I've lived in Steamboat Springs only seven years, but it's been long enough to witness incredible growth in our arts community.
Just the past few years have seen an explosion of new gallery spaces in downtown Steamboat, from K. Saari Gallery to the Steamboat Art Museum to Wild Horse Gallery's expansion to Lincoln Avenue. Strings Music Festival continues to grow, and it now has a beautiful pavilion to call home. And while the loss of Levelz a couple years ago limited the opportunity to see live late-night music, last week's opening of Ghost Ranch Saloon ushered in a new era of evening entertainment here in Steamboat. The list could go on and on.
But while the arts community has continued to evolve and grow, the way the Pilot & Today handles its arts and entertainment coverage mostly hasn't. That's changing. Immediately.
For many years, 4 Points has been our weekly arts and entertainment section, a special part of the Friday newspaper that included feature stories about artists and bands; complete calendar listings for galleries and entertainment venues; movie listings and reviews; and other arts and entertainment coverage.
But for all the good content 4 Points has provided, there remained one major flaw: It prevented us from providing daily coverage of the arts and entertainment scene. Reporter Margaret Hair and her predecessors on the arts and entertainment beat have spent their weeks cramming in interviews and compiling calendars and schedules to appear once in a Friday newspaper. By the time Saturday arrived, our arts and entertainment coverage essentially vanished until the following week's edition of 4 Points hit newsstands.
I don't think that's good enough. I think we need to provide arts and entertainment coverage on a daily, not weekly, basis. I also think we need to have a Web site that includes song samples from visiting and local bands, updated music and arts calendars, timely reviews and previews of shows and events, and a chance for our readers to interact and provide their own reviews.
Beginning this Friday, there will no longer be a separate 4 Points section in the Steamboat Today. Friday's paper will, however, include a new Explore Steamboat weekend guide featuring a detailed schedule of upcoming events; a couple of feature stories; movie listings and reviews; and our "best bets" highlighting can't-miss events. Readers still won't have to look any further than the Friday Steamboat Today when looking to plan their weekends.
With the deadline pressure of a weekly arts and entertainment section gone, Hair can now produce daily stories for the print newspaper and our Web sites. This week's papers already have included a story and photos about Ghost Ranch Saloon's opening weekend; a preview of classic violinist Anna Roder's Wednesday recital - including photos and an online video; a story about local artist Laura Wait's June exhibition in a Denver gallery; a preview story and photos of mixed media artist Ashley Benton's new exhibit at K. Saari Gallery; and a preview of Friday's presentation by Auden Schendler, author of "Getting Green Done" and executive director of community and environmental responsibility for Aspen Skiing Co.
ExploreSteamboat.com is the new home for all arts and entertainment coverage in Routt County. Go there to find constantly updated event listings, stories, concert previews, artist features and other relevant content. Happy hour listings and ExploreSteamboat.com's comprehensive local business directory should make it easy for readers to plan their days. Arts and entertainment stories will continue to be found on Steamboatpilot.com, as well.
Change can be difficult for readers, who come to expect and rely on certain elements of the newspaper to be there week in and week out. My request is this: Give it a couple weeks, and then let me know if you don't enjoy having timely arts and entertainment coverage in the newspaper throughout the week. When you're ready, give me a call or shoot me an e-mail with your thoughts. I can be reached at 970-871-4221 or email@example.com.