About: The Legend of ArtSTALK

Just another day in the ArtSTALK office for editors Meryn Fluker (left) and Melea Dau (right)

What is this ArtSTALK thing, anyway?

ArtSTALK celebrates arts and culture – as well as arts journalism – through informed and occasionally witty writing. The website is a passion project created by people who are passionate about popular culture, and features original commentary, reviews and reporting that cover all colors of the arts and culture rainbow – anything from Play Doh to Playboy, “La Bamba” to La Strada and The Marriage of Figaro to “Betheny Getting Married?” is fair game.

I’m busy. Why should I read ArtSTALK?

ArtSTALK promotes enlightened discussion of pop culture and the ways in which it affects our lives. Our writers are trained in arts journalism, and ArtSTALK provides a space to share with others who are similarly educated and fanatical. We are as dedicated to quality writing as we are to generating discussion – and we need your participation to make this happen! Besides, don’t tell me you’re not interested in intellectualizing your cultural experiences. You aren’t just watching TV for fun, are you?

I only read things written by A.O. Scott and/or Perez Hilton. Who writes for ArtSTALK?

All writers are connected to the University of Iowa’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication in some capacity, either as alumni or current students. Although we each have different backgrounds and have ended up with various careers in various locations, we were all trained in artistic criticism in the middle of the county, outside of a media-heavy culture, and are thus afforded a unique shared perspective. That, and our family members are tired of hearing us talk about the deeper implications of Lindsay Lohan’s downward spiral.

They say Wolverine had indestructible adamantium fused to his skeleton during secret military experiments. What’s ArtSTALK’s origin story?

The legend of ArtSTALK is a strange and exciting tale indeed. Conceived as a cathartic outlet for a small group of friends to harness the pop culture references running rampant in our minds, Melea Dau (aka editor of ArtSTALK, aka Babe-raham Lincoln) decided to instead thrust them (both the friends and the references) upon the world in the form of one bodacious website.

What’s up with that ear of corn in your logo? It looks kind of phallic.

The corn, as well as the “stalk” portion of our moniker, is a reference to our shared University of Iowa educational experience (we have a lot of corn in Iowa, perhaps you’ve heard?).  But while we’re on the subject, “stalk” is also a tribute to our fervent obsession to “talk” about the “arts.” (Get it? Get it?) Therefore, if you see a phallus, that’s your problem.

Okay, you convinced me. ArtSTALK seems pretty cool. How can I contribute?

Although ArtSTALK writers can often be found debating pop culture trivia with their own mirror reflections, having a one-sided conversation is not as amusing as you might think. So please, take pity – make sure to comment on any post that you love/hate (or love to hate). (Bonus: We might even respond!)

We’d love to chat with any arts writer who was trained at the University of Iowa about joining the team. And if you have that UI connection and simply want to submit a story or two, that’s cool as well. Shoot us an e-mail at emandem.editors@gmail.com.

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