Beginning on January 1, 2017, Sonoran Arts Network (SAN) will undergo a major change. I will be posting articles, interviews, reviews, etc. only when I have time and when the spirit moves me. Why? Sonoran Arts Network has become, in the words of ecologists, “unsustainable.”
When I founded and began publishing SAN in May, 2013, my intention was:
a) to shine light on artists and writers in southern Arizona. My view was and still is that the local media give short-shrift both to visual artists and writers. This assertion is easy to support. I wanted to give visual artists, in particular, a chance to talk about their art, and I wanted to provide frequent reviews of the many excellent art exhibits we have in our area.
b) to cultivate a sense of community among artists in our bioregion. My hope was that individuals would come forward and help the SAN effort by writing for SAN, by contributing financial and promotional support, and in the case of areas outside of Tucson, to act as correspondents and share with us news about artists and art events in their area - Bisbee, Ajo, Benson, Santa Cruz Valley (Green Valley to Nogales), etc. The response to this community-building has been less than I hoped for or anticipated.
This past year has been very challenging for me. I don’t have the financial resources to keep these “community” projects going, especially when there is apparently no community to support them.
It’s not just Sonoran Arts Network. Over a year ago, I founded and worked steadily with other artists this past year on a local, grassroots DIY artist’s group called Heart of Tucson Art only to see it and another artists’ group, Art Trails, abandoned by arts administrators at TPAC/Arts Foundation of Tucson and Southern Arizona. Then these two artists’ groups were looted and fatally undermined by empire-building arts administrators at Southern Arizona Arts and Culture Alliance (SAACA). Thanks to these two arts organizations, Heart of Tucson Art’s days are limited - as are other local, grassroots artists’ groups.
I have lived well below the poverty line since my job in publishing got outsourced to New Delhi, India, and my retirement account was decimated by Wall Street coke addicts. Since I’m not affluent and I don’t have a patron (i.e. husband), all this work and time spent on Sonoran Arts Network has come at great cost, especially financially. I think it’s time for me to turn to projects that will bring in some money. And that is what I will be doing starting today.
I’d been thinking for some time that sustainability for SAN was questionable, but the straw that broke the camel’s back came to me this week in an email. The email said:
“I have subscribed to your newsletter, but you never talk about us down I-19 toward Nogales. We have some great artists down this way. I know we can't promote ourselves in this newsletter, but we do have shows and exhibits here. … Lots of studios, lots of artists, I among them.
It just seems to me that there can be much more "meat" that you can fit into each of your "issues". I am not a writer, nor do I want to be. …I just think that your venue could be so much more.”
First, this person is wrong. I have covered artists in the Santa Cruz Valley. I do agree that Sonoran Arts Network “could be so much more.” However I don’t have the financial resources to make it “so much more.” For the record, the email writer is not a supporter of Sonoran Arts Network, financially or otherwise. It is clear, though, that she does have opinions about how she could be better served by SAN, not how she could help SAN achieve more.
This last presidential election was a disaster. I don’t ever remember going through a presidential election in which I actually feared for the future of the United States. Sorry to say I do now. Just one topic suffices. Our new president-elect claims that climate change is a hoax. It is not a hoax. It is a very, very serious problem – the greatest ever faced by humanity. Under the new administration, a climate denier is said to be the choice for head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Sarah Palin as head of the Interior Department (seriously). If left in the hands of those vultures about to take over the White House, the effects of climate change will lead to enormous suffering, social disruption, waves of migration, the decline of democracy, and the possible extinction of the human species. I can document what I say. I’m pleased to say that physicist Stephen Hawking, and I agree on this matter. I think instead of dealing with snippy Green Valley artists with a personal agenda, I’ll just start working on something more important – climate change - and my own art and my own writings, too Maybe the paint brush and the pen will have some effect.
My deepest gratitude goes out to those of you who have supported me. Thank you for those who bothered to say “thank you” to me for the work I’ve done. Thank you to the Arizona Press Club for the First in Community Arts Criticism that I received from my peers this year. Thank you to those few of you who have contributed money to Sonoran Arts Network. The last time I calculated contributions (checks and PayPay subscriptions), the contributions averaged $76 each month. Please don’t send anymore checks. For those of you who “subscribe” with monthly donations, you can unsubscribe anytime. On January 1, I will unsubscribe you.
I especially want to thank the handful of writers who contributed their writings. I salute especially Diane C. Taylor. I’m pleased that she has been able to leverage her writings (and links) for SAN to get paying gigs elsewhere. Thank you, Diane!!
As I said, the SAN website will still be there (as long as I can still afford the hosting). In the new year I will post an occasional article, interview or review. I will send out the email newsletter to inform you of new website postings. But there will be no monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly “issues.” Starting in January, you’ll see only “2017” on the home page.
A few days ago, a friend sent me an email. He suggested that now it is “best to do as Voltaire in Candide: ‘time now to cultivate your own garden.’”
So I’m off to cultivate my own garden now.
C.J. Shane is the publisher and editor of Sonoran Arts Network. She is an artist and writer. Visit her website at www.cjshane.com to learn more about her.