As revenue falls at newspapers and local television stations and they eliminate reporters, cultural coverage often is the first casualty. This loss can have dire effects on a community’s arts organizations, which rely on journalists to spread word of their offerings.
With this in mind, the Hewlett Foundation joined the National Endowment for the Arts and other funders this October to sponsor a National Summit on Arts Journalism at the University of Southern California. The daylong gathering explored some of the new forms cultural coverage is taking around the country, and the obstacles these projects face to becoming self-sustaining. From the presented projects, participants voted on the most promising, which received cash awards from $9,500 to $2,000.
The projects, all of which are Internet-based, range across the country and are widely varied in subject matter. But all share a lively spirit of experimentation and optimism that – eventually – cultural coverage will find a way forward in the emerging digital age.
The envelope, please:
First Prize: $9,500 to Glasstire. This Houston-based Web site, named for a suite of works by proto-pop artist Robert Rauschenberg, covers the visual arts, both grand and modest, across the Lone Star State.
Second Prize: $7,000 to FLYP Media. Based in New York City, FLYP Media uses a full range of interactive tools to produce an online magazine that works to preserve the best characteristics of print journalism to cover art, music, politics, and science.
Third Prize: $4,500 to San Francisco Classical Voice. The Web site, which describes itself as “the go-to place for classical music in the Bay Area,” employs experts in music to write about every aspect of the Bay Area’s classical music scene, from recitals to lectures to classes.
In addition to these winners, two finalists each received $2,000. They are Departures, a project of KCET public television in Los Angeles, which produces innovative Web-based, multimedia documentaries about the city; and Flavorpill, a Web-based guide to cultural offerings in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, and London – with more cities on the way.