The rapid decline of newspapers and print publications, due to over-optimistic ideas of revenues colliding head-on with the rise of the Internet and a semi-depression, has been well-documented. But it also hit hard in ways that many couldn’t imagine. As staff and pages were cut, what became palpable was that cultural arts coverage was taking the brunt of the slashing – fewer and fewer writers were available to fill smaller and smaller spaces designated for such coverage.
Several years ago, Artburst was formed to fill in some of those gaps here in South Florida. It would be a new-type of organization with various forms of funding, a media bureau focused on coverage of dance and performance in particular – the cultural disciplines that seemed to be suffering in coverage the most, with an emphasis on local companies and artists – where professional, passionate writers could again write articles, previews and reviews that would be provided to media outlets, free of charge.
Thanks to a founding sponsor in the Knight Foundation and continuing funding from the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, with program support from the Arts & Business Council of Miami, Artburst has been progressing on this mission to the point that, as of the beginning of this year 2013, Artburst provides print coverage, to most major publications in the area, on a weekly basis, with additional, original video productions slated for screens across town, and as of this year, soon-to-be regular radio segments on WLRN. More coverage of music has also been added.
Full disclosure: I know this because I edit Artburst, which also is a website (artburstmiami.com) where all the various stories are archived along with the videos, directory and calendar. I didn’t come up with the concept or found it; that was creative inspiration from Celeste Fraser Delgado, the editorial director. I just know the great content that has been provided by all the contributors because I see it first-hand, those who have worn down their heels and flip-flops and tracked down people from New York to Arizona to cover such recent productions as the phenomenal dance from Montreal-based Marie Chouinard – a work of art on stage; or the world-famous Alvin Ailey Dance Company, now led by Miami native Robert Battle. They also reviewed homegrown gems such as Bistoury Physical Theater, Karen Peterson and her mixed-ability dance troupe, the Afro-Caribbean-influenced dance of the newly formed company from Peter London, and the Florida Grand Opera’s venture into tango.
Just a few of the highlights from the last couple months:
- Interview:“India Suites” creator, Pandit Chitresh Dash
- Interview: Marie Chouinard, Tigertail Productions
- Video: “Pachamama” preview for Afro ConTempo performance, Miami Dance Festival
- Preview: The Creole Choir of Cuba, FUNDArte’s and Miami Light Project’s Global Cuba Fest
- Interview: Peter London, for his Global Dance, Little Haiti Cultural Center
- Review: Pioneer Winter, locally produced performance, Miami Theater Center
- Interview: Subtropics Music Festival
- Video: Karen Peterson and Dancers
- Preview: “Miami Made” at Arsht Center
- Review: Savion Glover
- Preview: “Here & Now Festival,” Miami Light Project
- Preview: BrazzDance
In today’s world stories, videos and audio can and should move fluidly through printed pages, the airwaves, big and small screens, and like here on the Knight Arts pages, online. The point is not the medium. It’s the subject, the talent, the creative spirit that make the mundane electric, the art that makes communities come alive that really needs to be communicated.
To read these stories and more, visit artburstmiami.com.