Past Commentaries

May Issue 1999

Wall To Wall Ads
by Tom Starland

I'm sure some people think I should apologize, while others will think I'm getting rich, all in one issue, but frankly, I'd trade one big "Spoleto" issue for better advertising support during July & August and January & February. Believe me, it all evens out. We've just tried to make room for as many advertisers as we could and we still had to turn some people down. May is a once a year phenomenon and 36 pages is more than enough for us the rest of the year. If you're wondering where the rest of the normal paper is - check out the web site at ( Each month there is always more on that site than we can afford to print in the paper.

Short Takes

A lot of people enjoyed my comments about the Columbia Cultural Wars and the South Carolina Arts Foundation's Verner Awards. I made the mistake of saying the South Carolina Arts Commission last month, but then again, I've never been able to discern the difference - they share the same mailing address, phone number, board members and staff. The only difference is that the Arts Foundation doesn't have to tell you where they got their money from and where it goes. Some say it's like a state agency having it's own slush fund. I wonder?

You should check out our new map of the greater Charlotte area (page 23) and the location of some of its galleries and museums. Hopefully it will help people find their way to Bank of America's ongoing cultural project. Every city should have its own hometown bank! I know the map works - I've been delivering to all our Charlotte locations for the last couple of months. Frankly, it's not hard to find the galleries - with a map. And, I have a master copy with over 30 locations on it. I hope more of the galleries will sign on as time goes on so they can be easily found too.

I guess a Spoleto Festival can't pass without me making some sort of comment about things most other media don't seem to want to mention. First, this is one of the non-comprehensive years where there is little if no visual art component, except for the Gibbes exhibit and a token installation on its back porch. Too bad Spoleto's PR folks didn't add these items in their press releases. Now, they (visual arts) are getting no mention in regional and national pieces about the festival. Second, I'm glad to read that the festival is selling record numbers of tickets and attracting major contributions in order to pay off old debt and start an endowment fund for the festival's future, but wait a minute -- I want to know what happened to the first two Spoleto Endowment Funds created in 1983 and 1991? What happened to the money donated to those two efforts to secure the festival's future? I hope this can be explained before I have to visit my extensive records once more to do another embarrassing Spoleto history lesson.

Finally, I wouldn't usually recommend anyone to subject themselves to the snobbery of the Greenville County Museum of Art - the only museum in the Carolinas too good for our paper to be seen anywhere in its facility, but I'm going to make the exception and encourage you to go see the exhibit of work by William Halsey on display there May 12 through July 3. And, while you're in Greenville, I have no problem recommending you to go see Corrie McCallum's exhibit at Hampton III Gallery, on view through June 5 and to Tempo Gallery to see the exhibit, "Reflections, Insights & Creativity", a benefit exhibition honoring the 25th Anniversary of the Greenville Sexual Trauma Center, on view from May 24 through June 25. These galleries have no problem with our paper - in fact they're very supportive. But then, who isn't that really matters?

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