My name is Reece Braswell, and I am the Junior Art Editor on the Elan staff at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. It is here where Kathryn (the Senior Art Editor) and I reach out to art schools here in the United States and even in other countries to get submissions from young visual artists who want their creative voices to be heard.
When I first heard about Elan and its thirty-year legacy, I knew instantly I wanted to be a part of its message regarding the view of artists in today’s society. Then I saw the visual art in Elan’s most recent edition and I thought, “How do I get that job?”
And sure enough, now it is! In my position as the Junior Art Editor, it is my responsibility to choose pieces of visual art from students that best connect to the writing that gets accepted. This further brings out the creativity in both art forms, and makes Elan visually-appealing. I am really excited about this position because I connect to visual art as much as I do with writing; to combine them is going to be awesome!
I also can’t wait for the learning experience I am going to get out of all of this; to be in such a professional publication at my age is going to equip me with skills I know I’m going to take with me into the working world, like team-work, communication, and organization.
As our world continues to move forward, we risk becoming distant from each other and disregarding other’s experiences. Art brings out universality by showing another’s view on life through the lens of their own experience; with art, we bridge that gap between the ones around us by bringing out what is the most personal. If we constantly move through our society without seeing what is wrong or what we take for granted, we become ignorant.
That is why Elan is so important; we must keep art alive, and encourage future generations to be proud of their art. Everyone connects to art in some way, be it roaming through an art gallery, reading a good book, or even going to see a concert. Creativity is a gate-way to our humanity, our flaws, our differences.
This is a student-driven literature magazine; it is organized by students, and we only accept student submissions. Before being on the Elan staff, I myself submitted numerous writing pieces to this magazine, hoping they would be published; and a few were! The amount of pride I had as a writer and an artist in those moments of receiving those emails is an indescribable feeling. Our goal on the Elan staff is to kindle what can be done to the future of art; to show writers and visual artists that there is a place for their voice, their expression, no matter how chaotic the world is.
I often wonder if society and our views towards each other would be different if we all embraced art as a necessity; if we would connect to each other by just opening up to the idea of understanding.