Arts Wire
The Arts Online
Beginning in 1992

Judy Malloy

Memories of Arts Wire

In 1988, in the days before the World Wide Web, a group of artists and arts workers got together at Orcas Island to discuss new ways of supporting artists. Many ideas came out of this conference, which was organized by the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the participants wanted to keep talking. It was Seattle-based artist and arts administrator Anne Focke who came up with the idea of Arts Wire. Arts Wire began to take shape after a meeting with NYFA Director Ted Berger and others.

Begun in 1992, Arts Wire, a program of the New York Foundation for the Arts, was an online computer network that brought artists and arts organizations together to talk and work on the Internet -- providing access to news information and dialogue on the social, economic, philosophical, intellectual, and political conditions affecting the arts and artists.

When Arts Wire was founded, I had been making art online on ArtCom Electronic Network on the WELL since 1986. I had also been the first editor of Leonardo Electronic News. (Now Leonardo Electronic Almanac) and worked at Deep Creek Camp, showing Arts Students how to get online. I was looking for a job. In 1993, I began working for Arts Wire, initially with network artist Anna Couey, Arts Wire's first Network Coordinator, who brought both network experience and a community-centered approach to Arts Wire. I worked for Arts Wire from 1993-2002 -- in the early years helping the arts community to learn how to use modems and computers and hosting and coordinating Arts Wire conferencing. Later, I helped artists and arts organizations create and post web content, and I was editor of Arts Wire Current (that became NYFA Current) from 1996-2004.

But in 1993, I was happy to work to bring artists and arts organizations online. At that time, going online was quite difficult. It meant getting a modem, (They weren't standard with computers) then getting it to work with your computer which wasn't always easy. Then you needed a connection to get to the system and then you needed to negotiate the system using text-based commands. Helping people get online required technical skill and a lot of time and patience. There were constant incompatibilities and technical failures, and it was *very* slow.

Initially led by Anne Focke and then by Michigan-based poet, Joe Matuzak, Arts Wire was run from a virtual online "office", a staff conference where from all over the country, we met to discuss our work: Barry Lasky and David Green at NYFA in New York City; Joe Matuzak in Ann Arbor, MI; flutist, arts administrator Beth Kanter in Norfolk, MA; Tommer Peterson in Seattle; I (new media poet Judy Malloy) in Northern California; and Kim Adams in Detroit, MI.

The Steering Committee also "met" online. Among others, over the years they included Jane Bello, Association of Hispanic Arts; Ted Berger, NYFA; Nancy Clarke, American Music Center; Steve Durland, artist/writer, High Performance; Pauline Oliveros, composer; Randy Ross, American Indian Telecommunications; Gary Larson, National Endowment for the Arts; artist Louis LeRoy, Association of American Cultures; Bill Pratt, Montana Arts Council and Dan Martin, Director of the Master of Arts Management Program at Carnegie Mellon University, which collaborated with Arts Wire beginning in 1996.

Until 2001, Arts Wire hosted over 80 arts discussion conferences and over 100 websites for artists and arts organizations, and our Map included links to over 400 artists and arts organization members.

Among the conferences we hosted were

AIDSwire -- AIDS information. (maintained by Michael Tidmus)

ARTISTS -- a conference for and about artists.

ABBNET (Art Beyond Boundaries) -- for the states that sponsored the annual ART BEYOND BOUNDARIES conference: Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

CENTER FOR SAFETY IN THE ARTS -- information on Art Hazards (Maintained by Michael McCann)

INTERACTIVE -- A conference on electronic art and art on the Internet. Interactive contained both core documents and interactive online interviews with artists in the field. Created and hosted by Anna Couey and Judy Malloy,

NATIVE ARTS NETWORK ASSOCIATION (NANA) -- a group of Native Arts Organizations, from New York City to California, including Joanna Osborne Bigfeather, American Indian Community House, NYC; Janeen Antoine, American Indian Contemporary Arts; E. Donald Two Rivers, American Indian Economic Development Assoc, Chicago, IL; Jennifer Baxter, Guilford Native American Association, Greensboro, NC; Pat Petrivelli, Institute of Alaska Native Arts; Susan Stewart, Montana Indian Contemporary Arts, Bozeman, MT -- with core involvement from Atatl in Phoenix, AZ. (Carla Roberts and Wendy Weston-Ben) NANA was funded by the Nathan Cummings Foundation with tech help by Randy Ross and Judy Malloy. I particularly remember going to a Pow Wow with Atlatl in Phoenix after working in their office.

