Literary magazine spreads creativity

The school literary magazine, Artifex, is a student run club that makes a yearly issue featuring art and writing pieces from students here at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Anyone, can submit a form of art, writing piece or both. Club members will then decide which art and writing piece go well together to create the magazine.

Melissa Falkowski, adviser for the literary magazine, began sponsoring it in 2008, and started back up again after stopping for two years. Before she became the sponsor, there used to be a literary magazine, but it did not last because it was not a paid supplement position. Falkowski was a creative writing teacher in 2008, and brought the idea back into light after attending journalism conventions.

“When I went to journalism conventions, there were other schools with literary magazines,” says Falkowski. “So I felt like if there were other schools with that opportunity for students to publish their writing and artwork, Douglas students should have that too.”

The first year it began, it was a joint effort between the students that were in the creative writing program and the students in yearbook. Students in yearbook knew how to use the computers to create a layout, and the creative writing students supplied the writing portion. To find art for the magazine, they went out to classes to find students with art that they could use.

“The students create the magazine and come up with the theme,” says Falkowski. “They have to write theme copy that ties the magazine together, and come up with a unifying design concept that feeds into the verbal theme. The work inside the magazine is supposed to be represented of different writing genres.”

Any student, and even teacher can send in their work. Students have the opportunity to join the club, but most of the kids in it are in the creative writing program. To be in an editor type position, members would need to have been in the club and have contributed to the club in some way.

“A lot of times the kids that are contributing writing come from the creative writing program and the students submitting art come from the art program and advanced art programs,” says Falkowski. “However anyone can submit anything that they’ve written or made to the magazine for consideration.”

The funding for the club comes from the The Lawrence A. Sanders Foundation, which is an art foundation in memory of Lawrence Sanders. They send in $5,000 to support the Literary Magazine and give them the opportunity to feature more art and writing.

“We started getting a grant from them because my mom works for an accounting firm and one of the partners in that firm sits on the foundation board and they give out art grants to people who apply for it,” Falkowski said. “We wrote a letter to them explaining the purpose of the magazine to publish student art, and they were very supportive.”

Junior Julia Salamone is Editor-in-Chief of the literary magazine. She joined her freshman year of high school because she really wanted to become a part of a publication that put students artwork and writing on display, since she has always been interested in both.

“I like most going through submissions and seeing different people’s artwork, photography, writing, etc and being able to see the talent possessed in the school,” Salamone said.

There is one magazine for the whole year and 500 copies made. They give a copy to the students who submitted work and the students participated in creating the magazine first. Then they are distributed through the English teachers to anyone who wants one.

The members decide what the design layout should look like based on the submissions that they receive. Then they model the book after what they decided should be put in it, deriving ideas from each piece.

“So far we have received a decent amount of submissions, but it is still early on and the submission deadline is the end of January,” says Salamone.

The literary magazine gives students and others on campus the opportunity to show their creative freedom and encourages them to show their talents.

“I think it’s important for students to submit to lit mag because it gives them the ability to be published, even in a school publication, which allows them to display their work to the student body,” Salamone said. “I also think self expression through different medias of art, writing and photography are important, and should always be encouraged to be shown from students.”


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