Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Arts & Culture Forum Roundup

On Friday, July 9th, Warwick's hosted a community Arts and Culture Forum to discuss the future of print media and critical journalism in San Diego.  The series of layoffs at the Union-Tribune in the last several weeks - especially that of Bob Pincus, long-time art critic and Books editor - proved to be the catalyst for the forum and prompted many concerned citizens to turn out to hear what the panel had to say on the subject.  Moderated by local author & psychologist, Dr. Richard Farson, the panel for the forum featured five prominent figures in the San Diego arts, culture, and book scene:  Jeff Light, editor of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Robert Pincus, former art critic and books editor at the U-T, Hugh Davies, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Sandra Dijkstra, founder & president of Dijkstra Literary Agency, and Angela Carone, Arts & Culture Producer at KPBS.  Each panel member was given the opportunity to address the following question posed by Dr. Farson:  What can we do, as a community, to ensure that the Arts, Culture, and Books are well represented in San Diego?

The issue seems to be twofold: one portion of the panel (and the audience) wants to see order restored, Bob Pincus returned to his desk at the U-T, and a continuation of fulltime arts coverage in the daily paper.  This sentiment was echoed by Sandy Dijkstra, Hugh Davies, and Bob Pincus especially.  Generally, this portion of the panel were strong proponents of print media maintaining a firm place in the community, rather than having more of a web-based critical presence.  Hugh Davies: "The prospect of having the anarchy of a blog determining what is great art and what is hype is very troublesome."  Angela Carone  (and, to some degree, Jeff Light) was more of the mind that online critical journalism needs to be embraced as a viable source of information.  "I think the future of arts journalism is online. The time for San Diego to strike is now."

Where do you stand, San Diego?  Is there a place for online arts criticism?  Or should we make every attempt to maintain the print media version?  As Sandy Dijkstra opined, San Diego is "either in or we're out" of the arts conversation.  Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments field of this post - we'd love to hear what you have to say.

The full video of the forum can be seen on the Warwick's Facebook page, in 20 minute installments.

For more info on the issue, check out some of the following resources:

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