March 19, 2009

Bouncing blogger Regina Hackett

Regina Hackett, the longtime art critic at the Seattle P-I, which recently laid off all but twenty staffers and ceased publishing a print edition, has joined Lee Rosenbaum (CultureGrrl) over at Arts Journal, the daily digest of arts news and commentary. Hackett and Arts Journal's editor Douglas McLennan used to work together when he was an arts writer for the P-I, so moving to Arts Journal was a no-brainer for Hackett.

According to Hackett, whom I spoke with yesterday from my faculty office in dreary Willimantic, Connecticut, blogging changed her life. “I used to get up in the morning knowing that no one cared what I wrote, very few people read it--and I was fine with that. I didn’t see the big picture. I was too busy crafting my little sentences to lift my head and look around me. When I started writing the blog, I realized I could have an impact. There was an immediate connection with a larger audience that you don’t have when you work at a regional newspaper.”

And Hackett says she won’t miss the click-counting mentality at the P-I, where Art To Go astounded the newspaper's suits by garnering over 60,000 hits a month. No more stories about American Idol and other pop culture stat bait. Her new blog, dubbed Another Bouncing Ball from a line in Delmore Schwartz's poem "The Ballad of the Children of the Czar," will concentrate on more in-depth reviews, with plenty of images. She looks forward to finding a larger audience for Northwest artists, and joining the larger art dialog on occasion. Naturally, I wondered how Arts Journal pays the bloggers."Well," she paused. "They’ve just started putting ads on the blogs. That should lead to some revenues…although not enough, according to CultureGrrl."

Hackett’s modest severance package will keep her afloat for the time being while she looks for other revenue sources. Unlike other P-I staffers who were devastated by the layoffs, Hackett is electrified about the future, primarily because she sees so much potential in the evolving blog format. For regional art criticism, Hackett believes that traditional newspapers are useless, but blogging and other online formats offer new opportunities to engage a wider audience, promote artists and help regional arts organizations. "Arts Journal is moving in the direction of online regional arts coverage, and it's going to be really big. Lots of advertising." Now that daily print newspapers are dying, Hackett is sure it’s just a matter of time before advertisers turn to blogs and other online publications to promote their products and services.

In addition to the blog, book projects are underway. Hunting Requires Optimism (titled after a Vanessa Renwick installation) examines contemporary landscape in the Northwest, and another is about the work Jacob Lawrence produced after he moved to Seattle in 1970. “I’ve got about ten more years, give or take, to do some interesting work,” Hackett told me. “I want to make them count."

7 comments:

Hurray for Regina. I'm also excited at the prospect of her audience for Northwest art (and that she will keep writing)!

Idea: since new areas are expanding for reviewing artists' work and writing about artists, why not review artwork that's online, not just art in shows at galleries? There are a lot of artists who can not get into galleries, and a great many are women, with art "history".

It also opens up ways of interviewing artists about our work, also.

Sandra,

Good idea. No reason you shouldn't do it yourself. Anyone can be a reviewer.

Sharon

Sharon, Thank you. My name is SANDA.
Your comment reminds me of Walt Whitman writing his own reviews for "Leaves of Grass". I am an artist.

Sanda,
Yes, I'm an artist, too, as are many bloggers and reviewers. Read my post at ART:21 about artists who pitch in and contribute beyond their own studio practice: http://blog.art21.org/author/sharon-butler/

In oother words, ask not what everyone else can do for you and your career, ask what you can do for the art community.

--Sharon

Sharon, Good point. I have been running the Disabled Artists' Network since April, 1985 Please see Artist Statement on my webpages of art www.artistlightbox.com/sandaaronson)

I have been keeping my art career going as can, since becoming disabled by illness. Art is problem solving, as well as an itch that must be scratched.

It has required me, and others, to be creative in finding nontraditional ways of getting our work seen, hence my original idea posted above in my first comment. I, like many others, am "outside" the traditional loop. I became ill half way through my career. I was involved in the feminist art movement before I became disabled by CFS/ME, so I know art from a couple of viewpoints, at least.

When I said that many of us have "history", but are not in galleries, I was speaking from over four decades of art career.
(I enjoy the exchange of comments.)

the link to the amazon thing is weird because it's not a page that lists terms. this one might be better.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/html-forms-controller/Digital_Periodicals_Sign-up

thanks for being so on this, sharon!

To advertise on TWO COATS OF PAINT via Nectar Ads, click HERE.