Hill: Become an arts critic for a month

April 11, 2014 

Art Matters, a collaboration between Macon Arts Alliance and Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism, hosted a symposium this week with the music critic from The New Yorker, Alex Ross, and McDuffie Center for Strings Director, violinist Amy Schwartz Moretti, before an audience of music students, faculty and community members.

As they discussed the interplay between musician, audience and critic, Ross affirmed the growing role of independent arts critics -- audience members from various backgrounds who use social media and blog formats to write critical reviews of performances.

When was the last time you thought critically about the arts you consumed? Or do you just sit there and take it in? I’m challenging you (and myself) to become a critical audience member for one month. Preparation may be as simple as a quick web search for the writer, composer, performer or artist. Then dive into the experience. When it’s over, write or record your thoughts and feelings and then, if you are so moved, share them on social media.

While this isn’t the same as scholarly, professional criticism, it’s a way for each of us to become a more engaged audience member. You may even find that others are interested in what you have to say.

Give your critical ear a workout tonight as the Juliette Opry presents bluegrass artists the Claire Lynch Band. Lynch has won international awards for her work and two Grammy nominations as well. Tuesday night, the Mercer University Orchestra is celebrating Neva Langley Fickling with a free, ticketed concert at the Grand Opera House.

Lovers of literature have three events to enjoy this week. Saturday afternoon, the 2014 Sidney Lanier Prize will be awarded to fiction writer Elizabeth Spencer. Then on Sunday, the Big House hosts author Galadrielle Allman for a book signing and reading from her book, “Please Be With Me.”

Tuesday and Wednesday, Middle Georgia State College hosts three free book launch events on the Macon and Cochran campuses for author and MGSC librarian Robin Johns Grant’s novel “Summer’s Winter.”

Sunday, the Macon Film Guild screens American Film Institute Movie of the Year, “Inside Llewyn Davis,” at the Douglass Theatre. The film, directed by the Coen Brothers, chronicles a folk singer trying to make it in 1960s Greenwich Village.

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