Here is a copy of the letter I sent to The Sunday Times after Marianne Thamm warned us that the one page of arts stuff is going to be reduced to one review and a listing. It would be great if we could all mobilise against this.
It has been brought to the attention of the art fraternity that The Sunday Times will be reducing the national coverage of the arts from its current one page to one review and a listing. For many in South Africa I am sure this will have no impact whatsoever, but for those of us in the arts it comes as a huge, huge blow, and will be the difference between buying the Sunday Times or not.
I understand the reality that the arts in general, and arts reporting in particular, is niche in South Africa, and that The Sunday Times appeals to a huge and wide audience, but that one page of art reviews and listings brings together the arts from all over the country. We get a chance to feel part of a broader arts community, see what our friends (in my case up North) are up to. We get to feel, for one day, that our work is valuable and valued. Also, we get to feel that, amongst the twenty pages of sport, fifty pages of business and many pages of celebrity skandaal, we have a teeny but important place in The Sunday Times.
You have no idea how important this is. When I appeared in The Sunday Times arts review page (once or twice a long time ago) my family and friends passed this info along a grapevine that extends way past the borders of this country. Surely the value of that must work both ways; we get publicity and acknowledgement and you get to sell more newspapers. Thatâ€™s the idea isnâ€™t it?
Maybe Iâ€™m missing something but it would be great to know what deserves that one page more than us, the struggling, yet totally determined and passionate arts world of this country?
Please, please reconsider and leave us our one page.
So that was my letter. I am sure that the more they get the stronger the cause. Send yours to firstname.lastname@example.org