Friday, May 12, 2006

What to do tomorrow

First of all, drop by the Bethesda Fine Arts Festival and check out the artwork of 130 contemporary artists from around the nation.

Then later that evening trek out to Reston and visit JT Kirkland's solo exhibition "Framed," at the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) in Reston, VA. There will be a reception for the Kirkmeister on Saturday, May 13, 2006 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. And just in time (like the NSA story in USA Today), DCist has a great studio visit by Adrian Parsons to JT's place. Read it here.

If you don't get it...

From the transcripts of the Weekend staff online session this AM (italics are mine):

Potomac, Md.: Can we get more art reviews?

"On Exhibit" usually has one large or two joined reviews, but there are usually multiple movie and multiple theatre reviews ...

So can we have more art reviews in Weekend?

Style section now only does about 24 "Galleries" column a year ... so we're really starving for something to read about our local galleries!

Please ...

Joyce Jones: Michael O'Sullivan (who will most likely join me on this answer) does an exceptional job of covering a very large art scene. Since he began covering art for the section, Weekend has done more features on galleries than ever before. But speaking as the person who has to try to come up with a representative mix of all the entertainment options out there, I have to say that we try to divvy our space based on the popularity (and thus reader interest) in different topics. I listen to reader feedback, like what you're giving me now. And I also look at research into how people in this area spend their leisure time. Movies are a big draw and our coverage reflects that. We try to give both theater/dance and art exhibits a relatively equal shake though we structure the coverage differently. The mini art reviews idea is a good one, but our space constraints make it difficult to add a lengthy feature like that. Though week to week our section varies a little in size, over the course of a year it averages to a set amount of non-ad space each week. That's all we have to work with; we can't just go as big as we want. If that were the case, we would be twice as big each week.

Michael O'Sullivan: I know it can be frustrating. I have a list on my computer of somewhere between 100 and 200 art spaces (commercial galleries, nonprofits, alternative exhibition spaces, universities, embassies). That's not even counting the museums. And don't get me started on Baltimore, which has a very lively art scene, and whose boundaries with the DC art community are very porous. We try to distribute our coverage fairly, but given a limited amount of space--and the fact that I am, despite rumors, merely human--it's going to be impossible to make everyone happy.
So Ms. Jones (the very nice Weekend section editor) clearly states that she tries to divvy our space based on the popularity (and thus reader interest) in different topics.

Translation: We believe that our readers are more interested in movies, theatre, dance, and music than in art.

She also stated that: We try to give both theater/dance and art exhibits a relatively equal shake.

Are we reading the same Weekend section?

Homework assignment for one of the DC ART NEWS readers: Go to your local library, select the last 10 Weekend sections and count the number of:

(a) Theatre reviews and mini-reviews

(b) Dance reviews and mini-reviews

(c) Visual Arts reviews

While it is true that gallery reviews have significantly improved since O'Sullivan took over the "On Exhibit" column, I think that Ms. Jones may be surprised as to how much more of (a) and (b) Weekend does than of (c).

Let the data speak! Email me your homework assignment and I will post them here.

WaPo's Weekend Staff Online

The WaPo's Weekend staffers are online at 11AM today answering questions about Weekend and its coverage.

You can email your question to them here.