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Texas Visual Arts Blog a Finalist for National Prize


by Jerome Weeks 5 Oct 2009

The National Arts Journalism Program and the USC Annenberg School for Communication held the first-ever, live-and-online National Summit on Arts Journalism Friday — with  various panels and roundtables about the future of arts coverage before an audience of cultural leaders .  (Locally, TheatreJones offered the live streaming of the summit.) The summit also announced the […]

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summit

The National Arts Journalism Program and the USC Annenberg School for Communication held the first-ever, live-and-online National Summit on Arts Journalism Friday — with  various panels and roundtables about the future of arts coverage before an audience of cultural leaders .  (Locally, TheatreJones offered the live streaming of the summit.)

The summit also announced the finalists for its awards — to the most promising new models for cultural criticism:  new online formats and functions, new ways of financing or interacting with artists and the community, etc. Over the summer, they received far more submissions — 109 — than they’d expected and expanded their call to two categories, “public” and “showcase” (I still don’t understand the difference.) Each of the five finalists in the two categories receives $2,000 with the eventual top winners getting $7,000 – $5,000 and $2,500. Those top three will be announced at the end of October.

(Full disclosure, Art&Seek submitted an entry, and as a former fellow of the NAJP, I’m a voter.)

At any rate, Houston-based Glasstire is one of the five public finalists, appropriate, non-biased huzzahs. And you can see their presentation here. Art blogger Reginna Hacket even thinks Glasstire’s Rainey Knudsen was the hit of the Summit.

But frankly, I was a little surprised about Glasstire because for a visual arts blog, it’s  not the most attractive one — not by a long shot. But Hacket believes that the Tire’s homeliness is actually a virtue:  “I also like that it’s not a design wonder. It serves those who want to think about art, not just click through razzle-dazzle.”

logoWhich I suspect may refer to Flyp, another finalist, which I happen to think is a stunning combination of traditional magazine reporting and Flash media (check out their feature on MacArthur “genius” winners, the husband-and-wife designers Ric Cofidio and Liz Diller).  My complaint with Flyp: It’s really more like a true, general-interest magazine, not really arts-focused. Hell, the lead story is about health care.

One strong factor in Glasstire’s favor, as Knudsen makes clear, is that it’s a rare attempt to cover an entire state’s arts scene. How well it manages to do that up here is open for debate, although Christina Rees’ two-part essay over the summer about the state of local art galleries certainly caused a stir.

The other positive factor about Glasstire? Many writers get paid.

Oh, yeah, and NPR Music was also one of the showcase finalists.

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  • Hi there,

    Just wanted to clarify that ALL writers on Glasstire get paid, not “many.”

    Also, with regard to our “homliness,”… yeah. We’re currently writing a completely new backend for the site, which will address our c. 2006 navigation and functionality. We haven’t wanted to go on about it, though, because we don’t have a firm ETA. But it’s-a coming.

    And speaking of Christina Rees’ column, she has a new one up this week on the site, in which she throws down the gauntlet to the Dallas media. Check it out.

    Thanks,
    Rainey Knudson

  • Sorry about that line on paychecks. It was supposed to read “Its many writers get paid.” In my several fumblings to get some art and get it to fit into this post, several lines got altered, and that was one. Also, I managed to misspell your name — but I based that on Regina Hackett’s post.