Steve Smith, Editor

“From our earliest conversations around three years ago, Paola expressed a firm conviction that journalism and criticism are fundamental parts of the artistic ecosystem. That’s a holistic view that I have always endorsed completely. In joining National Sawdust to create a new online journal, I’m embracing a challenge posed by Paola, to acknowledge and reinforce bonds that have always existed between artists and the media, and to frame those bonds within a context of mutually sustaining community.

At a time when the traditional mass media face severe challenges merely in order to survive, ones we’d barely begun to conceive even a few years ago, new ventures and venues have to rise up to address cutbacks elsewhere, and to continue covering the arts and artists on a granular level. Our new journal initiative is not meant to be an alarmed response to that changing status quo, but rather to foster awareness of the brilliant abundance of fresh artistic expression that surrounds us all, and as much as possible to enable creators to tell their own stories in their own words. We also want to address the circumstances and social and political currents that contribute to living an artist’s life. And because constructive criticism is a healthful and necessary part of any artist’s creative life, we will find ways to integrate thoughtful responses into the conversation, with the knowledge that the critical discourse is precisely that: a conversation.

Above all, from the start Paola and I have insisted that the new journal will be of National Sawdust, but not about National Sawdust exclusively. The artists who create and present at NS also work elsewhere: uptown, downtown, across the country, around the world. We intend to cast our net far and wide, covering news of events happening throughout the creative spheres of the artists, groups, and institutions whose goals and audiences intersect with ours.”