Where lie our loyalties?
One of the elements that struck me in the story about the Seattle art critic gone awry were these statements:
In December, she said, the paper asked him to choose between curating art exhibitions and acting as a reviewer because of the potential for a conflict of interest, and he chose curating. "Books, that's the thing for me now," Kangas confirmed, reflecting a career shaped not by the monogamy and security of staff jobs, but by the constant shifting of priorities and loyalties necessitated by contract work.
With more newspapers outsourcing the majority of arts coverage to stringers, the question of loyalty becomes an intricate one. It's certainly one that I've stopped and asked myself. When I left my newspaper staff job nearly 15 years ago, one of the biggest joys was that I was now free to participate to a greater degree in the arts community. When I returned to the newspaper as a freelance critic and columnist, it was with different priorities and loyalties.
Yes, I am loyal to my newspaper and want to see it succeed. However, a higher priority is to see the arts community thrive. Most of the time, those loyalties complement each other. High quality arts coverage is good for the newspaper and good for the arts community. The more I strive to write better reviews and stories, the more both will benefit.
However, my commitment to arts journalism transcends any single source that I write for. As my newspaper cuts its budget for arts coverage, I do whatever I can to offer creative alternatives. In the mean time, I expand what I write elsewhere, even if that means creating competing news sources. Some of that is simply the life of a freelancer, but most of it is that the commitment to arts journalism isn't just about what is best for the newspaper. It's about what is best for the community in which I live.
In many of the issues that art.rox is exploring, I believe we'll find shades of differences in how freelancers and staffers respond to different issues. It will certainly make for an enriching discussion.
Bloggers We Love
Bridgette Redman and Lansing Theater
Drew McManus' "Neo Classical" at the Partial Observer
Marc Moss (Missoula, MT artist)
Mary Louise Schumacher's "Art City"
Other Great Sites
American Composers Orchestra
Arts & Letters Daily
Center for Arts and Culture
Cultural Policy and the Arts National Data Archive
National Arts Journalism Program
NEA Arts Journalism Institute for Dance Criticism
NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Classical Music and Opera
NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Theater & Musical Theater
New Music Box: American Music Center
USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program
AJ BlogsAJBlogCentral | rss
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
rock culture approximately
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
No genre is the new genre
David Jays on theatre and dance
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
John Rockwell on the arts
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Martha Bayles on Film...
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds
Jerome Weeks on Books
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
Public Art, Public Space
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog