published Thursday, December 26th, 2013

City Beat: My resolution is to pay for more art

Last year was an educational one for me, I have to admit. I’ve done this job essentially for almost three decades and written probably a couple of hundred stories previewing, promoting and showcasing all manner of arts and entertainment events. I’ve been happy to do it, and will continue to do so.

A lot of those events involved artists — musicians, painters, sculptors, glassblowers, storytellers, dancers and actors — who had donated their time, talents or treasures for the cause. I felt good about letting people know about the cause and the event, and very likely so did the artists.

I never really gave much thought to the idea that very often the artists are asked to donate their work or time, or that a lot the events we have are free to attend. Everybody likes something for free or at a discounted price, and I truly believe the artists are happy to help others, but I worry it has devalued our perception of art and the artist.

Personally, I do feel somehow better about myself if I attend a free symphony show, or I spend a few hours perusing the really cool pieces at an event featuring donated or discounted art pieces. I feel somehow superior about myself, like I should start talking through my teeth, and drinking my malt liquor with my pinky out. But, if all I go home with is a cup of coffee and a “$5 book marker,” as one colleague says, I haven’t really supported the arts have I?

Anyway, my resolution, though I don’t really make such things, is to at least be more aware of such things and to actually buy or pay for some of the many wonderful artistic and cultural things we have around us.

* If you’d like a little warm and fuzzy moment, and perhaps a reminder of how lucky those of us who are home surrounded by family really are, while many brave men and women fight overseas, Tommy Jett had 10-year-old Ivey Woolf on his show last week. Ivey’s dad, Tripps Woolf, currently stationed in Afghanistan, called in, and the father and daughter spent time visiting.

During the conversation, Woolf reports that he and his fellow Navy men were about to begin distributing more than 1,000 toys and gifts to local families.

You can watch the video of the show, which also features Jett doing his thing and playing a whole bunch of classic rock and Christmas tunes, at or at

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfree or 423-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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