(Please forgive this act of self-indulgence. Oh wait, this is a blog...)
Blogging about art has made me a member of a rarified group of people, perhaps even more rare than the group "arts reporters." But our numbers are growing, as both traditional media outlets and freelancers find value in talking about art on a more casual, daily basis.
So when I saw that PBS' blog Art Beat had posted a new blurb (that's a technical term) titled "The Art of Blogging About Art," I was immediately sucked into the great naval-gazing void. Would I find myself reflected in their descriptions? Would I agree with my art-blogging compatriots?
Chris Amico talks with three arts bloggers: Lisa Fung (arts editor and contributor to LA Times' Culture Monster), Don Share (contributor to "Harriet," the Poetry Foundation's group blog) and Lee Rosenbaum (arts writer for the Wall Street Journal, aka CultureGrrl).
Here are some of the ideas they raised, with which I heartily agree:
Blogging about the arts allows me and my colleagues at MPR to share news and ideas with you in ways completely different from our traditional radio format. That gives us flexibility to tell a story more creatively, with slideshows and video, if we like. It also allows me to speak in a more personal voice, and engage in a conversation that I don't get to have as a reporter on our air.
Talking about art in a more personal voice in turn makes the conversation more accessible to the general public. No snooty noses in the air here - all opinions are welcome. And the more voices that pitch in, the better the conversation.
Finally, writing a blog - and having a place where people can post their comments - helps me to do my job better as an arts reporter. I hear more now from people who wouldn't have taken the time to hunt down my e-mail address and send me a personal note. Those comments sometimes lead to (valued) corrections, and sometimes lead to new posts and even in-depth stories.
So yea for art blogs. But there is one idea brought forth by the bloggers with which I must disagree, at least in terms of my own writing.
Lee Rosenbaum says in the Art Beat article that she blogs "because I felt I had a lot to say and no place to put it... I can only write so many articles for the Journal but I have ideas everyday that I feel like sharing."
Reporter/blogger Chris Amico goes on to quote Scott Rosenberg, the author of "Say Everything," as saying that most people blog out of "a desire to express themselves, to think out loud, to exult in the possibilities of writing in public..."
In my case, not so much. I may have lots of ideas or thoughts throughout the course of a day, but there are very few I feel are worth typing out. For me, writing is often a very deliberate process, and when I post something here I want to make sure that it's worth my time - and yours. I'm much more excited in hearing what you have to say in response to a post than I am in the idea of simply "writing in public."
So with that, I'll shamelessly plug some of the ways in which YOU can have a say in this blog. As with any blog, you can comment on what you find here. You can also share your favorite work of Minnesota art for our series "We Art Minnesota." And you are always welcome to sign up to be an Art Hound, to help keep me and your fellow Minnesotans in the know about cool cultural events.
Mindfully posting comments might be like setting out prayer flags - if no one reads them, the effort is nonetheless liberating, if someone reads them, all the better, hopefully; and with you, Marianne, it's often exhilarating. MPR could be an acronym for Mountain Pass Rising. Happy Labor Day.