arts. - Publicize artists and arts activities in South Carolina via print and electronic media and public presentation. - That's enough! I'm laughing so hard I can hardly type.

Keep Up The Good Work

Tyrone Geter is the director of the Ponder Fine Arts Gallery at Benedict College in Columbia, SC. I don't know if the gallery ever had a director before, but then again I'm sure most of you are surprised to learn that Benedict College even had an art gallery much less presented art exhibits. Needless to say the facility didn't have a very high profile - some would say none at all.

I met Geter in a gallery in Charleston about a year ago and he told me he would be working at changing that image and he has. We not only know what's on exhibit in the Ponder Gallery from month to month, but we get press releases so we can turn that information over to our readers. Why have exhibits if you don't publicize them?

Recently Geter got some harsh public criticism in the media for an exhibition catalog which provided flopped images, a confusing layout and misspelled words - according to one critic. Another critic in the same city said the catalog was excellent - go figure.

I'm glad Mr. Geter has come to South Carolina and is directing the Ponder Gallery - presenting exhibits, sending out press releases and producing catalogues. Frankly, I don't know a newspaper that doesn't make a ton of what they like to call "typos" on a daily basis.

This month see "What didn't get printed" for more commentary we didn't have room for in the paper.

[ | What got printed | What didn't get printed | What no one would talk about | Past Commentaries | Home | ]


Mailing Address: Carolina Arts, P.O. Drawer 427, Bonneau, SC 29431
Telephone, Answering Machine and FAX: 843/825-3408
Subscriptions are available for $18 a year.

Carolina Arts is published monthly by Shoestring Publishing Company, a subsidiary of PSMG, Inc.
Copyright© 1999 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© 1999 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.