Arts event opportunities are multiple and frequent in southern Arizona. Sonoran Arts Network only covers a small percentage of art openings and performances, not to mention opportunities to talk with artists about their works. I’m always searching for contributors interested in arts journalism in the hopes that our coverage will become more comprehensive.
Recently, I decided to approach people might be interested in arts journalism. Who would that be? Journalism students! This led me to the University of Arizona’s School of Journalism. My email to faculty members resulted in a very productive exchange with Joe Sharkey who teaches in the UArizona Journalism School. Joe Sharkey is a very experienced journalist who had a 45 year career as with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times before relocating to Tucson with his wife, Nancy Sharkey. She also teaches journalism at the UofA after a 25 year career with the New York Times. Sharkey currently writes for Travel.Buzz, and he is the author of five books.
Sharkey is currently teaching a class in review writing. His students are required to write reviews on a number of topics, including arts. He recently introduced me to one of his students, Maya Patterson. Her excellent review of Arizona Repertory Theatre’s new production of Cabaret appears in this issue of Sonoran Arts Network. Welcome to Maya Patterson and we hope to read more of your reviews!! We also hope to hear from more journalism students
Joe Sharkey says of his experience teaching journalism. “I teach at the J School because I love connecting with smart, eager-to-learn young people, and especially seeing them ‘get it’ that journalism at its best is driven by intense curiosity and the ability to write well and report accurately.”
Sharkey also made these comments about Sonoran Arts Network. “I'm so pleased that the Sonoran Arts Network is on the scene, and I sincerely hope it can grow, expand and prosper. A vibrant city of 500,000 like Tucson not only deserves but needs quality local media.” Many, many thanks to Joe Sharkey!!
That brings me to the issue of local media coverage of the fall Open Studios Tours. We know that the tour season is a very important and newsworthy event for the visual arts community and arts lovers in Tucson. For the first time, Tucson has three separate Open Studios tours in different parts of Tucson on different weekends. To learn more about these tours, go to our Open Studios Tour page HERE>. Also past postings on this Editor’s Page will tell you more about how this three-tour event emerged and developed starting in early August.
The Arizona Daily Star devoted a grand total of one story about the three Open Studios in the October 22 Caliente arts section. The story was 5” in length and had no accompanying photos. In the same issue of Caliente, we were confronted with a 45” story about homecomings at the University of Arizona accompanied by 10 photos. This extensive coverage wasn’t enough for Star editors because two days later, yet another story on homecomings appeared in the news section of the Star. I’m still trying to figure out why a story on UA homecomings appeared in the arts section….unless, of course, one considers “tailgating” an art. Sigh.
In general the Star puts far more emphasis on the performing arts in its coverage of the arts. Theater reviews are quite frequent, as are news stories about upcoming musical performances and musicians, as well as book authors. Visual arts are relatively ignored compared to other art forms.
The Tucson Weekly’s coverage of theater and music is also extensive compared to visual arts I was unable to find any coverage at all of the three Open Studios Tours in the Weekly. However we give credit to the Weekly for some coverage of visual arts, thanks mainly to Margaret Regan. She has written many very fine news stories and reviews of visual arts exhibits over the years. Thank you, Margaret!
A shout-out goes now to KXCI Radio in Tucson. I received the following email from KXCI staff member Amanda Shauger. “KXCI recently aired 56 public service announcements (also known as PSAs) from October 16th thru October 23rd to let people know about Open Studio Tour Season.” Thanks KXCI!!!
Obviously Sonoran Arts Network is filling a gap here when it comes to covering visual arts. You’ll see news about visual arts in our bioregion on the Sonoran Arts Network webpages when you won’t see it anywhere else. Please support what we’re doing by telling your friends about us, forwarding the SAN email newsletter, and considering extending our arts coverage by contributing your own writings on the arts. We can always use any extra dollars you have on hand.
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.