Thirty Years of “Art Voices” – Jamestown Sun

This August marks 30 years of writing Art Voices for The Jamestown Sun newspaper.

Give or take a few dozen, there have been something close to 1,500 columns since 1992. If all the columns were added from the years I was in Georgia and the universities where I taught and wrote, it would be more than double that number. only for columns. That’s a lot of words.

Not all columns were important, but they filled the news gap and sometimes met a reader’s needs. Art Voices is about the arts, which include much more than just the visual arts. True, visual arts and journalism are what I would end up teaching, but the arts include writing, architecture and conservation; it’s also culinary and culture, fashion and gardening. Fine arts include any sound that a voice or instrument can make. It includes poetry, short stories and oral histories, biographies and autobiographies. They are foreign languages, chemistry (yes!) and mathematics. Without the sciences, the fine arts would be limited. Art is invention, creative innovation and solution. To represent anything well in the art world, you need to know a little about almost everything. And if you don’t, a writer needs to know how to find someone who provides the answers.

To learn how to write a story, at J-school we were told “don’t study journalism alone; they study history, religion, sciences, business and economics, foreign languages ​​and fine arts. Learn enough about everything to ask relevant questions during an interview. And always follow the journalistic code of ethics: balanced, unbiased, straight news, quotes and keep it simple. Tell both sides of a story and who said what. Whether it’s editorials, covering the cops, the city council, or a tragic accident, be compassionate and fair. Newspapers are the eyes and ears for voters and citizens of small and large communities. “

When I was a student, and then as a journalism professor, there were people I met whose words and writings made a difference; none were in the visual arts. Harry Wu, Elie Wiesel, Eric Sevareid, Edna Buchanan and Emilio Pucci come to mind. During interviews or meetings, their philosophies and advice changed the way I learned, wrote or made my art. Author and activist Harry Wu, while driving from Fargo to Jamestown, made me realize that my worst days in the United States would be the best day ever if you were “re-educated” as he was for 19 years, in China’s gulag. Sevareid encouraged young writers to be fearless when crafting stories with initiative.

And the mid-20th century designer, a 1920s University of Georgia graduate, Emilio Pucci, of Vinci, Italy, had some amazing tales to tell about a young painter named Leonardo. Students in art history classes learned some things that are not in our textbook. Newspapers cover local and national sports, announce weddings, births, publish obituaries and stock reports, announce meetings, church and civic news, and publish features, editorials, columnists and reports from Washington.

It was a passion for truth and learning that lured a young artist into the newspaper business. My gratitude to all publishers over the years cannot be measured. If the images I painted or sculpted were not understood, the words usually were. To every reader, I bow and humbly thank you for your comments and story suggestions over the years. Hopefully, The Jamestown Sun will continue in its valuable role as Stutsman County’s “official” organ for the people for decades to come.

If anyone has an article for this column, please send it to Sharon Cox, PO Box 1559, Jamestown, ND 58402-1559.

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