Krista WieseIt seems like only yesterday, but ten years have passed since CVNC launched its intern program, a sort of “grow your own critics” project intended to help train the next generation of cultural journalists, as more and more commercial newspapers abandon the field. But then again, it seems like only yesterday… since we launched CVNC itself, too, ‘way back in the summer of 2001 (just months before 9/11…) ‒ and for the very same reason, specifically tied to the loss of classical music coverage in two regional weeklies that had billed themselves in part as “arts & entertainment” rags. Our 501c3 non-profit, online journal, always curated by professional editors and managed by staff with extensive performing and educational backgrounds, was among the first in the nation, built with the advice of the late Robert P. Commanday, who had begun SFCV (San Francisco Classical Voice) in the Bay area just a few years earlier.

Cecilia WhalenFor now, there are two students in our program, and we are pleased formally to introduce them. Violinist Krista Wiese (above) is at Meredith College, double majoring in English and music with a concentration in management. As of this writing she has ten reviews in her portfolio. More recently, dancer Cecilia Whalen (right) of UNC Charlotte has joined our endeavor. She is pursuing a triple major, in dance, English, and French. Readers may see the reviews both have done for us thus far in the tabulations following their biographies. And ‒ coincidentally and perhaps predictably ‒ their enthusiasm and spirit sometimes puts the older folk among us completely in the shade. So we celebrate these students and their work with us, and we invite our readers to do so too, for they truly do represent the future of the art of serious cultural criticism in our very midst, or, as we put it, “The Next Generation of Arts Criticism.” Bravissime!

For several years we had mulled the idea of training performing arts students to write quality reviews ‒ and expanding CVNC to allow for collecting and archiving their work. The motivation was partly practical ‒ our founders and their colleagues who joined hands with us to launch our journal were all mid-career writers (at best), so where would we eventually find replacements? – and partly altruistic ‒ we knew the future of the art of criticism rested in the hands of younger people. In addition we believed that exposing them to a variety of presenters’ program notes, press releases, ads, and more extensive marketing materials would advance their fledgling careers as artists, teachers, and/or eventual patrons.

We started close by, at Meredith College, where one of our founders had taken voice lessons years before, and with which institution we enjoyed a cordial working relationship. Brevard College was next ‒ our music editor had been based in the mountains. Then came UNCG, NCCU, Guilford, Duke, and UNCC. To date, 24 interns have participated in CVNC‘s intern program; six are still writing for CVNC, and one is currently our calendar editor. For the record, the interns have accounted for a little over 25% of our writers, over the life of our platform ‒ so clearly we, too, have been delighted with the results!

Meredith has been our stalwart ally all along, but we continue to expand and are presently seeking additional students ‒ from sophomore through graduate school ‒ with the help of an educational coordinator at the Department of Cultural Resources.

For more information about the program itself (and, along the way, about CVNC), click here.