Project 1

Audience/Community Engagement

Proposal:

For people walking into a physics classroom for the first time, it’s easy to be intimidated by the subject matter. The textbook itself is the size and weight of a paver on the Appian Way. But imagine going to that same class taught by Carl Sagan. Sagan, as you’ll recall, led people down a path of discovery in his books and television shows. He made you feel as though you were exploring the world alongside him. Who wouldn’t want to be in the front row?

For years, arts journalists have held restrictive roles at their respective institutions — to review works of art, or to tell people what is up-and-coming in the world of the arts. But as more media institutions lay-off their cultural reporters, the “professionals” have to find new ways of making a living in their communities. My project is to explore ways in which someone who is dedicated to writing/broadcasting/communicating about the arts can break out of the institutional role and create a new model in his or her community.

How would new formulas and “forums” differ with the established rules of journalism? I propose creating a resource — likely web-based — for both “amateur” and “professional” arts journalists, in which entrepreneurial ideas can be shared. Every community needs its Carl Sagan of the arts, and likely it will not be someone who works strictly for a newspaper. It will be someone who has a broad understanding of various art forms, and who can be both informative, entertaining, and who can show up on opening night with his or her own audience in tow.