NEA INFO -- Hosted by The National Endowment for the Arts, NEA INFO contained a comprehensive listing of grant recipients.

NEWMUSNET -- One of Arts Wire's first online Interest Groups, NEWMUSNET was started in the summer of 1992 and hosted by composer Pauline Oliveros.

NPN -- The National Performance Network (NPN) received funding to begin its primary sponsors online to conduct NPN business and talk about the field. Among the people who kept this conference lively was Mark Russell of PS 122.

PROJECTARTNET -- created in 1993 by Aida Mancillas and Lynn Susholtz, PROJECTARTNET was a San Diego-based community arts networking project that brought children from schools in immigrant neighborhoods online to create a community history.

WESTAF -- The Western State Arts Foundation is a regional arts organization serving the Western states. On AW, they initiated a subscriber-based online version of their job listing service ARTJOB.

In 1996, Arts Wire hosted an online component of the FOURTH NATIONAL BLACK WRITERS CONFERENCE that was held at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York. The theme was "Black Literature in the 90's: a Renaissance to End all Renaissances?" Keynote speakers for the Black Writers Conference were Paule Marshall and Amiri Baraka. Marita Golden, Terry McMillan, Bebe Moore Campbell, Walter Mosley, Arthur Flowers, Thulani Davis, and others participated in a series of panels that included "Black Literature: Who are the Readers?" and "Black Literature: The Politics of Publishing." Texts of many of the speeches and online components for many of the panels were available on Arts Wire.

Other conferences hosted on Arts Wire included PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY; and LITNET.

Arts Wire Current/NYFA Current

From 1996 to 2004, I (Judy Malloy) was the editor of Arts Wire's online news, Arts Wire Current, which was renamed NYFA Current in mid November 2002. I was responsible for the writing, editing, HTML and production which included two versions -- the ListServ version and the web version. The first Arts Wire news editors were Anna Couey, Penny Boyer, and David Green.

As editor of Current, I worked to create a publication that reached a large niche audience -- covering arts information not covered by the major media -- such as new music, alternative art spaces, performance art, arts advocacy, small dance companies, artists' websites, and much more. In producing each issue, my editorial approach was to weave together information that was not always a strongly stated theme but was a series of contingent themes. It was an information artist's approach that worked not only to focus on individual voices but also to create a coherent whole.

Art Wire Current 1998

Selected Coverage:

__ "1998 - The Arts Year in Review", Arts Wire Current, December 29, 1998

Art Wire Current 2000

Selected Coverage:

__ "Artists/Arts Organizations at the Heart of the Millennium Celebration"
Arts Wire Current, January 4, 2000

__ "Continental Harmony Enables 56 Performances of New Music in 49 States"
Arts Wire Current, December 12, 2000

Art Wire Current 2001

Selected Coverage:

__ 2001 -- The Arts Year in Review

__ Back to Art School Issue
Arts Wire Current, September 4, 2001

__ :In the Wake of the Terrorist Attack, Artists and Arts Organizations Rally to Help
Those in Need; Jamaican Sculptor Michael Richards Missing; LMCC Offices Obliterated"

Arts Wire Current, September 18, 2001

__ "Michael Richards, 1963 - 2001"
Arts Wire Current, September 25, 2001

__ "Many Artists in LMCC World Views Program Lost all Their Work; But Group Pulls Together to Mourn Those Who Died and to Dialogue about the Future"
Arts Wire Current, October 2, 2001

