For the first 60-plus years of its existence, the Empire didn’t have a dedicated Arts section. Arts-related stories were mixed in with general local news, often in brief form or listed in the “Happenings” section on page two or three. When the first Arts section debuted in October 1978, it wasn’t much of an improvement. Called Time Out, it featured a combination of local event briefs and wire copy, with stories about celebrities down South often hogging most of the room.
But beginning in the early 1980s, Arts stretched out into its own editorial space. A tabloid section called Preview debuted in February 1983, under then-managing editor Carl Sampson, providing room for not only multiple stories about local artists and arts activities, but also many more photos, most taken by Mark Kelley and Brian Wallace, the staff photographers during that time.
Leafing through old editions of Preview is a lot of fun -- so many familiar names and faces, those who, decades ago, began to make their indelible mark on the flourishing Juneau arts scene. Some of these photos are reproduced on these pages -- in recognition of the work of Empire photographers Kelley and Wallace, and later Michael Penn, in documenting these artists, and in celebration of the artists themselves -- along with the many, many others who worked alongside them.
Since Preview, there have been other versions of the Arts section -- including the tabloids This Week (December 2001-May 2006) and Hooligan (June 2006-December 2008) -- and many bylines under the Arts headlines -- including Riley Woodford, Lori Thomson, Svend Holst, Ed Schoenfeld, Chris Russ, Mark Sabbatini, Kristan Hutchison, Karleen Grummett, Kyoko Ikenoue, Betsy Logenbaugh, and later, Julia OMalley, Korry Keeker, Teri Tibbett, and Eric Morrison. But the mission of the section has remained the same: to give readers a hint of the richness of talent and energy that makes our arts scene thrive.
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