Carolina Arts Unleashed – One Year of Blogging

My oh my, has it been a year already? And, what a year it was. By early fall of 2008 the economy had gone South (Why does going South mean a bad thing?) – I came South 35 years ago and I think that was a good thing. In November, the first black man was elected President of United States. Both events seemed unbelievable at the beginning of this blog’s life – May 22, 2008. Here we are today – the Carolina art community is about ready to cry “UNCLE” yet there might be light at the end of the tunnel – I hope so. The world of newspapers is at a critical breaking point and arts coverage is taking it on the chin. What’s a newspaper editor to do – especially an arts newspaper editor?

“Start a blog old man!” I would have said “young” man, but that is gone, along with the West – it’s always on fire. (Referring to the “Go West Young Man – phrase.) And, with this anniversary blog, I will have offered 100 blog entries – some short ones, a lot of long ones, and the ones most read. That’s over eight years worth of editorial commentary in the newspaper. I’m sure there are a lot of folks who wish I had never learned about the blog, but I’m glad I did.

So right off I want to share the blame with those who deserve it – those people who helped make it possible. None of the names have been changed – these people are not innocent. First off, is Linda, my better half, who is my editor, safety net, web master and debate partner. She wins a few of those debates – lucky for some you know whos. Plus, she gave me this blog for my birthday last year. Then comes Will Ravenel and his daughter Zelda Ravenel, our God-daughter who help with computer tech problems. Teri Tynes, a master blogger in New York City who helped explain what it was all about. And, let’s not forget the folks at WordPress who make it all possible – and free too. At least it’s been free so far. Still can’t figure that one out yet.

Then there are the bloggers who have provided inspiration and a daily fix of reading someone else’s ramblings, but it all goes back farther than last year. A few years ago I participated on a sort of blog/community forum called Arts Ramble of the Triangle created by Andrea Gomez in Raleigh, NC. It’s no longer in action, but that’s where the seed was planted. Will Ravenel also created a few blogs that showed me the possibilities of communicating in this mode. But, over the last year, inspiration has come on a regular basis from Teri Tynes, Meredith Haywood, Christopher RicoSusan Lenz, Samantha Henneke, Michael Klein, and Doug McAbee – check out these blogs. (Click on their names.)

I’ve also received a lot of inspiration from the ongoing battle to save the North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC – which still needs financial help. And, there is always the battle to make sense of the South Carolina Arts Commission – who are they and what do they do? The real life questions. Like the fact that the Arts Commission has a board meeting scheduled for June 3, 2009. Hopefully this will be the last meeting for Linda Stern (the chair of the Commission). Will this meeting take place in Charleston, SC, this year – like years past – or will it be in Columbia, SC? Are the years of the “special” meetings in Charleston during the Spoleto Festival over? Who knows? They usually don’t post an official notice of the meetings until a few days before it takes place, but the public is always welcome – only if they know about it ahead of time. I know where to look.

I’ve learned a lot along the way about blogging over this year. I also learned that it helps when you start a blog if you have already been doing commentary for 21 years and you have a built-in audience that you can call on for readers. It also helps to have the blog attached to a website,Carolina Arts Online, which is a mega site of archived content built up over ten years. It also helps to have a monthly printed paper that has been covering the visual arts in parts of the Carolinas over the past 21 years. So, we got a lot of help in making this blog what it has become.

Now, we still have a lot to learn yet. Hopefully as this next year develops we will be adding more things which make Carolina Arts Unleashed a better place to visit. No use talking about them at this point – this old dog doesn’t learn new tricks easily.

One thing that readers seem to want is for me to turn the comments switch to on, but as I said at the beginning of doing this blog – I don’t have time to monitor comments and keep the crazies at bay. People can still e-mail ( me comments about anything I say – some do, and their comments are taken into account. We’ll even post them if they are good enough to add into the mix, but I started this blog for me – to give me more opportunities for commentary about what’s going on in the Carolina visual art community and a few other things. And, after some people’s worry – I only made one entry about the SC Aquarium. Imagine that.

I may try a test run with the comments switch turned on, but it will be for a limited time – so those who want to offer their 2 cents – be alert. I’m always willing to try something once.

So there you go – Happy Anniversary to Carolina Arts Unleashed! Who knows, by next year we may master the art of FaceBook, Twitter, and whatever else they come up with – so stay tuned.

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