Arts publications offer valuable showcase opportunities for students

Julia Zaksek

Do want to see your art somewhere other than your mom’s fridge? Try a literary and arts magazine.

Working without an audience can be difficult for artists. Without someone to see your work, motivation can quickly dwindle. Literary and arts magazines provide a ready audience of peers and UT faculty who often have the same interests as the artists featured.

Some of the literary and arts magazines run by student organizations around campus include Apricity, Echo Literary and Arts Magazine and Spark Magazine. These magazines publish a variety of student work, from articles to poems to fashion shoot photos. Submitting art to UT’s student magazines gives Longhorns an invaluable opportunity to share their passion and improve their craft.

“Publishing in an arts magazine lets other passionate people appreciate what you’ve worked hard on,” Jacqueline Porteny, assistant modeling director at Spark Magazine, said.  

Creating work for a specific publication and audience can help students hone their skills, in both artistry and marketing their art to specific publications.

“You may have to consider a magazine’s ‘brand,’ so to speak, and research previous publications,” Sarah Ferring, past submitter of Echo Literary and Arts Magazine, said via email. “It can really help someone grow from hobby-writer (or) artist to mindful content creator.”

Magazines can also offer students resources to work on their projects. Spark has art directors, hair and make-up teams and models for student photoshoots, all at the magazine’s expense. There’s no cost to students.

Additionally, literary and arts magazines are a way for students to advertise their work for free and with less hassle.

Conventional ways of advertising, such as creating or buying a website and networking on social media, can be expensive and time consuming. It’s added work on top of creating pieces. Literary magazines have done the work for you. They pay for the printing and distribution of the magazine featuring your piece.

Some magazines have fairly wide distribution. Spark Magazine distributed 400 copies of their magazine last semester.

“Having work in an arts magazine is a great way to expand your portfolio as an artist,” Rebecca Wong, assistant art director at Spark Magazine, said. “Potential employers can see your work as a professional product.”

Wong says students often don’t submit their work because they fear facing tough competition. However, she also points out competition is beneficial for growing as an artist.

“My work gets stronger when I am competing with someone else,” advertising junior Wong said. “You work on your art more, which obviously helps you get better, and competition pushes you to get better.”

The risks are low. Rejection from a small college magazine has few consequences.

“It’s a relatively low risk experience,” linguistics senior Ferring said. “You don’t ruin your name in a high-brow circle of literary magazines, or risk your concepts being stolen by competitors. You just get to try on the process and learn how to prepare your best work so that it has a fighting chance.”

Submitting art to a literary magazine can seem daunting, but it’s a rewarding experience with few downsides. Try it.

Zaksek is a Plan II and women’s and gender studies freshman from Allen.