Boston's The Arts Fuse

Website Has Sixty Contributors

By: - Aug 15, 2016

For academics a familiar mantra is “publish or perish.”

This also applies to journalists of all kinds with an emphasis on those in the arts. As newsrooms have shrunk or disappeared all over America it is the arts staff that is first to go.

It has widely been reported that many communities have no qualified critics for their symphony orchestras, theatres and museums. But there is always staff to cover local news and major league sports.

Compared to which having someone cover the opera is a marginal priority.

With sweat equity and not very deep pockets William Marx has built a formidable on line critical presence as publisher/ editor of Boston’s The Arts Fuse.

As those who write for him, including myself, know he is an exacting editor. He does not hesitate to take to school the most senior critics.

In the ever narrowing game of musical chairs there are fewer opportunities to publish for established critics and theorists with decades of experience in the field.

Similarly, Berkshire Fine Arts is staffed by many distinguished writers. Quite a few of our contributors are fellow members of American Theatre Critics Association. That has allowed us to have broad American as well as European coverage. It has made us a national platform for arts criticism.

In some cases our site has provided credentials for senior critics to cover major arts venues and festivals here and abroad.

This summer we posted overviews of the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada, as well as dance, film and arts festivals in Berlin. We have also covered in depth the arts in the Berkshires.

A commonality for all arts sites is the struggle to reach an informed readership.

Below is an excerpt of a memo to fellow Fuse writers from the film critic Gerald Peary. I got to know and respect him as a colleague at Suffolk University.

Previously his insightful writing, focused primarily on independent film and festivals, regularly appeared in the Boston Phoenix. That award- winning weekly newspaper has long since folded as have many journals that we wrote for.

Once again we are fellow contributors for The Arts Fuse.

It is a lively, diverse, and well edited on line magazine that I urge you to check out. The standard of writing is on a par with the best of American arts journalism.

Gerald Peary says:

As a regular writer for The Arts Fuse, I am prouder and prouder of the quality and depth of the essays within. Last week, I was privy to half a dozen articles and arts reviews which could have been appeared in the best publications in America.  My hope is that EVERYBODY engages with The Arts Fuse regularly. But do they?

I am sure you’ve had the same dispiriting experience that I have, meeting people in New England who religiously attend arts events, or who make arts, and who have never even heard of the Arts Fuse. How is this possible if, so brilliantly edited by Bill Marx, The Fuse has been around for years?

A major reason is a literal blacklisting of The Fuse by competitive media. Obviously, WBUR’s The Artery, which covers the same territory but in a lazy, uncritical way, would not dare say a word about the Fuse. The same with The Improper Bostonian. More serious is the blacklisting by the Globe. I have pitched to Globe higher-ups with whom I’m friendly that they do an essay about our web magazine.  The answer was a “No.” The Globe must view our high-level arts coverage as a challenge to their hegemony, and never more than now, when they have let go of their arts freelancers and shrunk their arts pages. In contrast, the Fuse welcomes arts writers and increases its pages. Fuse arts articles are being posted, I assume, as I write!