THE ARTS FUSE TURNS TEN! Help sustain substantial critical coverage of the arts.
By Bill Marx
TEN YEARS of The Arts Fuse! Over four thousand reviews, commentaries, and features on arts and culture written by over 60 writers, ranging from veteran critics for The Boston Globe and the Boston Phoenix as well as fledgling reviewers. I have edited all of these articles and feel an enormous amount of pride at their high level of quality — and I grateful to have been given the resources to persevere at what I consider to be an essential cultural task. Thanks to the writers, artists, donors, and readers who have have so generously supported this magazine’s distinctive vision of arts coverage. Precious few independent online publications make it to double digits. Next stop, Bar Mitzvah!
Why have I spent ten years of my life working on The Arts Fuse? Because arts criticism is not going to disappear on my watch.
We pay homage to the arts when we carefully articulate what we care for, what we don’t care for, and give reasons. There is no cookie-cutter approach; criticism is far too idiosyncratic a craft. But, as in the arts, there is a a tradition of excellence in criticism. Unfortunately, independent serious arts coverage is rapidly vanishing in the mainstream media, which is pushing arts reviewing aside or turning it into a form of publicity.
Criticism is a matter of cultural health. It is not just about selling tickets.
Without serious criticism that explores their strengths, weaknesses, and contributions to the civic cultural ecology, smaller, newer organizations become invisible. When that happens, they fail to gain an audience. And without an audience, they fold, further weakening the entire ecosystem.
The Arts Fuse is committed to fighting the impoverishment of arts criticism and cultural coverage.
Regular Arts Fuse readers will know that I have argued that criticism nurtures curiosity about the arts for decades. This week, the fruits of the Arts Fuse Mentorship program, generously supported our donors and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, were posted on the magazine. Senior critics were paired with high school students interested in reviewing the arts; together, they produced a critique. The students loved the experience. One wrote it was “a great experiential learning opportunity that also gave me taste of what it could be like to be a professional art critic.”
The Arts Fuse, through its Mentorship Program as well as the dozens of arts reviews and features it posts each month, is dedicated to preserving substantial critical coverage of the arts.
We need your support to keep up the Arts Fuse Mentorship program, as well as to continue to post reviews and features of arts performances that the mainstream media overlook. I am therefore asking for you to donate this month. Our goal is to raise $5,000. If everyone who reads this were to give $25, we would exceed this request and be in a financially vigorous position. So, in this annual appeal, which marks the magazine’s 10th birthday. I am asking you to contribute to help keep the great reviews, commentaries, and features on the arts coming.
Please help celebrate our anniversary by clicking on one of the donation buttons below (secure sites PayPal and Razoo) and making your tax deducible contribution today. Any donations of $500 or above will be listed (with permission) on the upcoming Infuser page of the magazine. It will be our way of thanking you — and making your interest in a meaningful conversation about the arts — public.
Here’s to a summer filled with art enjoyment and appreciation.
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To mail a donation, please make out your check out to Global Narratives, Inc. and send it to:
The Arts Fuse
P.O. Box 441283
Somerville, MA 02144
Please include your email and snail mail address with your check.
Bill Marx is the editor-in-chief of The Arts Fuse. For over three decades, he has written about arts and culture for print, broadcast, and online. He has regularly reviewed theater for National Public Radio Station WBUR and The Boston Globe. He created and edited WBUR Online Arts, a cultural webzine that in 2004 won an Online Journalism Award for Specialty Journalism. In 2007 he created The Arts Fuse, an online magazine dedicated to covering arts and culture in Boston and throughout New England.