Past Commentaries

June Issue 1999
by Tom Starland

A Near Empty File

Recently, the worth of Carolina Arts was drawn into question when it was suggested to an institution that they should be advertising with us. I was not a participant in this conversation as the suggestion was posed by a third party. I'm sure the debate would have been more lively had I the chance to defend our paper's worth, but in searching through a file that holds positive letters about our paper, I found it to be a little slim and dated. The file had more positive than negative letters, but not many for twelve years of publishing and hardly any with current dates. We need to update that file in order to show positive evidence as to Carolina Arts worth.
Many people express to me on a regular basis how wonderful Carolina Arts is and how valued we are to the visual art community and community in general. After you've heard it a couple thousand times it becomes, sort of like - Yada Yada Yada... Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the kind words, but the praise is hardly ever put in writing. We need some documentation in writing to show unbelievers our worth.
So all you fans of Carolina Arts out there in both North and South Carolina - institutions, organizations, individuals, commercial galleries and anyone else who feels that Carolina Arts has some worth - get writing. The letters are not going to be published. They will most likely spend most of their days collecting dust in our letter file, but when we have to defend our worth again to a potential advertiser, we'll have an updated file to show off. At least we hope we'll have a file full of positive letters.
And, if you're one of those who holds the opinion that Carolina Arts has done nothing for you lately, then I guess this is also your opportunity to fill the file with a few more negative letters. We save them all. I've even made changes due to some complaints. Even negative letters can have a positive effect.

Supporting Our Supporters

While we're talking about positive support, I want to remind readers that they can have a tremendous impact on the paper by reminding our advertisers that you appreciate their support of Carolina Arts. They need to know that besides using our paper as a venue for the promotion of art, artists, exhibits, services, and other visual art opportunities, they are gaining another more intangible value while using our paper - the appreciation of our readers.
Don't assume that even an advertiser who has supported us in every issue over the last decade is tired of hearing how important their support of the paper is to you - even if their ads are producing desired business and exposure. Take a new advertiser like Brookgreen Gardens - we surely want them to know that they have made the right decision to use our paper to promote their facility. They need to hear from you when you go there that you are there because their ad reminded you of their beautiful gardens and collection of outdoor sculpture - one of the largest in America, if not the largest. The same goes for the Weatherspoon Art Gallery in Greensboro, NC, and the Asheville Art Museum.
Our regular advertisers, of which there are many spread throughout the Carolinas, also need to know that their support is appreciated, not only by me, but by you, our readers. Some have been with us from the first issue we printed twelve years ago to the one you're reading now - that's loyalty that can't be measured in just dollars.
Advertisers like the Smith Galleries on Hilton Head Island not only support us, but their community as well. Their support is our only justification for including the visual arts on that island and traveling there every month to deliver papers to the area. Without them we just couldn't afford to do that - remember we're not a nonprofit using taxpayer money to do such a service. Do you think all the other galleries we list there have thanked them, or the artists who are featured at those galleries? They should!
Enough said! I just wanted you to know that talking up Carolina Arts and its value to you (to others besides me) can have a positive effect on our supporters.

What About That Spoleto Thing?

Well, we would usually be talking about our reactions to some of the visual art activities in this issue, but this issue had to be turned in before the Festival starts - it's very late this year. Whose idea was that? So, I can only give my impressions about a few shows that opened early.
About those Piccolo Spoleto exhibits we couldn't tell you about in the last issue - we have their listings now. I've even seen a few. I'll say more about the whole thing in our next issue, but I liked the Pernille Ægidius Dake exhibit. It's nice to see an exhibit by a single artist that shows a body of work with a theme. IMPRINTS made a good impression on me. I'm no art critic, but I know what I like and don't mind saying so. I know the artist and that makes comments even harder. If I didn't like the show, I probably wouldn't be saying anything. I shouldn't say anything about the continual decline of the Piccolo Juried Exhibit and this year's Invitational Exhibit, but then there's the next issue.

Y2K Problem

Finally, I want to address some of our reader's concerns about the Y2K problem and how we will be handling it here at Carolina Arts. I used an "0" in the date all year back in 1990, but never three at the same time. I'll be taking classes three days a week throughout the rest of the year to insure no interruptions.

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