by Carolyn Edlund
I recently spoke with Marcia Young, Editor in Chief of Fiber Art Now magazine, which has been using creative strategies to serve artists, offer opportunities and build community.
AS: How would you describe Fiber Art Now, and how long has it been available?
MY: We are a quarterly print and digital magazine, created to inspire and connect the contemporary fiber arts and textiles community. The roots of Fiber Art Now lie in an online fiber arts resource, started in Spring, 2009. That project grew into a print and digital magazine, launched in Fall, 2011.
Almost six years and twenty-two issues later, we have grown and continue to grow now. In the last two years we have run an annual exhibition in print titled Excellence in Fibers. The juror group for each year has framed the caliber of work we have received. Learn more about this year’s EIF and the jurors here.
Our mandate is to connect artists to the resources that will help them with their career. To that end, we send comp copies of the winter issue flip book/exhibition catalog to 500 key contacts in fiber. This includes executive directors and curators of fine craft-related galleries and museums across the US and deans of textile-related departments at US colleges. This year, an added bonus to this project is that we were invited to have a full exhibition along with the print catalog, at the New Bedford Art Museum in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
The winter issue also includes a free poster! Anyone can subscribe until mid-January and receive the special double issue flip book with poster!
AS: In a day and age where many print publications are folding, yours is growing. How did this happen?
MY: Mass media has certainly experienced a shake down in recent years. This is very different from niche media, which is thriving. Niche publications are sustaining themselves and are growing. Our online life has given us the ability to connect with people anyplace in the world who share the same passion. That kind of “otaku” community has breathed new life into niche publications, making them a locus of their community.
Our parent organization is M. Young & Associates, Inc. This organization also publishes the quarterly review for the National Basketry Organization, and serves several other clients in their niche publication, social media and marketing needs. We are excited about the possibilities for many small- to medium-sized organizations to grow their community through an innovative publication (either online or in print).
AS: What are the main ways you are serving artists?
MY: Through the magazine, our mission is to connect and inspire the fiber arts and textiles community. We are transitioning into becoming a membership organization by spring, 2017. Through the organization, the Fiber Art Network, we will be able to further connect artists with the decision makers in fibers, provide a practical arts business-related webinars series, and most of all, we will connect them with each other, giving them the opportunity to join meet-ups at private tours of fiber exhibitions and events. All of this is being developed over the winter and will be launched next summer.
Want to enjoy a free online issue of Fiber Arts Now? ArtsyShark readers are invited to get access here.