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This blog will be a resource for recording thoughts, ideas, schemes, and anything else that develops on the way to forming a unified voice and center for the Charleston arts community. Everything presented here is subject to change.

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There will be a designated set of authors who will be responsible for posting topics for discussion, to begin with anyone may comment on a discussion topic or suggest a new post but only the authors may post new topics (this is mostly to avoid spamming and over posting). In time this can develop into an online wiki or discussion board style web page of information and ideas, but at the moment a blog is the most direct, immediate and open way to track the development of the ideas being developed. if you have a suggestion or want to post please send email to

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Jeffrey Day on Crowded Calendars & Much Needed Conversations

I frequently read the arts blog Carolina Culture by Jeffrey Day who has been reporting on the arts in Columbia, and across the state of South Carolina, for some 20 years. This morning I came across this posting, which echos many of the frustrations, ideas and passions of the Charleston arts community. One of the goals of the Charleston Arts Coalition is to help coalesce all the exciting events happening in our community, for the betterment of all. Charleston Culture was born from the need for a comprehensive, all-inclusive calendar of the many events going on in the Holy City. Please make sure you are utilizing this amazing, totally free & fantastic tool to help promote yourself, your art, your causes.
And check out Jeffrey's blog too!

From Carolina Culture by Jeffrey Day:
When will artists and arts groups start talking to one another?

At the end of my rope a few weeks ago I wrote on Facebook: Why the hell is everything going on at the same time?! (Actually I wrote: I've only been covering the arts in Columbia for 20 years, so maybe I just need a little more time to figure this out: why does everyone schedule everything at the same time on the same day?)

Several people pointed out that this is the sign of a healthy arts environment.
I agree to a point, but we have a small arts audience that’s already fragmented. Instead of it getting more broken up and losing the little clout it has, I’d like to more coming together.

A few recent examples of too much at once:
A panel discussion about the State Art Collection and a reception for a show drawn from that collection as well as two art shows on Main Street. I had to miss the chamber music concert that night.
Another evening included an artists’ panel, an art show opening, a poetry reading and another opening.
Then there was the Friday and Saturday of an opera, a dance performance and a play - something that couldn’t actually be done.

There’s a good, or maybe bad, case study Thursday.
That evening Main Street will be awash with seven art shows and some music and dance. At the same time Compass 5 in Cayce opens an art show and one more is happening at if Art Gallery. The Midlands Clay Art Society is holding an event at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios too. There’s even an overlap in the artists showing at Frame of Mind on Main and Compass 5. And yesterday (Monday) I learned there's another art and design event, this one through the Columbia Design League, going on at the same time as well.

Why doesn't everyone just stand in a circle with guns drawn like at the end of "Reservoir Dogs"?

Some people will make it to more than one of these places, but with all that Main Street activity, I doubt there will be many. I also truly doubt those who start on Main Street will ever make it over the river and down State Street or vice versa. I haven’t yet figured out how I’m going to do it - and I want to. (One should keep in mind that these are art shows so you can see them some other time, but I know how that goes.)

The time is past for arts groups, art businesses and artists to start talking to one another and coordinating events for everyone’s benefits. We’re never going to avoid all scheduling conflicts, but we can do better.

(One thing that came up on the Facebook discussion was the need for a comprehensive calendar, but I don’t know anyone who has the time, money or inclination to take this on and artists and arts groups don’t submit information to the calendars the already exist.)

Let’s start with something manageable.

How about staggering activities and have each venue let visitors know what’s going on at other places the same night? That would turn a crowded calendar into something positive.
Looking long-range, how about a gallery association like those in other cities?

“Too much going on at once” is mostly my problem; it’s my job to go to as much as I can and I get pretty obsessive about it. Call me idealistic, but I want to see you at everything too.

(Look for more commentary in the coming weeks about this and related issues such as cross-discipline programming and the shortcomings of social networking sites in spreading the word. And please share your ideas in the comments section below.)

at 1:46 AM Posted by Carolina Culture by Jeffrey Day 20 comments