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The Sun needs a full-time critic covering the visual arts

I was glad to see The Sun editorial board express strong support for the Baltimore art scene and the role that organizations like The Contemporary play in the vitality of the city's cultural life ("The Contemporary returns," July 8).

Yet it is with some irony that I note the editorial's enthusiastic endorsement "for what a Sun critic once called 'the art of right now.'" The Sun has not had a full-time art critic since 2008.

I am an artist and former exhibitions director at Goucher College during the golden age of Baltimore art criticism, when all four shows we put on each season were likely to be reviewed by both The Sun and the City Paper. I can't overstate how important those reviews were in terms of driving audiences and helping the artists involved by giving them useful feedback and raising their local profile.

With all due respect to other critics at The Sun who have contributed the occasional art piece, but whose main areas of expertise have ranged from architecture to theater to music, if The Sun is truly interested in supporting the visual arts, it would make more space for art criticism and reviews — not just human interest stories or descriptive reporting — by someone with a commitment to following the visual arts who can put the city's art and artists into a wider context of past art history and current national and international trends.

The city's many non-profit art galleries, college and university art galleries and commercial galleries all put on dozens of quality exhibitions that get no attention in the newspaper aside from a brief calendar listing. As Baltimore's paper of record, I hope The Sun heeds its own call for more attention to be focused on the local art scene by rectifying the situation and bringing back regular coverage of the visual arts.

I noticed that in recent weeks there have been articles about shows at C. Grimaldis Gallery, the Walters Art Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art and a local artist's exhibition at the Phillips Collection. That's certainly a step in the right direction.

Helen Glazer, Owings Mills

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