__ "Art Hopes and Wishes for the Holidays and the Coming Year"
Arts Wire Current, December 18, 2001

Art Wire Current 2002

Selected Coverage:

__ 2002 - The Arts Year in Review


__ "Six Months After September 11, 2001, Artists Make Art in the Aftermath of Disaster --
Illuminating the Night, Expressing Diverse Visions, Reflecting and Narrating
the Hopes and Fears of Individuals and Communities"
, Arts Wire Current, March 19, 2002

__ "Despite Notable Successes, Women Directors and Playwrights are Under-represented
in the Theater, NYSCA Report Finds"

Arts Wire Current, March 26, 2002

__ "MUSIC ALIVE Generates Support by Symphony Orchestras for Living Composers and Their Music"
Arts Wire Current, April 30, 2002

__ "Arts Community Urges Congress to Restore Individual Artists Fellowships,
Suggests Ways to Improve the Granting Process; Affirming Community Arts Approach,
Ways to Broaden Access to Local Funding are Also Suggested"

Arts Wire Current, May 27, 2002

"Michael Richards, 1963-2001"
Arts Wire Current, September 10, 2002

NYFA Current 2003

Selected Coverage:

"Center for Arts and Culture Report Recommends Increased Federal
Funding for the Cultural Agencies and for Access to the Arts for People
with Disabilities"
, NYFA Current, January 22, 2003

This page was translated into Romanian by Alexander Ovsov and is available at Amintiri din sârmă Arte

Some of Arts Wire's Organizational Members
-- 1992-2001

Alliance of Artists Communities

American Indian Contemporary Arts

American Indian Telecommunications

American Music Center

Americans for the Arts

Arlington Arts - Virginia

Artist Trust - Seattle

ArtServe Michigan


Artslynx Colorado

Association of Hispanic Arts

Associated Writing Programs

Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers

The Association of Performing Arts Presenters

Asian Cultural Council

Audio Description

Bronx Council on the Arts

Carnegie Mellon University Masters of Art Management

Carribean Cultural Center

Chicago Cultural Center

Chicago Theatre Homepage

City of San Antonio Department of Arts and Cultural Affairs


Colorado Council on the Arts

The Corning Museum of Glass

Council of Literary Magazines and Presses

College Art Association

Cranbrook Academy of Art


Dance Theater Workshop

DiverseWorks - Houston, TX

European Computer Network for the Arts

Illinois Arts Council

The Joyce Theater - New York, NY

Junebug Productions

The Kitchen - New York City

Legion Arts

Maine Sponsors Association

Manhattan New Music Project

Media Alliance

Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation

Montana Arts Council

The National Alliance for Media Arts
and Culture (NAMAC)

National Arts & Disabilities Center

National Arts Education Partnership

National Assembly of State Arts Agencies

National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures

The National Black Writers Conference

The National Campaign for Freedom of Expression

National Endowment for the Arts

National Performance Network

Native Arts Circle

Near Northwest Arts Council

Nebraska Arts Council

New Jersey State Council on the Arts

New York Foundation for the Arts

On The Boards - Seattle

New York State Council on the Arts

North Carolina Arts Council

North Dakota Council on the Arts

Ohio Arts Council

Pauline Oliveros Foundation

Opera America

Out North - Alaska

Pennsylvania Council on the Arts

People for the American Way

Pittsburgh Dance Council Homepage

Poetry Flash

Poets & Writers

Preserve at Jacob's Pillow


Real Art Ways

Rhode Island State Council on the Arts

Roulette Intermedium

PS 122 - New York

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston: ARC

Frank Silvera Writers' Workshop

Society for Photographic Education

South Dakota Arts Council

State Arts Council of Oklahoma

Texas Commission on the Arts

Theatre Communications Group

Third World Newsreel

3-Legged Dog

Space One Eleven

Virginia Commission for the Arts

Walker Art Center Performing Arts

Andy Warhol Foundation

WESTAF, the Western States Arts Federation

Women of Color Press

Women's Studio Workshop

The Writer's Voice of the West Side Y

Wyoming Arts Council