Become a member of ArtsWatch!

Last month, Oregon ArtsWatch completed its first year in operation. Hey, that birthday sneaked up on us!

Looking over the records deep in the ArtsWatch archives, we see that we averaged about a post a day at the website and quite a bit more than that our Facebook page. We recorded some podcasts (most recently, James McQuillen’s two-part interview with Elaine Calder, the Oregon Symphony’s outgoing President). We started a newsletter. We held a special event. We formed a board of directors, incorporated as a nonprofit and applied for 501(c)(3) status with the IRS. And we partnered with 11 arts groups to help us start finding our audience. Maybe you are coming to us today via a link from one of them.

But mostly, we’ve spent this year learning the basics, because none of the small group of us at the center of the project in the beginning knew how to do all of that stuff before we started. Several of us were refugees from print journalism, including yours truly, where little things like sound editing weren’t part of the required course!

We didn’t have much money to work with. Most of our money came from a $25,000 Knight Foundation grant administered by J-Lab, though some of our arts partners and other friends were very helpful, too. But before we asked YOU for money, wanted to show you some of what we could do and talk about what we were thinking about for the future.

Now, we’re ready to ask you to help.

ArtsWatch is a nonprofit, because we think journalism in general and the kind of cultural journalism we hope to continue doing here is in the public interest. We think that quality journalism projects—ones that celebrate such old-style values as transparency, openness and continue while improving and deepening the work based on those values—will exist only if the “public” supports them. That means ArtsWatch. And in return, we must dedicate ourselves to giving you better and more useful descriptions of the culture we share—news, reviews, commentary, essays, profiles, the works— and providing forums of various kinds where you can join in, including writing or recording some of those descriptions yourselves.

We have big plans ahead for talking about the arts in the state and how they connect to the larger culture, and realizing those plans will require resources: mostly paying and helping arts journalists of various interests, media, backgrounds and experience levels to do their work, better and better as time goes on.

We know won’t be able to do it without your help and the help of lots of other people. Why should you become a member of Oregon ArtsWatch or support us in other ways? We’ll be making that case here for the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

But, hey, what if you already know those arguments are going to be and you’ve seen enough to want to help? Just push the subscribe button now! Our membership/subscriptions start at $35…


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