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The editor would like to clarify that Marsha Miro did not leave the Free Press to directly begin planning the formation of MOCAD, which did not open until 2006. In addition, Joy Hakanson Colby’s tenure at the Detroit News spanned 60, not 40 years. Articles represent the views of the respective author and not necessarily the views of Arthopper.org. We encourage a diversity of opinion and strive for transparency and accuracy.
For this first issue of Arthopper, I think it’s appropriate to start off and talk about the lack of art criticism in Southeastern Michigan; Specifically the major newspapers that abandoned art reviews a decade ago. As those of us who have been around for a while, recall Marsha Miro writing for the Detroit Free Press and Joy Hakanson Colby writing for the Detroit News. They were the two art critics having a column on regular basis, often in the Sunday paper. They had the respect of the art community and worked hard at articulating the visual artwork that came from Detroit and the surrounding area. Ms. Miro held the position for twenty-one years from 1974 – 1995 when she left to head up the efforts at MOCAD. Ms. Coby came to the News in 1946 and worked nearly
forty sixty years that gave her the ability to see the evolution of the art scene that included the changes that took place at the Detroit Institute of Arts. She retired in 2006 and her position was not replaced.
It’s ironic that the Booth/Scripps family was the founders of Cranbrook, yet abandoned coverage in their newspaper. The Metro Times has over the years has reviewed new exhibitions, but often treated the writing as informational, largely ignoring any attempt at criticism. With the number of galleries, and institutions having exhibitions on a regular basis, one would think that creating an art beat would be a natural and attractive instinct. As the Kresge Foundation has illustrated through its Kresge Arts in Detroit program, there are plenty of highly qualified writers, capable of the kind of criticism that the Detroit art community deserves. It’s not as if we are seeking a section devoted to the arts, like we see weekly in the New York Times, but a commitment to educating the public about the vibrant work that continues to flourish in Southeastern Michigan.
To those of you who seek to write creatively and critically about the arts, please consider submitting to the Arthopper. As the Internet consumes our lives and our source of communication, Arthopper hopes to fill the void… by bringing the reader new information and lively commentary on the arts in Southeastern Michigan.
Ron Scott is a pseudonym for a writer based in the Detroit area. View more articles by Ron Scott.