Friday, January 3, 2014

Ringing Out the Old, Forgetting the New?

 Ringing Out the Old, Forgetting the New?

By Tom Wachunas

    “Whoever neglects the arts when he is young has lost the past and is dead to the future.”  -Sophocles

    Now that I have your attention, file this one under ‘disappointed culture maven.’ On page A-6 in the December 31 edition of The Repository, Canton’s daily newspaper, 100 of 2013’s “Top Stories” about Stark County were listed (excluding a side bar listing of the 10 most-read stories on, month-by-month.

    I counted 22 sports-related stories and a paltry three stories that could qualify as arts oriented, in the realm of pop culture: one (in March) on the winners of the 10th Annual Battle of the Bands (sponsored by The Repository); one (in August) mentioning the Oak Ridge Boys as the grandstand act on day two of The Stark County Fair; and one (in October) about a Central Catholic High School graduate talking about his role in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.    

    I fully understand that Stark County is not a world-class bastion of haute culture. Nor is it a consistently major destination for fine arts connoisseurs. Yet. Speaking of world-class fine art, how is it that The Repository neglected to list the December opening of Illuminating The Word: The St. John’s Bible at the Canton Art Museum?

     Is this glaring omission merely an unfortunate oversight by the Repository editorial powers that be? Considering the excellent Repository articles about the show’s opening by Dan Kane (December 5) and Charita Goshay (December 7), that’s difficult to believe. Or is this year-end list more a reflection of reader response, online or otherwise, to stories thought to be most important or meaningful to the community? If that’s the case, it’s dismaying to think that Repository readership might be so disassociated from art in general.

     In any event, the exhibit is an astonishing aesthetic accomplishment of historic dimensions. It’s “news” that elevates the vital presence of an important cultural institution in our midst and, more significant, a gift to the world at large.

    As I recently watched news footage of the traditional ball-drop in Times Square marking the advent of a new year, I was hoping that in the future, we don’t drop the ball, so to speak, when it comes to recognizing and celebrating the invaluable impact of art on our lives. Happy New Year.   

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