Welcome back to the Student Arts Spotlight blog series!
This series highlights the work of student organizations and clubs at the University of Virginia and Piedmont Virginia Community College who have gone above and beyond curriculum to create art. These groups of young artists are recognized for both their exceptional dedication to the arts and their incredible work ethic.
This week, we spoke with third year English and History double major Erin Comerford, Editor in Chief of Glass, Garden. Glass, Garden is a student run “do-it-yourself” literary-arts magazine at UVa, produced primarily by hand and concentrating in the arts of handwriting, papercraft, hands-on art, experimental design and presentation, and superb art & writing.
What is the mission of Glass, Garden and how is it relevant to the UVa and Charlottesville communities?
The basic mission of Glass, Garden is to provide an alternative, do-it-yourself literary-arts magazine for U.Va and for the Charlottesville community as a whole. We want to push the boundaries of the magazine format in terms of depth, texture, etc.; for example, last year Glass,Garden was published inside of a terrarium. This year, we are really excited to add a recorded element to the product, to represent the physical voices of our artists as well as their written words. We are also working on a collaboration between two artists on grounds who will represent the same space musically and through photography. These are just a few ways in which we try to go above and beyond the average printed product. Our project is relevant to Charlottesville because we offer a very creative community an outlet and a source for exceptionally inventive and nuanced artwork and thoughts. We also try to give the student body an alternative to the sometimes inflexible standards of other productions.
What are some of the advantages or challenges that you face as an entirely student-run organization?
We’ve got a lot of both. On the one hand, we are responsible for doing everything ourselves: spreading the word about joining and submitting, applying for funding, etc. Because we are such a small organization, it’s difficult to do these things alone. On the other hand, however, we are incredibly lucky because we can really do whatever we want as far as formatting and content, which, in my opinion, is what makes Glass, Garden such a unique and interesting publication.
How has Glass, Garden affected your education at UVa? What have you learned from running or participating in Glass, Garden that you will carry with you after graduating?
Glass, Garden has been a really interesting experience. Having to come up with a format, a plan, and compile submissions all by ourselves has been a serious task. I think that the most important discovery is that running this kind of thing takes a really persistent personality; you can’t be afraid to reach out to anyone and everyone in the community who might be helpful to you. For instance, reaching out to a nearby publisher of poetry chapbooks, I expected to get pricing on a certain type of publication but instead got a much better, different lead. I think that that will be the most important thing that I carry with me, that ability to network and engage other members of the community who are doing really inspiring things, and can really help get the creative dominoes tipping.
How and when will the next edition of Glass, Garden be available to the UVa and Charlottesville communities?
Glass, Garden publishes once yearly, at the end of U.Va’s spring semester. The next publication of Glass, Garden will be available by April/May 2015, depending on how well our schedule works out. It will be a limited, but free, release, and we will most likely be hosting a release party somewhere on grounds. U.Va and Charlottesville community members are more than welcome to check out our Facebook to stay updated on this event!
How can the Charlottesville community engage with Glass, Garden’s mission?
We will still be accepting student submissions of poetry, prose, or visual art until the end of the fall semester, so that’s a really great way to get involved. U.Va students are also more than welcome to attend our meetings- every Tuesday at 7 PM in the basement of Newcomb Hall. As far as the larger Charlottesville community goes, we’d love to get feedback on our project and, in the future, hopefully find ways to collaborate creatively with the community. Most importantly, community members may track of us on Facebook and attend the release party next spring, where selected artists will read their pieces and we will be able to talk more about the future of the production.
For more information about Glass, Garden, visit the website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.