"It's more about providing context for the arts in Philadelphia rather than just a thumbs-up-and-down review," said Jason Wilson, who submitted the proposal to the Knight Foundation. Wilson is an editor of the Smart Set, Drexel's online cultural magazine (thesmartset.com), a Drexel writing professor and a Daily News food writer. He described the scope of Art Attack as "not just the big shows at the big institutions but art in many different ways in the city."
He believes that the collaboration between the Daily News and Drexel is "a good marriage of existing resources."
The Knight Foundation and NEA agreed. Art Attack was one of five projects chosen from 233 "excellent applications," said Dennis Scholl, vice president for the arts at the Knight Foundation. He added that journalism is changing and that Knight is looking for potential models that could fuel journalism in the future.
Scholl said that the Daily News-Drexel partnership was chosen because Drexel has already carved out a niche for coverage on the digital side with the Smart Set, while the Daily News is an established presence in local media.
Other cities where the Knight/NEA Community Arts Journalism Challenge is funding projects include Charlotte, Detroit, San Jose and Miami.
"We're looking for ways to continue to put arts coverage in front of the community," Scholl said. "Philadelphia has a vibrant arts community, and it's important that that community has coverage."
- Molly Eichel