Emory to Host “The Future of Arts Criticism and the Role of the Academy”

 Friday, March 19 and Saturday, March 20, 2010.

By Ashley Easton

Ever wonder how our shifting avenues for obtaining news, information and entertainment are effecting the art world? Look out this Friday for the kick-off of what promises to be an engaging event for the Atlanta arts community. Speeches, panels and discussion during this two day symposium will cover “changes in arts coverage and print journalism, along with the burgeoning of blogs, social media, and unmediated online arts criticism,” according to Emory’s event webpage.

Leslie Taylor, the Executive Director for the Emory College Center for Creativity & Arts says that the symposium came about through faculty discussion amongst the creative and performing arts departments at Emory as well as the Journalism program. The discussion was sparked largely by the news of various newspapers letting go of most, if not all of their art critics. “We were very concerned about how coverage and informed discussion of the arts would continue,” Taylor said.

Film critic and journalist A.O. Scott will present the keynote speech at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Michael C. Carlos Museum. Scott joined the New York Times ten years ago, where he writes movie reviews and articles and also contributes to the book review, magazine and week in review sections.

Saturday’s events include an overview of the state of arts criticism and coverage, presented by Nicole Jones and Sally Corbett, and a panel further discussing the topic with with local arts figures Mark Bauerlein, Blake Beckham, Susan Booth, and Cinqué Hicks. Lunch will be followed with moderated table discussions.

Taylor believes that the symposium should be of interest to a wide variety of people involved with the arts. “I believe that we have tailored the event to be of value for artists, critics, marketing professionals and academics. We have quite a varied mix of attendees signed up for Saturday’s event,” she said. “The five panelists that will kick off the morning session will represent a wide range of arts disciplines and professions, from individual artist, to artistic director of a large organization, to a former Director of Office of Research and Analysis, at the National Endowment for the Arts.”

Ms. Taylor adds that, “Out of this gathering we plan to pull together a working consortium that will pick up again on this issue over the summer and into the fall—ideally coming up with concrete ideas and suggestions for continuing quality arts coverage in the southeast that might serve as a model for other areas of the states.”

The event is sponsored by Emory College Center for Creativity & Arts and Charles Loridans Foundation with support form the Hightower Fund, the Michael C. Carlos Museum, and Public Broadcasting Atlanta.

Visit Emory’s website for more information regarding registration, parking and other details,

Ashley Easton is a writer living in Atlanta.

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