Sep 022010
Arts Fuse Logo The Arts Fuse began as my blog after the untimely end of NPR/WBUR Arts Online. But, as more writers and critics wanted to make their voices heard, the blog became a magazine.

So, I decided to make it a New England focused magazine modeled on other pioneering efforts to cover the news online, such as Pro Publica. We are one of the few publications around to feature professional arts and culture coverage written expressly for the web. And now we look like a real online magazine — a blog no more.

Two significant events this year helped move us in this direction. First, the Arts Fuse became the website of the non-profit corporation Global Narratives. Donations to Global Narratives are tax-deductible. (A special Founding Member introductory offer runs through the end of September.)

Second, we received from the Massachusetts Council on the Humanities the first of what I hope to be many grants for experimenting with arts coverage online. Check out Judicial Review when you have the chance — the next “session” in early November will revolve around Gish Jen’s novel World and Town.

The new site will accommodate our growing pains and then some. As the editor, I feel as if my blog was a jalopy and the new Arts Fuse is a starship. Please feel free to send in comments about the new site to info@artsfuse.org– what do you like?, what could use changing?

Also, whenever you do this kind of major shuffling there is the inevitable wayward link or missing image. We’ll be fixing these as we find them in the days ahead, but if you stumble across one yourself, please drop a note to the webmaster and we’ll take care of it.

Meanwhile, this expansion is just the first of a number of changes to come. I have new writers and ideas aplenty. It is an exciting time to reinvent what it means to make what H. L. Mencken calls “an articulate noise” about arts and culture.

On a personal note, I appreciate the many donations that have come in, a number with encouraging words, some calling the Arts Fuse “an important initiative.” Thanks to the dedicated writers and the talented people behind the scenes — webmaster J. R. Carroll, development director Peter Walsh, and copy editor Alyssa Machado.

For me, this has been one of the happiest experiences of my life — at WBUR I not only enjoyed writing about theater and the arts, but found working with critics, young and old, an invigorating experience. Today, as newspapers and magazines shrink, the definition of serious criticism is in flux. Hand-wringing or giving up is easy: it is time to see this as an opportunity to work on creating new ways of taking the arts seriously. The web encourages conversation — and that is at the heart of meaningful criticism.

I teach full time at Boston University, which means I have only so many hours to dedicate to Art Fuse — but it is quality time at a labor of love.


Bill Marx
Editor, Arts Fuse


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