Wed., October 23, 2013 4:00pm (EDT)

Young Arts Journalists Get Tips from the Pros
By Steve Murray
Updated: 9 months ago

MACON, Ga.  —  
Three Atlanta-based panelists talk about how to create a vibrant local and global visual arts scene in a discussion hosted by the Macon Arts Alliance and Mercer University's Center for Collaborative Journalism. Panelists (from left to right): Susannah Darrow, Shara Hughes, Rachel Reese, and moderator Steve Murray. (Photo: Melanie Byas, courtesy of Macon's Museum of Arts and Sciences)
Three Atlanta-based panelists talk about how to create a vibrant local and global visual arts scene in a discussion hosted by the Macon Arts Alliance and Mercer University's Center for Collaborative Journalism. Panelists (from left to right): Susannah Darrow, Shara Hughes, Rachel Reese, and moderator Steve Murray. (Photo: Melanie Byas, courtesy of Macon's Museum of Arts and Sciences)
On Oct. 22 at Macon’s Museum of Arts and Scientists, I moderated the first of six free, public symposia about the changing nature of arts and criticism in the post-print, Internet world for Art Matters: Engaging the Community through Embedded Arts Journalists.

A collaboration of the Macon Arts Alliance and Mercer University's Center for Collaborative Journalism (in which GPB is a partner), the program is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Knight Foundation.

The project’s chief component is to “embed” young arts journalists in the Macon and Middle Georgia area with artists and arts organizations, giving these reporters longer time and more access than typical for traditional arts journalism.

The idea? To find varying forms of storytelling – long, short, macro and micro -- and to get those stories out through multiple platforms: blog posts, podcasts, newspapers, magazines, tweets, radio spots, etc.

Another component of the program, continuing through June 30, is a series of six public symposia. In each, at least one professional artist in a particular discipline will be matched with a professional critic of the same medium, to discuss the evolving nature of their roles.

The disciplines will include film, theater, literature, pop music, classical music, and the subject of the Oct. 22 symposium, visual arts.

The Atlanta-based panelists included:

- Susannah Darrow, executive director and co-founder of BURNAWAY, an Atlanta-based nonprofit arts organization dedicated to covering the arts and stimulating dialogue in Atlanta and the Southeast through an online publication, public programs, and annual print edition.

- Shara Hughes, a painter represented by American Contemporary in New York City, Michael Andersen Gallery in Copenhagen and Berlin, and Metroquadro in Turin, who had her first solo show in Atlanta at the Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center in April of 2013

- Rachel Reese, Communications Manager of the Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center, an independent curator and arts writer, former editor of BURNAWAY and contributor to vidual arts magazines and journals including Bomb Magazine online, BOMBlog, and her writing has also appeared in Temporary Art Review, ArtSlant, ART PAPERS, and TWELV Magazine.

Topics included the collapse of mainstream print media and the loss of staff writers and arts experts; the blurring of lines between the artist and the critic; and the difficulties in encouraging people to get out of the house and experience live, practical, loud, life-size art at a time when so much can be “experienced” digitally via small screens and earbuds.

The next symposium, on literature, is scheduled for Nov. 18. Details will be announced the week of Oct. 28.

Steve Murray is Critic-in-Residence for Art Matters: Engaging the Community through Embedded Arts Journalists, a collaboration between the Macon Arts Alliance and Mercer University's Center for Collaborative Journalism. Fritz and other writers in the program will be spending time with arts and arts organizations in the Macon area through June, reporting what they discover, and fostering ongoing conversations about the arts in Middle Georgia.