Sunday, November 09, 2008

Arts Weekend Press Coverage

In our book, the Greater Gulf Coast Arts Festival is the most enjoyable, relaxing, civilized multi-day outdoor event of the year in Pensacola. It's a complex event, too, yet so well managed that it comes off, year after year, without a visible misstep.

There's something for nearly everyone -- wet art ... crafts... jewelry... live music from classical to jazz to big band to zydeco to you- name- it ... around-the-clock stage performances on two outdoor stages... artist demonstrations ... an always-engaging children's art exhibition from local schools... a very inventive and well run children's activity area... a terrific food court... and even, of late, beer, wine and booze booths.

At the center of things is a juried art and crafts show. Generally, the art is good and the crafts are top-flight. Some 226 or so artists this year have their creations on display. (In another good move, the very capable folk who run GGCAF provide links to the artists' web sites here.)

A couple of hundred thousand visitors apparently agree with us. So, it's puzzling that the PNJ would devote barely 255 words to the event in today's Sunday dead tree edition. We've seen the paper give triple that amount of attention to a one hour bathtub race at Quietwater Beach.

On-line, the news coverage is equally disappointing. Sean Dugas, who's apparently been hired to bridge the gap for the News Journal between newsprint and video, seems like a guy we'd enjoy spending an evening with over beer and brats.

But one crummy 3 1/2 minute video with bad audio of interviews with an uninvited squatter sketch artist, a painter, a glass artist, and a motorcycle -- plus an abrupt cut-off?

And no interview with Isabel María Sola Márquez, the featured guest artist from Seville, Spain? What's with that? All we've seen about her in the PNJ is this single paragraph in Friday's Weekender insert:

This year's edition, in conjunction with the 450th anniversary of Pensacola's settlement, is marked by the festival's International Invited Artist, Isabel Maria Sola Marquez from Seville, Spain. Marquez plays guitar, organ, writes poetry and paints smoky, illuminated images of city streets and dramatic figures.

To be fair, the Weekender on Friday did an okay job of promoting the rest of the festival in advance, as in past years. In addition to mentioning Ms. Sola Márquez, Mike Roberts offered a respectable overview of some of the local artists participating.

That same opening day of the festival, Maegen Outzen also weighed in with a personal run-down of some her favorite stage performers. And a useful calendar of events was included.

Still, isn't it news when a guest artist comes all the way from Spain to Pensacola to help celebrate the 450th anniversary of Tristan de Luna's ill-fated attempt to colonize Pensacola? You'd think someone would have been assigned to interview her.

And how much more work would it take for Sean Dugas to give us a video survey of all the performance events -- music and dance among them -- that are practically made for sound-and-video? Someone at the PNJ was asleep at the switch on this one.

But there's still time. Today is the last day of the art festival. Grab that Márquez interview!

And, Sean, let's get a little more creative with the video thing, okay?

turtle price correction 11-9 pm

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