I vaguely remember hearing about this program some time ago, but thanks to NYFA’s Current news letter, I have been reminded about the artist reality show, ArtStar. NYFA features an article by one of the contestants of the show which never got picked up by any network. So unless you had the Voom satellite service, you probably never saw it.

The article implies the episodes might be web and podcast so I figured I would promote it a little in the hopes of generating some inertia in that direction. From what I have read, there have been a number of blogs who have covered the show. But if you are like me, you haven’t read those blogs so I figure I am helping reach a larger audience. Despite some criticism about the show, I would imagine it would still be interesting to watch and perhaps use as inspiration for bigger and better programs in the some vein.

What makes the show worthy of being view rather than the multitude of other reality shows out there? Well for one thing, the show apparently takes the novel approach of not generating conflict and tossing people off each week. Although the original intent was apparently to identify a single artist who would have a solo show, Zachary Drucker writes in the Current article that the entire group was granted a show.

A review of the show I found on Slate felt that the lack of competition and in many instances, lack of clear goals for each task, tended to make the show muddled and a little boring. A Wikipedia entry on the show mentions that some feel the show “should have been billed instead (and produced) as an art documentary.”

I guess the show doesn’t exactly qualify as a reality show anyway since the artists don’t have to compete tooth and nail with each other as they do in real life. But to my mind, the whole project is a worthy one, whether it was ever filmed or not, because it provided artists with an opportunity to work collaboratively and receive critiques from established artists without the anxieties the real world entails.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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