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letters to the editor

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ART ATTACK

Dear Charles and Brian, Upon my arrival to Winston-Salem in 2008, I took a scan of the media landscape available for cultural discourse and quickly identified YES! Weekly as a staple. Your weekly demonstrated a commitment to arts and culture at all levels, and in doing so, occupied an obvious need for not only the arts community, but those looking for access points into it. You provide Triad readers with the raw, socially and culturally aware publication that every city so desperately needs to keep itself vital and connected. I immediately wanted SECCA and YES! Weekly to become better friends, and have greatly appreciated the coverage that writers such as Amy Kingsley, Keith Barber and Madelyn Greco have provided for our programs. It’s for these reasons above that I was so disappointed and saddened to hear that Foxy Moxy’s First Fridays column in YES! Weekly had been discontinued. I have come to depend on her columns to find out what is going on in the downtown gallery networks of Winston-Salem and Greensboro, and the absence of her articles creates a yawning void that will not be easily filled. I speak for many members of the arts and cultural community when I say that we pick up copies of YES! Weekly to turn immediately to the Visions column and the arts coverage that surrounds it. No other publication provides such an up-to-date and consistent perspective, and this helped cultivate a broader engagement with the gallery scene. With a fragile economy many galleries have been forced to cut their marketing dollars to keep programming alive. These galleries depend on the publicity that Moxy provides — turning First Fridays into lively events that fuel the artistic health of the Triad. To maintain her articles through this downturn is an essential step in keeping galleries healthy and allowing them to regain footholds where money can return to publicity expenditures. You may not realize just how important her articles are to this growing community, and I hope this letter contributes to the deserved outrcry for a major loss in the cultural landscape. We look to YES! Weekly for the rare combination of a media outlet with a strong social conscience. You’ve given a public voice to so many communities that need it, and have established substantial journalistic credibility in doing so.

Please continue on that path and bring back the First Friday columns. Thank you, Steven Matijcio, Winston-Salem The author is Curator of Contemporary Art at Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem.

Dear Charles, I have been so proud of the unfolding of downtown Greensboro over the past few years. The streets have come alive with such nice diversity of people, restaurants and night spots. The Gallery Hop, in particular, has gained much ground thanks to the local media coverage and word-of-mouth promotion. Our community artists really need the support of all of us and I hope the rumor that is floating around is just a rumor, and that you will continue to do community outreach on the First Friday events. We have come too far to backslide at this juncture. We rely on YES! Weekly to keep us current about GSO arts and entertainment. Your publication has always been a catalyst in the promotion of the arts and I hope that you will continue for a long time to come. Downtown is key to a vibrant city. Thanks for your attention. Susan Sassmann, Greensboro

Dear Editor I am a member of the cooperative art gallery, Artworks Gallery, in Winston- Salem. It seems that YES! Weekly is not very interested in covering visual arts in our area, either in articles or the calendar in the future. Is YES! Weekly going to have to change its mission as stated in the first page: ”…as well as to providing the most comprehensive entertainment and arts coverage in the Triad”? The artists and their supporters who attend Gallery Hops, etc. will have one less information source for our exhibits if this is true. We hope you will reconsider! Thank you, Alix Hitchcock, Winston-Salem

Dear Messrs. Womack and Clarey: I was just informed that your paper may be discontinuing its monthly coverage of the Gallery Hop events in downtown Winston-Salem and Greensboro. This is very disappointing news to me, as I’m sure it is to all of the local artists who participate in these events.

Although I am certainly not a full-time artist, I have invested considerable resources, both in terms of personal time and funds, in trying to help one of these galleries make a go of it in these difficult times. Believe me, these artists need all of the help that they can get, and that once-a-month coverage in your paper makes a big difference in the attendance numbers that we see on Gallery Hop nights. I enjoy reading your paper each week, as do thousands of other residents in the Triad. We have all been affected by the current economic climate and are having to cut costs, but I would strongly encourage you to not give up on the local arts community in order to gain the advertising revenue generated once a month for that part of a page of coverage. And these are indeed local artists… we’re not talking about products that are produced in China, but real, live local residents — your friends and neighbors. And trust me, they need all of the support they can get from the community. Please take a moment to reconsider this decision. Sincerely, Jeff Broughton

Editor replies: While it is true that YES! Weekly has discontinued the monthly Art Hop column by Madelyn Greco, AKA Foxy Moxy, we have in no way reduced our coverage and support of the arts. As we did last month, we will compile every gallery press release for the First Friday gallery hops in both Greensboro and Winston- Salem and present the information as a comprehensive list — though, granted, it will be without Foxy’s colorful commentary. And as always, we will continue to support every First Friday effort with photos and updates from the events themselves. The decision actually gives us more resources to cover the arts scene in the Triad, which we have been doing with gusto since our inception in January 2005. YES! Weekly has much love for art and artists, and they remain a large part of our mandate. In fact YES! Weekly can proudly announce today that we have inked a deal to be the title sponsor for the 4th biennial ARTSfest in historic West End which takes place Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009 in Winston-Salem.

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