As someone in the business of gathering information and passing it on to the public, and I hope doing a few other things, I’m sensitive to lousy sources of information.
You paid how much for this web site?
Maybe no one would ever do something stupid like look at the city of
Theaters included are the Actor’s Theatre of South Carolina which decamped to Charleston a decade ago. (That's AT director Clarence Felder, right, assuring a young actor she won't have to move to Columbia.)
If you click on the S.C. Shakespeare Company you will be spirited to a site for Scholarship, Criticism and Performance of the works of William Shakespeare” and a review of “Romeo and Juliet” in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Wish I had gotten that assignment.)
You’ll also learn that the Historic Columbia Foundation is a music and dance organization. Does the guy at the left look familiar. He shouldn't. Nicholas Smith hasn't been conductor of the S.C. Philharmonic for two years, but the city doesn't know that. They must have missed all those banners lining Gervais Street bearing the image of Morihiko Nakahara, who just completed his first year as music director. The biggest classical-music making organization in the city – the
Trustus Theatre, according to the city, is celebrating its tenth anniversary. Math has never been my strong point, but the company was founded in 1985, which I believe makes it more than 10 years old.
This is a web site that was chosen late last year when the city mistakenly had two city web sites created at a cost of about $30,000.The city has known about the problems since February. The city public relations office said at that time they'd try to fix it. What is looks like now is the product of a city that doesn't know and doesn't care.
The Culture Council or Arts Fund or Get Cultured
If the city isn’t up to date, maybe that’s because neither is the Cultural Council of Richland and
Just what art groups exist in
If you do make it to the site, you'll find a list of “affiliates.” From what I understand anyone or any group that asks to be made an affiliate will be made one. It has nothing to do with getting funding from the council.
“Affiliates” include the Columbia Museum of Art, The Columbia City Ballet, several school districts, the Dale Mastro School of Art, S.C. Export, Elite Framing, The Riverbanks Mozart Festival (you ever heard of it?), Gallery 701 (but not the 701 Center for Contemporary Art) and the USC Office of Media Relations that has a hyperlink that takes you directly to USC athletics. There's no listing for the USC music school, but is one for the marching bands. At least two galleries and two theater companies that have been out of business for years are on the list.
The main main item under "News" is a holiday market by an art guild that took place in November - I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume November 2008.
The Council isn’t even very good at promoting its own events. This is the total of what its website said about “Palette to Palate” - Mini art festivals with tasty food for the palate and local art created from a palette in
Cultural Council Andrew Witt says a new site will be up by October. Regarding what groups are on the site, he said non-art groups are on the site because the council is tied to economic development and that it's up to the arts groups to notify the council they exist.
He suggests Carolina Culture write something asking artists and arts groups to submit information. Consider it done. But consider me baffled that this is the way the primary cultural organization in the Midlands gathers information about the groups it is supposed to serve.
The worst-looking award
The worst-looking award
The most embarrassing arts web site belongs to the
How not to attract students
Another university site that ranks high on the low scale is for the department of art website. This is the sort of place students, parents, those interested in the visual arts, usually go to get a feel for what the place is like – the feel you get is it is a mess. Click on the department gallery and you get an odd new window. There’s no listing of events taking place
Among the highlighted events on the main page you find information about kids art classes which ended two months ago, a faculty member’s film screening which took place two years ago, a notice of the annual art auction held in April. Just one click away you can learn who won the Media Festival Awards in 2007 and the atelier which hasn’t existed for more than a year. I’d bet a lot of people would like to know about these things going on with art department faculty members: Laura Kissel in China working on a movie; Virginia Scotchie teaching and lecturing in Australia and New Zealand; Sara Schneckloth showing in California and Texas and just idd residency in Georgia; Dawn Hunter an artist-in-residence at the Vermont Studio Center; David Voros, Bob Lyon and their students had a local show recently.
The department also has trouble adding new faculty members to the site or removing those who quit or retired several years ago. You can find a picture of art historian Laura Voight on the site (right) - she left the department more than a year ago.
Department chair Cynthia Colbert says the department doesn't have the person on the money to do anything with the site. Maybe not, but the art departments at every other college in the state, as well as various departments all over the university, seem to be able to do this.