Wayne Abercrombie: Paper should not neglect the arts

  • Aurora Kim, 11, left, and Bess King-Pollet, 11, who are students at Academy of Ballet Arts in Hadley, rehearse, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020 in a common area at Village Hill in Northampton.

Published: 9/21/2020 10:04:49 AM

The Gazette is a local treasure, every issue is read thoroughly in our home, and we have supported it in this ongoing crisis with contributions beyond our many years of subscribing. We will continue to do so, but I do feel the need to take issue with your neglect of the arts.

Music — and all of the arts — are important parts of the life of the whole area that the Gazette serves. But one would not get that impression from reading it, especially since April. One looks in vain through the paper to get a sense of how the many community-based arts organizations (or school arts programs) are faring, how they have been impacted, or how they are planning for the future.

Those who make up these organizations and their supporters and consumers are, for the majority of the time, nonentities for you. Instead, to get more than a mere listing, arts groups — including the professional-level university and college performing groups and the Fine Arts Center series have to pay you to advertise, and even then get little, if any follow-up coverage.

Quite the opposite is the situation for sports items of any kind, about anyone at any level of many types. In recent days, the paper featured a second long speculative article in successive issues about how a certain professional player might work out. This kind of fluff article is not unusual, nor are the stock pictures that juice them up.

Any talk of how folks love to read about sports would need to be within a discussion of how newspapers have primed that interest or why. Neither that player and his team, or the many other pros and their teams who get constant adoring coverage, contribute the slightest to our community beyond entertainment.

That constant adoring coverage amounts to free advertising to organizations that are rolling in money, and could pay you well for advertising and never miss any of it. By all means, continue to highlight our local athletes and school sports programs, but do so for local arts organizations and figures, as well.

There is plenty here of interest. Or perhaps you might initiate a discussion in the community about your choices of what is important to cover. Music and all of the arts can entertain and heal, and those who make art deserve to be recognized as valid parts of the community our “paper of record” covers.

Wayne Abercrombie


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