Because BAMirror has been up and running for a couple of months, Sharon Ball and I thought it was time to look at how it started, how it’s doing and, most importantly, what it can do for you. Last fall, when Sharon and I were planning the arts council’s entrance into the “blogosphere,” we envisioned your blog as an online salon, a place where people who know the arts could express their viewpoints and other people who know and/or care about the arts would be able to respond, to elaborate, even to disagree – politely, of course. The official stated mission: “provide a lively forum for informed, respectful conversation about and commentary on the arts experience in Broome County and Greater Binghamton.”
We chose the name Broome Arts Mirror, because we hoped the blog would reflect, as Sharon put it in her introductory post, “the real depth, breadth, diversity and vibrancy of the arts here in the Southern Tier.” The BAMirror nickname came from our desire to make some noise and have an impact through interviews, previews, reviews, features and commentary.
My job, as editor, primarily is that of a gatekeeper, making sure that the conversation and commentary are indeed “informed and respectful.” All contributions come through me for posting. Most comments can be posted under a “nom de blog.” However, our reviewers are required to be identified by name.
As BCAC members, you probably already are familiar with the background I have just given, and, we hope, you’ve been reading the blog regularly for posts such as:
- what we believe was the only local interview with Terry MacDonald about Roberson’s plans to sell the Decker Mansion;
- reviews of the Vienna Boys Choir concert and Tri-Cities Opera’s fall production;
- an essay on the 10th anniversary of Cooperative Gallery 213 (which appeared on the blog prior to being published in the “Press & Sun-Bulletin”)
- and a discussion of when we clap at a performance – and why.
As you can see, we are trying to fill the gaps in local arts and entertainment coverage, particularly reviews. Our stable of knowledgeable critics is growing (although we could use some more volunteers to review legitimate theater and the visual arts). We also need more contributors in general. A lot of you are reading the blog, but not that many of you are commenting– and, frankly, we’re surprised about that, and we would love to know why.
The News & Information and Events Calendar sections of the arts council’s Web site, www.bcartscouncil.com, welcome your press releases — you know, the basic “Who, What, When and Where” stuff. If you’re planning an event or need a new music director, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Here in the blogosphere, however, the important questions are “Why?” and “How?” If you want to start a conversation about the creative process or seek counsel from fellow artists and performers about coping with the current economy, post a comment at broomeartsmirror.wordpress.com, and let the exchange begin.
This is YOUR blog, one of the many perks of BCAC membership and a key part of the BCAC’s effort to “promote a thriving arts community.” Here are some suggested ways to make the best use of the blog and the BCAC Web site:
- Notice of a gallery opening would go to the Web site, but a few paragraphs from the artist talking about why his art has taken a new direction would go on the blog, accompanied by a photo of one of the new pieces and a link to the artist’s Web site. Gallery goers would then be able to leave comments about the new style.
- The time and place of a concert would go to the Web site. The conductor’s comments about how she chose the program could be posted on the blog, perhaps with a link to a sound byte. Concert goers might leave comments about the performance or perhaps discuss whether Beethoven would have made better use of the soloist’s talents than Brahms.
- Dance class enrollment would go to the Web site. A discussion of how far and how fast to push a promising dancer might develop on the blog.
- And, of course, there’s always our weekly “Monday morning quarterback” query, in which we ask you, “What did you do in the arts over the weekend?” Here’s your chance to talk about that great moment in the second act of the opera, the charming way a local high school staged a classic musical or the most thought-provoking piece of art you saw on First Friday.
In other words, you can take BAMirror in many directions. I’m here to help keep you on course.