Moist with anticipation of the commencement of the Miami Writer’s Prize guest blogging slot, yet still a little dry at the thought of current events we’d like to tip our own waffle a bit by sharing a couple of articles written about Artlurker for the KnightFoundation’s Knight Arts blog.
By Thomas Hollingworth, Artlurker
On May 11th, Artlurker, a Miami based contemporary art blog, announced the winner of the Miami Writer’s Prize, an annual prize funded in part by the Knight Foundation and hosted on Artlurker. The prize stipulates that entrants submit one review of a recent art related event. The incentive is an eight hundred dollar stipend in return for eight ‘posts,’ texts that the winner writes for publication by Artlurker subsequent to their winning entry.
The Miami Writer’s Prize, the brainchild of Artlurker’s founding editor Thomas Hollingworth, is currently in its second year. As such, while it might be still be too early to measure the scope of the initiative, its intent is palpably grand. Ostensibly the aim is to encourage residents of Miami to think critically about art and to foster growth in the pool of critical writers in the South Florida community, but beyond that the prize is conceived as an edifying force, a means by which Artlurker’s role is transformed from that of an observer pandering to vicarious cultural tourists to an actual facilitator, engaging the community and home growing talent through a nurturing if not sometimes unconventional stretch of traditional roles.
“Editorials offer a viewpoint and similarly as an editor I strive to offer perspective. I am totally selftaught, in every aspect of my life, and I have also been fortunate to find myself on both sides of many coins – economically and specifically in the art world as both an artist and a dealer, and a prospective writer and an editor. As such I am not only in a position to help, but I want to because empathize with the struggle of becoming established and can appreciate the value of successful, engaged individuals. My website is there as a platform, for Miami and those from it who write, and I am there to do what I can to ensure the most effective, eloquent if appropriate, conveyance of meaning.” said Hollingworth in a recent conversation with himself.
By Annie Hollingsworth
Artlurker.com, Miami’s notorious art and culture blog, is now three years old. In that short time, other local blogs have come and gone, but Artlurker’s founder and editor Tom Hollingworth has kept the website running strong, even though he just left town on a vegetable oil powered bus converted into a makeshift living space. Meanwhile, back in Miami, he’s keeping in touch with local collaborators and Artlurker.com is moving ahead: the website will soon announce the winner of the Knight-funded 2011 Writer’s Prize, a contest aimed and encouraging critical writing in Miami. Recently, last year’s prizewinner Annie Hollingsworth (no relation to Tom) spoke with him about the history of the website and his new nomadic life.
What is the Artlurker origin story?
When I moved to Miami in 2006, I worked for galleries and collections for maybe a year or two. I realized that, by working in the commercial arena, I had grown somewhat separate from the community. I wanted to be more involved so I decided to become an art writer. I started writing for the few magazines I could find, and I kept a portfolio of my writing on a Blogger account. After a while people were talking about the writing I’d been doing and I thought, I’ll just turn the Blogger account into a website, to turn it into a Miami blog. In the spring of 2008 I bought the Artlurker.com domain.
Is your audience mainly in Miami or do you have audience around the country, around the world?
Through WordPress I’m able to see the statistics for the website and I see how many people are viewing it in all the different countries. Mainly the audience is American and I do have a strong local following.
What does a blog allow you to do for the community that you couldn’t do in a gallery?
When I was working for the gallery and I would engage with artists, there was always this strange filter. I felt like the interaction was always commercially based – I was a representative of a prominent gallery and they were an artist who either was or was not represented. I found it strange to be interacting in this pre-established hierarchy, or natural order. It’s funny, because the minute I started to become an art critic, a similar but different filter came up because people were always looking for press. But in the first few years when I was getting to know gallery owners on a personal level and doing a lot of studio visits, trying to find out as much as I could about Miami and how everything works here, there wasn’t really an impetus for me to be there other than my own personal interest, which was refreshing.