‘On the Verge’ of something big

Art majors bring art and community together by printing own magazine, raising art awareness

Four girls who are all art majors hope to close the gap between students and the community with art and design.

How are they doing it? They started their own magazine.

The student-run magazine “On the Verge” started last year and the staff hopes to get the work of fellow students out in the community by featuring them in the magazine.

“On the Verge” started in spring 2009 when art department advisor Dr. Sameh El Kharbawy asked interior design students Jenn Goforth and Theresa Lafranchise to create a newsletter for art students.

The newsletter was used to inform art and design students, as well as the community, of the various artistic talents in Fresno. Because raising money is a challenge, Goforth and Lafranchise found advertisers and sponsors, and that is how the 12-page magazine started.

With local mentors including several architects and local art organization Creative Fresno, “On the Verge” grew faster than expected.

“We knew nothing about magazines when we started and it has grown so much in the past year,” says Lafranchise.

The bi-monthly magazine features a theme that ties together each article. The theme for today’s issue is Deep Roots. It focuses on the family and community, and how they influence creative expression.

Each issue is free of charge and can be found at various locations on campus as well as in the Tower District.

“On the Verge” currently has a small staff, but encourages students of all majors to contribute to the magazine.

“Art is relevant and everywhere in life,” said Jenn Goforth, the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief. “You don’t have to be a great artist to create.”

The magazine wants to motivate students to submit different forms of art including articles, personal art, poems and short stories.

“We want the magazine to be a magnet for creative thinking and to provoke change,” adds Goforth.

Thus far, 30 members have signed up to submit material to the magazine for their next issue. The staff has their next meeting on Monday, Aug. 30, in the Conley Art Building.

The magazine staff will be participating in various activities, both on and off campus, and all of them involve art and design.

Contributors to the magazine will work with the Downtown and Community Revitalization Department team to actively encourage a steady revitalization of Fresno.

The next event for On the Verge will be PARK(ing) Day on Sept. 17, where students transform metered parking spots into small, temporary parks. Grass, trees and benches are the usual decorations for the parking spots.

Students will be stationed in the Tower District and will pay for a parking spot for the whole day. The event will be used to raise money as well as to inform people of the need for more public space in urban areas.

The magazine hopes to have a lasting effect on the school and community. Its staff hopes to use the publication to teach students how to run and produce the magazine to ensure its longevity.

“I don’t want the magazine to die after I’m gone,” said Lafranchise.

In the future, the magazine would like to expand its demographics beyond just art and design students and the Tower District. The staff hopes to turn “On the Verge” into a full-sized magazine.

“Be involved,” Lafranchise said. “Art is a door that won’t ever close.”

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