|Mark Lowry & Michael Warner|
Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order. Know an artistic mind who deserves a little bit of blog love? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the whos and whys.
When Mark Lowry was contemplating the launch of a website covering regional theater he didn't have a whole lot to go on. In 2009, when TheaterJones.com launched, blogs were still a relatively new phenomenon. Even more rare? A blog (or anything for that matter) dedicated to regional theater coverage.
But when you know, you know. Lowry and fellow Theater Jones founding partner Elaine Liner (you may knew her as the Dallas Observer theater critic) saw what was happening at newspapers around the country; they and fellow arts critics were the first round of writers to get the ax in the battle between print and online media. Lowry and Liner did not plan on going quietly.
They wanted a venue for smart, regional arts writing that wouldn't live or die at the whim of corporate ownership. And Theater Jones was born under the belief that consistent conversation about the arts is vital to a local scene (and maybe just a little bit out of a selfish, and perfectly understandable excuse to keep writing).
It's probably not surprising that for the first few years the website wasn't making much money, if any. But eventually they saw a return on a risky investment. Almost six years after the website went live, Lowry now makes enough money from the site to pay not only himself and business partner/developer Michael Warner, but also his writers and photographers (who used to work for free), and in the process has pioneered the creation of a sustainable online model for local arts coverage. No small feat in today's competitive online marketplace.
Lowry, ever modest, would probably downplay his role in the continued viability of the Dallas performing arts scene, but ask anyone involved in Dallas arts - they all read Theater Jones.
Get to know Michael and Mark, the duo giving the Dallas performing arts a foothold on the Internet. More »