Boo! OK, enough with Halloween.
Seeing Four Gallery relaunched last night in a new space at 119 Capel Street, Dublin, for some reason had me fretting about space in Circa itself (the magazine). Space is one thing Circa does not have a lot of – a few feature articles and 15 to 20 reviews per issue, once every three months. Considering the amount of artistic activity around the island, that’s poor coverage. But more space implies printing more pages, more writers’s fees, higher postage fees, etc – basically, pages cost. We’ve explained repeatedly to both Arts Council’s in Ireland that we’re not able to cover all we would like to cover, because we can’t afford more pages; they understand, but their budgets are very tight as well. That said, Circa has steadily increased the number of pages it does print – through our own income but also helped by the two Councils when they could.
That’s not the full story, though. For example, we could play with various parameters relating to the magazine: have shorter reviews, print on grungier paper, pay writers even less… What we have at the moment is a balance among a whole lot of possibilities; it seems to work, but change is inevitable.
Another part of the story, in terms of coverage, has to do with availability. If there are two shows of equal merit, but one is in a city and the other a day’s journey away for most reviewers, the city show is likely to win out; we do pay travel expenses, but that doesn’t mean we can find a good reviewer who will travel… Or if there are two shows of equal merit, but one is in a location that has received a lot of coverage in Circa and the other hasn’t, the less-covered location may win out, out of fairness to the location but hardly to the artist. These are the frustrating choices I’m faced with every day. What does actually make it into the magazine is there, I believe, on merit; what isn’t in the magazine is often, unfortunately, of equal merit, but that’s just how the chips have fallen this time round.