The Fuse Turns Nine: Summer Appeal — Teaching Arts Criticism to a New Generation

The Arts Fuse is planning a new initiative: the Arts Critic Mentorship Program and celebrates turning nine!


By Bill Marx

Last week, one of my Arts Fuse critics sent me a link to an entry on the blog of the New Yorker classical music critic, Alex Ross. He wrote about plans (revealed in a memo from the newspaper’s editor to the staff) to cut classical music criticism in our own hometown paper, The Boston Globe. “I’d like to join many voices in begging the Globe to reconsider what looks to be a major reduction in review coverage,” he writes. “…[O]ne or two critics cannot cover the entire teeming Boston scene, a bastion of music both early and new.”

Regular Arts Fuse readers will know I have been beating this particular drum for decades: faced with declining readership and advertising revenues the Globe, along with the rest of Boston’s traditional media, has been cutting-back on serious arts criticism and cultural coverage for years. The lion’s share of the coverage that remains goes to a handful of the largest, richest arts organizations. Without serious criticism that features 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.

The Arts Fuse is dedicated to preserving substantial critical coverage of the arts. As a reaction to the current climate, we are developing a response to the reduction in reviewers — the Arts Critic Mentorship Program. As part of this new initiative, our senior critics will be paired with high school students interested in writing about the arts and will train the youth to look, listen, think critically while writing clearly, and ultimately connect an audience with the arts in their own community. The focus is to plant seeds in a new, culturally diverse group of budding writers so that the skills of our veterans will be passed on.

Develping this exciting new program is part of our annual summer appeal, and I am therefore asking for your support this month. Our goal is to raise $5,000. If everyone who reads this were to donate $25, we would exceed this request and be in a financially healthy position. So, in this annual appeal, which marks the magazine’s 9th birthday, I am asking you to contribute to help make this program a reality.

We will keep you up to date on this program as it builds over the summer and into the fall. In the meantime, please help celebrate our 9th birthday by clicking on one of the donation buttons below (secure sites PayPal and Razoo) and making your tax deducible contribution today. Any donations $25 and 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 support a meaningful conversation about the arts public.

Here’s to a summer filled with art enjoyment and appreciation.

To contribute to the Arts Fuse via PayPal:


To contribute to the Arts Fuse via Razoo:

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.

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