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Hot off the press! Celebration unveils reimagined arts journal

There was spin art, free pizza, even the chance to build your own terrarium. Washington State University Vancouver students, staff, faculty and community members visited the Firstenburg Student Commons to pick up a copy of the newest issue of Salmon Creek Journal and enjoy the party celebrating the 2017 issue’s launch. This year’s issue of the journal broke new ground by blending traditional and digital art in a print edition and a digital edition of the publication.

Salmon Creek Journal is an art and literary publication at WSU Vancouver. The journal began in the 1990s and has since grown to display local creative work. The 2017 issue saw a record number of submissions, and was both longer and larger than previous issues. Kaitlyn Slorey, the social media manager for Salmon Creek Journal, said “There was some really quality work this year. I was so impressed with everything.”

The Salmon Creek Journal staff goes on an annual retreat to review all the work and decide what gets published. The process is done through blind submission and judging so bias can be eliminated in the staff’s decision-making process. Austin Lewis, web and layout manager, commented on the difficulty of choosing the best of the many great submissions they received. Lewis said that the staff spent one hour deciding which one of two pieces should make it into the journal.

“There are so many parts of the creative community on campus and I’m glad that this year we were able to diversify the amount that we could display and showcase,” said Tyler Hickey, prose and poetry editor. This year’s journal also features a digital version online in order to display pieces like animations, podcasts, videos and websites that were not necessarily created for or well represented in print.

“This journal wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t for all of us,” Editor-in-Chief Amanda Flynn said as she looked at her team. Turning back to the audience she continued “but it wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t for all of you.”

Artists recognized with editors’ choice awards had the opportunity to explain their pieces or read their submission to the audience.

Marilyn Johnston, a poet and writing teacher from Salem read her flash fiction piece titled “Final Notice.” Before reading it she assured listeners that the good thing about flash fiction is its short length.

The editor’s choice for poetry was a piece written by Elizabeth Lester, titled “One Thirty A.M.”

As an intermission, several faculty members from the English department spoke about classes that would be offered next year. Howard Aaron, a professor at WSU Vancouver, introduced English 451, a class for advanced creative writing that will be offered in fall 2017. He stated that the class will be very self directed because “It’s up to you to write about what you want to write about, not [up] to me to dictate what you should write about.”

More submissions were recognized after the faculty intermission. Kate Palermini’s “Episode 5: Dungeons and Dragons” of the “We’re All Nerds Here” podcast was selected as the performance arts editor’s choice.

“The Fortunate Cat Occurrence” by Abigail Hughes, a story about hospice care she described as “edgy,” was chosen as the editor’s choice for prose.

For artwork, “A Version of Us” drawn by Valerie Parrish was chosen as the visual arts editor’s choice. The piece itself took months to draw and is a part of a set that Parrish has been working on for about five years.

Other editor’s choice pieces included a visual arts piece titled “Lovely Vermin” by Grace Edwards and a digital art piece titled “Diamond in the Rough” by Brianna Savage.

The event concluded with each member of the Salmon Creek Journal presenting their thoughts on the work they put into this year’s edition. Flynn fought back tears as she expressed how proud she was of the entire team.

“I would consider this one of the best small groups that I’ve worked in,” said Jason Cardenas, visual arts editor, as the team members all nodded in agreement. “We put effort into it of course, but it was so effortless in a sense. We worked as a cohesive unit,” Cardenas said.

“All of us put in a lot of work and it was all to represent your pieces and be able to display them in a way that is representative of how amazing they all are,” Hickey said.

Slorey encouraged the audience saying “Your artwork is amazing, don’t ever discourage that. Your work has value and never hesitate to come to us and submit.”

Lewis challenged the audience to think about helping with the creation of future editions of the journal, noting that several positions were opening up. “If anyone in here is looking for next year’s position and is interested in applying, I would like to encourage and challenge you to do better.” Applications for next year’s positions may be found on CougSync or on the Salmon Creek Journal website.

The journal’s editors encourage students pick up a copy of the latest edition of the Salmon Creek Journal in the Office of Student Involvement or visit their website. They also encourage students to keep producing creative works so they are ready when submissions open for next year’s journal.

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