A blog like Art & Perception is, in some ways, a substitute for the local café. The ability to discuss art with people around the world compensates, at least in part, for the loss of the immediacy of face-to-face contact. But it’s not a complete substitute. Direct interaction is still important for many reasons, and consequently there is a need for ways to facilitate it by letting people know about opportunities to meet each other, to learn, and to see art.
Few of us are so plugged in to our local art scene that we are aware of everything that’s going on in terms of shows, openings, talks, social events, etc. The newspaper may list major events, typically those for which an ardent volunteer or a motivated gallery has written a press release. In the case of my hometown of Bozeman, Montana, there are several places on the web that have listings, but judging from what is there, I suspect they are little known or used. Most of what is happening is invisible to the public. Sometimes that’s desired, though certainly not always.
But more important than the events themselves is the community that could potentially form around them. The past quickly slips into oblivion, and there is no convenient forum for the remembering, discussing, reviewing, proposing that might be engendered.
So I’m wondering, naturally, whether some form of local art blog might improve the situation. A blog has certain advantages as a format. It could have — in fact would require — many authors to spread the task of creating entries. Perhaps the main item on the plus side is it’s interactivity, which could promote the community-building. I think communication and discussion of events is only a starting point. There are plenty of concerns artists have that might be addressed in a blog (or possibly several blogs).
To try out the idea on people here in Bozeman, I figured that it would be good to have something to look at, so I set up a free WordPress blog that I boldly called Art Bozeman. How does it look? Any suggestions?
Whether something like this will fly or not depends on many factors. Ultimately, most important will be the people who get involved. The technology also plays a role through how well it supports what the people want to do. A blog is fairly flexible, but it doesn’t have to be the final answer. I’m only trying to start a ball rolling.
What would you like to see in a local art blog in your town or city? Do you know of any good examples? What do you see as the pluses and pitfalls?