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InLight Numbers Story Is Apples to Oranges


My collaborator and I live in Richmond, and our piece, “for Gabriel,” won best in show at InLight 2009. We were not interviewed for the Style Weekly piece concerning the attendance figures (“Arts Boosters Peddle Programs, Bad Statistics,” Street Talk, Oct. 28).

I am disappointed that Style's single InLight follow-up focuses on attendance.  Style dismisses InLight's methodology for estimating attendance, but it bases its inflammatory headline on a lazy apples-to-oranges comparison. 

InLight's conservative and transparent metric estimated that every other attendee received a program. Instead of criticizing the methodology by comparing it to other established metrics, Style disputes the figure with anecdotes and “an informal poll.”

My experience contradicts Style's anecdotal evidence. Attendees constantly asked me, “How do I get an InLight guide?” implying far fewer than 50 percent of visitors received programs. Estimating crowds spanning five hours across 10 city blocks is problematic, but I encountered each exhibit and found dense crowds with people happy to engage with the festival.

Some criticized the event's location and timing. Can Richmond only embrace art on monthly Fridays in designated neighborhoods? The dedicated, passionate InLight and 1708 Gallery volunteers and exhibiting artists we met vociferously shouted “No!”

For events like InLight to flourish, we must commit to strengthening our community, ripe with passionate artists and supporters, not blindly, but critically and responsibly. This article fails on all accounts.

Roberto Ventura, Richmond

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