Culture & Change

For me, the story's the thing. Yes, I love keeping up on the meta aspects of the online world: the ever-changing array of tools in the digital journalist's toolbox, new platforms for online publishing and content sharing, new thinking about the way ideas travel in a networked age. But it all takes a back seat to great stories. And the ones I most want to tell involve the ways that culture and change intersect. Activism that cuts through, engaged art, under-exposed voices and ideas, figures that (re)connect us in troubled times, innovative projects that nudge us to see (or build) the world differently—that's the stuff for me. I've brought this thinking to much of my professional work, as managing editor of the Walker Art Center's award-winning digital magazine, Walker Reader (where I created series including the multi-author tool Soundboard, Artist Op-Eds, and Lowercase P: Artists & Politics); as a contributor to publications from Adbusters and ArtNews to Utne Reader; as editor of the late, great nonprofit news site, the Minnesota Independent; and an an independent blogger and sometimes artist. 

Want to work together? I'm eager to hear about opportunities to collaborate, freelance projects, or your latest big idea. Let's get in touch!

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Photo: With Coco Fusco (as Dr. Zira from Planet of the Apes); photo by Gene Pittman, Walker Art Center

Photo: With Coco Fusco (as Dr. Zira from Planet of the Apes); photo by Gene Pittman, Walker Art Center



"I think of Paul Schmelzer and the Walker Reader as being really aligned, I find a lot of creative inspiration from the pieces they commission."

—Marisa Mazria Katz, SFMOMA's OpenSpace, Mar. 9, 2017

"The Walker's new site is helmed by Paul Schmelzer, who has long run the excellent Eyeteeth blog. If anyone can figure out how to turn The Walker's website into an art mag frontend for the museum's collection, Schmelzer can." 

—Alexis Madrigal, The Atlantic, Dec. 5, 2011

"Schmelzer is an award-winning journalist who has worked at both the local and national levels. In part because of Schmelzer, no American art museum is more prepared to produce journalism than is the Walker."

—Tyler Green, Modern Art Notes, Dec. 5, 2011


More mentions

"In Ways We Have Yet to Imagine: The Final Editor’s Letter," Marisa Mazria Katz, Creative Time Reports, Mar. 1, 2017.

"What is the role of the digital-age arts critic? Superscript conference hopes for answers," Chris Ip, Columbia Journalism Review, May 19, 2015

"Artists insist on puncturing the bubble," Modern Art NotesOct. 23, 2012

"The museum website as newspaper: An interview with Walker Art Center," Seb Chan, Fresh & New, Dec. 2, 2011

"The Walker’s new website is an earthshaking game-changer," Museum Nerd, Dec. 2, 2011

"Can art still play a subversive role in society?" Steve Winn, SFGate, Mar. 29, 2006