Let’s talk about it

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

I love it when I see real dialogue in the paper. There’s a cool discussion that’s been going on in the letters section that you may not have noticed because it’s been kind of spread out. It began with a review of a Michael Sarich art exhibit that appeared on April 17.

The first letter was published on May 1, and among other things, it stated, “Michael Sarich is no artist.” Now Sarich is one of the most respected artists in northern Nevada, so if anyone can take hyperbolic criticism, it’s him. It was written by Paul Mellender, the same guy who wrote the Guest Commentary last year, “Where’s the art in Artown?”

The next letter, “Appreciate the Artist,” had the signature Daniel T. Earl and was printed on May 15. It questioned the right of anyone to determine what art is for anyone else—essentially the opposite opinion expressed by Mellender.

At some point, my staff and I were talking about Mellender’s letter, considering various ways to explore this idea that there’s some art that can be judged “bad.” Serendipitously, Michael Croft, a former Truckee Meadows Community College instructor and freelance writer, offered to do the very story we were talking about. That story runs in this issue (See “Bad Art,” page 12).

Finally, we got a letter from Andrew Dicus, which also runs in this week’s paper (See Letters, page 5).

It’s exactly the use of the forum that I like to see. Different people expressing opposing viewpoints about something people don’t talk enough about, the nature of art.

Now, the cool thing is that all these guys work at Sundance Bookstore on Keystone Avenue. Dan Earl is an owner, Mellender is the manager, Dicus and Croft are part-time employees. I think it’s great that these guys saw the opportunity to have a dialogue in our newspaper and jumped on it—the community benefits from the discussion.

And that’s the way it’s supposed to work. I love it.