Past Comments


October Issue 2007
by Tom Starland

Charleston Art Auction

Well, it's not hard to figure out that the second annual Charleston Art Auction is a big deal - to us, Charleston and the Carolinas. This year the auction will be part of the 9th Fine Art Annual weekend in Charleston, SC, (Nov. 2-4, 2007) hosted by the 16 member galleries of the Charleston Fine Art Dealers' Association. The auction will take place at the Renaissance Hotel in Charleston on Nov. 3, 2007. You still have time to be part of it all. You'll find plenty of information about the events by checking out all those color ads in this issue.

Art auctions in New York have set records this year. People are discovering that an investment in art can be better and safer than the stock market. In July's issue we told you about a man who purchased a work of art in 1960 for $10,000 and sold it at auction this year for $72.8 million. That's a nice profit.

The auction will also feature 30 new works painted that weekend by artists from the 16 CFADA galleries where all the proceeds will benefit Charleston County High School student art programs. You can come and make a winning bid on a work by an established artist - helping out perhaps a future artist. Your ticket to the auction also benefits the student programs - so just by showing up and being part of the excitement - you'll be helping out. Plus, you'll probably have a pretty good time.

Record Paper

There was a time when our May issue used to be our largest paper of the year, but since the Spoleto Festival USA has stopped offering visual art components - the festival is not drawing many visual art folks to Charleston - which has a ripple effect throughout the Charleston visual art community. Some galleries don't even bother to offer new exhibitions during that time since the audience has shifted more to the performing arts. Plus, the weather during May and June in Charleston can be brutal.

In the last five to six years the fall calendar for the visual arts has become more active and many special events have been developed around the Carolinas which has garnered more activity. More activity means more events being advertised. Our Oct. 07 issue will be 48 pages - a record for us. That's not much in comparison with other papers, but when you consider that we are just covering the visual arts - that's pretty good. We have four extra pages of color ads too.

We have a lot of ads this month, but it also meant that we could fit a lot more articles in the paper - a lot of very long articles - but not all. There never seems to be enough room for all we receive - by deadline.

So, a lot of people who might not have made the cut this month, but did - owe a thanks to those advertisers.

Some people just don't seem to understand that those advertisers make this paper possible - every month. This paper is not a publicly funded paper.

Unlike in the non-profit world where most of the people who get to benefit from public funding - are other non-profits - here at Carolina Arts we also include non-profits and parties who don't participate in the financial support of the paper. We're different.

We can't always include everyone - mostly due to space and distributions problems, but we at least try. We developed our website to make a place for all the rest who don't make the printed version of the paper - at our own cost and time. So I would hope that when someone doesn't make the cut they understand - we did all we could to fit them in.

Long Winded

People are sending us longer and longer press releases and longer and longer gallery listings. In the past, I have not put many restrictions on the length of press releases and listings, but the time has come for self-restraint. Everyone wants to get in Carolina Arts - every month - even those who are not the best supporters of our paper, but the reality is - there is never enough space for all the press releases we receive - so long pieces are going to be harder to fit in. Also remember - the size of the paper always depends on the amount of support we receive each month.

And, Jeffrey Day, arts reporter for The State newspaper says one of the worst things about our paper is that we put press release in the paper - unedited. I'd hate to start taking his advise and start cutting and cutting and cutting.

There's nothing I can do about any other problems Day has with our paper, but he might be right about this fact. But then again, I never wanted to put my own spin on individual exhibitions. I'd rather save that for my comments about the bigger picture of the overall visual art community.

So, folks need to start thinking about writing about the art and not so much about things unrelated to the exhibit being presented. And, keep it as short as possible, but at this point I'm not imposing a limit - yet. I always say if you have something interesting to say about the exhibit being offered or the artist(s) - say it.

And, FYI, I'm already editing most stuff about spouses, children, and pets. We all have them - there is not any news there.

Greener Pastures

In the next few months we will be adjusting our area of coverage (in the printed version of the paper) - dropping some areas and adding others. Areas being dropped are ones where we no longer see any value in being there. Areas added will be ones where the call for representation and offers of support are loud. Of course, we'll still include all on the web version of the paper - including items we receive by deadline.

It should also be noted that from time to time we have to edit the gallery listings - taking out studios only open by appointment and places where we don't deliver the paper - just to save space and fit in more articles about exhibitions. After all, exhibitions are the focus of the paper. When we have space - we put them back in.

This sort of shake-up is necessary to make sure the distribution of the paper is going to the right places. Most likely, you won't notice the difference - a few will.

For those who are dropped or have yet to be included - your future relationship is always in your hands - we're not on a mission to serve all. You're mistaking us with your local arts commission. (The following was cut for space) And, over the years some places dropped have come back stronger than ever and are now some of our biggest supporters, while others are still griping about how it's not fair - yet they still never offer any reason for us to change our mind about dropping them in the first place. And, I'm not sure we have missed a thing without them.

Our website ( offers everyone an opportunity to be included and I hate to say it but more people around the world see that version of Carolina Arts than the printed version of the paper. There are just more folks out there in cyber space interested in the visual arts - than we have here in the Carolinas.

But our audience is growing all the time. There are a lot of folks moving into the Carolinas who have a thirst for the kind of arts they enjoyed back home and they're discovering - we have a lot to offer.

To The Readers

Well, now that we've discussed all the nuts and bolts about how this paper operates - you need to get reading and looking over the paper and then going to participate in all that this issue offers you - art auctions, art walks, strolls, crawls, etc., studio tours, exhibitions, and art festivals. From the mountains to the coast of the Carolinas - you have a lot to choose from - just make sure you choose something and go - do.

Oh, and one more thing you should do - buy. I can't think of any better way to support the arts, support artists, support the arts industry, and support this paper, then buying art.


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Carolina Arts is published monthly by Shoestring Publishing Company, a subsidiary of PSMG, Inc.
Copyright© 2007 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© 2007 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.