Before I moved to the area a few years back, the majority of my research on my home-to-be was conducted online, where a couple of painless minutes on Yahoo! yielded an invaluable resource in Arts Carolina. This University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill site gave considerable ease to the often arduous process of finding offerings in visual art, dance, music and theater; events at museums, gardens, parks and nature centers; calendars for the immediate present and distant future, at facilities both on-campus and off.
Now that my anchor is firmly planted in the Triangle, the site is still on my frequent hit list, bookmarked for a quick look or lengthy perusal at possibilities for this weekend or next month, from major mainstream touring shows to specialized lectures on obscure obsessions. I can't imagine that I'm the only one who reaps the benefits of this comprehensive site, so I'm perplexed and bewildered to hear that due to budget cuts, Arts Carolina will be eliminated as of June 30. Ridiculous, dontcha think, especially as it might give the impression that the arts aren't of particular consequence at UNC, and it's difficult to believe that it's not all some unfortunate mistake.
While we understand that for some the arts just aren't as important as, oh, I don't know, let's say basketball, it should also be considered by the powers-that-be who make these funding decisions that there are more than a handful of students who will spend their lifetimes paying off the loans that financed their arts-related degrees at UNC (like their Art Major B.A., B.F.A., M.F.A., M.A., or Ph.D., their Dramatic Art B.A. or M.F.A., or their Music B.A., B.M., M.A., or Ph.D.,) as well as a big honkin' mess of non-affiliated regional residents who visit the Ackland, attend music performances and shell out cash for PlayMakers tickets.
For many, the arts are a priority, and a Web site encapsulating the artistic activity at UNC and environs must be a priority as well. Maybe the ghost of Christmas future will show up at the next budget meeting and one and all will realize the importance of Arts Carolina, reinstate the site and treat the webmaster to a tofurkey dinner. But on the off-chance that this blissful scenario does not become reality, let's take it upon ourselves to make sure that if Arts Carolina does have to go, it does not go quietly. Here's where you, (yes, darlin', you), can get involved, and maybe help preserve an essential service for arts lovers without even breaking a sweat. Pick up the telephone and dial 962-1365, the office of James C. Moeser, Chancellor, or 962-4046, for English Professor Darryl J. Gless. Say, politely please (more flies with honey), "I live in the Triangle and I care about the arts. I heard about the termination of the Arts Carolina site, and have determined it to be a boneheaded maneuver. Maybe you could reconsider?" Or e-mail email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org the hell, e-mail them both!--and say, "No more Arts Carolina? Bad idea. Keep it around. I live here and I care." And while you're at it, stick your head out the window and yell, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!" (This last suggestion has absolutely no bearing on the future of Arts Carolina, but doesn't it sound like fun?)
What will a glut of phone calls and e-mails do? Possibly nothing. But we'll never know unless we try, and hey, it'll take two big fat minutes of your time and just might work. Get to that phone or keyboard and hope for the best.