This post is part of a continued series distinguishing individuals and groups by presenting a DaVinci award or a Velvet Elvis award for their role in promoting Charlottesville as the "cultural and creative capital of Central Virginia".
There is a website/blog/chat room based here in Charlottesville called Cvillain. It’s part of the Spicy Bear network which boasts that it "reaches over 50,000 visitors each month and engages more users than any other media publication in central Virginia." A spin-off from Cvillain is a site called CvilleMUSE which claims to feature discussions and the promotion of the Charlottesville and Central Virginia arts. Here is their own description:
Whether we in Charlottesville explore the arts through the actors on a stage, the lens or line of a brushstroke, or the raising of voices in song, cvilleMUSE is here to promote, connect, and celebrate the artists and audiences of our community.
This is your place to discover new music, to find out about the performers and performances in our area, and to share your thoughts and opinions on what’s happening in and around Charlottesville. And if we happen to have a little fun along the way, we’ll consider it icing on the cake.
So, as I read it, CvilleMUSE has taken it upon itself to promote the arts and artists in Charlottesville. Through the writings and postings of Shaun Harvey, it seems to do good job with the music scene. But for the visual arts… ugh. It is falling painfully short.
Cville MUSE’s correspondent for the visual arts is a woman who goes by the online name Pinkie (writer’s note: I honestly have no idea who this person’s real identity is). Initially, I was amused by Pinkie’s quaint posts. They were regular, covered a variety of quirky subjects, and I could see she was really trying hard. But then I realized if CvilleMUSE is reaching even half as many people as it claims it does, Pinkie’s posts were not making the grade in the promotion and relevant discussion of the visual arts in Charlottesville. More and more, her inexperience and naiveté was exposed in her… er… musings and quips.
If Pinkie is unable to adequately handle the job, fine. But, hey, Spicy Bear, get someone who can do it some justice. Please! You have taken it upon yourself to promote the arts to your thousands of readers - now do it. At no point have I seen a consistent compilation of exhibit listings; there are virtually no compelling reviews of exhibits or artists; and, you have completely missed the recent headline worthy news that has affected this town’s arts (e.g. the juicy firing of Jill Hartz, the unceremonious dismissal of Leah Stoddard, and the boot given to Les Yeux du Monde). Charlottesville’s visual arts landscape is changing right before our eyes. And, instead of thoughtful comments and insights about exhibitions, artists and news, we get discussions about the "awesomeness" of something found on a local restaurant’s wall or painted on a chunk of cardboard. To me, CvilleMUSE and Pinkie appear to be out of the loop.
For this, I honor Pinkie and CvilleMuse with a Velvet Elvis. Maybe if they find a visual arts correspondent who can devote the necessary time and energy into giving a fair shake at really promoting the visual arts and artists in this town, then I’ll consider it for a DaVinci award.
[Above left image: untitled drawing by Pinkie.]
SCORECARD, thus far:
DaVinci – Beryl Solla
Velvet Elvis – University of Virginia Art Museum
DaVinci – Elizabeth Breeden
Velvet Elvis – Charlottesville City Council
DaVinci – Rob Tarbell