Written by 8:29 pm Editor's Note, Feature

Goodbye, 2020!

As this most unusual year draws to a close, let’s look back at what we accomplished.

What a year. I’d like to thank you, our readers and supporters. We’ve accomplished a lot during this difficult year of profound change. We couldn’t have done it without you.

In March we began our Art Is Essential series, asking readers and writers to tell us about the art that they are turning to during the pandemic. In June we redesigned our website, thanks in large part to a grant from the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses. In July we held our first design contest, selecting Dora Pang’s design for our first tote bag.

In November we began publishing the work of our blogging fellows. This new program provides career development for arts writers. Our fellows are writing columns that represent their unique points of view and interests. Alexander B. Joy is writing explanatory articles on aesthetic philosophy. Dawn-Michelle Baude is writing investigative art criticism of Las Vegas casino art collections. Leena Mahan is writing profiles of women jazz artists of the 1960s and ’70s. Lindsay Lohr is writing a series of reported stories on theater in the time of covid. Deborah Kostianovsky will be writing about the intersection of art and psychiatry. Many of these fellows are working with Carolyn Jack, our new contributing editor. Carolyn brings decades of arts reporting experience to our team.   

Also this year, we also published A Woman’s Work, an ebook by Noelle Nicholson about Grace Carpenter Hudson’s painting, Blue Monday. (The ebook was a best-seller on Amazon.) In the coming week we will publish an ebook by musicologist Rachel Bodenheimer about “Reminiscing in Tempo,” an important yet little-known composition by Duke Ellington. We will also launch our Open Canon series, which spotlights American artists you might not know but should. 

This is a crucial time for the arts. In-depth writing about the arts has all but disappeared from daily media at a time when many arts organizations are struggling with the challenges of operating during the pandemic. Nevertheless, and as our Art Is Essential series has shown, art is sustaining us during these uncertain and difficult times. It’s also why I believe that now, more than ever, is the time to build a national magazine of the arts. It’s time for us to tell the stories of the arts in a way that is inclusive, non-partisan, and fresh.  

Speaking of, we have a fresh start of our own planned. We will move our online magazine to a new format and begin publishing it under a new name.

This is a big move for us, and it’s an exciting one. It will help ensure that we continue publishing sustainably into the future. Your generosity makes our work possible. Any contribution you can make is appreciated. Critical Read is a 501c3 tax-exempt organization.

Wishing you and your loved ones a happy and healthy holiday season. 

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