Student-run magazine fosters passions

On a vinyl record, the side labeled “B” traditionally contains the music that didn’t quite make the cut for side “A” —  the music that, unfortunately, has been overlooked and ignored by countless listeners over the years. The seven girls that make up Side B Magazine’s editorial team, however, are determined to change the side B misconception and show readers that simply because someone’s creative work is not as well-known does not mean it is of lesser quality than its mainstream counterpart.

Unknown · The first issue of Side B Magazine featured works of poetry and prose as well as photography from undiscovered artists. - Photo courtesy of Side B Magazine

To prove this point, Side B Magazine asks for submissions from writers, poets, artists, photographers and musicians, some of which will be chosen and showcased in the quarterly magazine.

“Our mission statement is very simple,” said Christina Piña, a sophomore majoring in writing for screen and television and the magazine’s managing editor. “We are hoping to nurture artists who are too old to dabble, but too young to have their voices heard.”

In accordance with its mission, Side B Magazine primarily features work by people between the ages of 18 and 30. Although the editors are not opposed to publishing work by people under the age of 18, they try to keep the featured artists under 30.

“We feel like if you’re 30 and you haven’t been discovered yet, we love you, but it’s different,” Piña said. “But if you’re 16 years old and you feel like you can read and connect with the poems, then perfect — that’s exactly what we’re looking for.”

The first issue came out in August, but the magazine is still very much a work in progress, Piña said. She works with six other editors located across the country to select and edit the work that will be featured and published in Side B.

“We want artists who love their passion, who have this niche in their life and want to share it with people,” she said.

Nidya Sarria, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, originally started the magazine as a high school junior in Florida, but it only lasted for a short time. Now a junior majoring in English at Princeton University, Sarria decided to start up the magazine once again — this time on a national level.

“There was definitely a literary scene at Princeton, but I felt like a lot of people were writing the same things,” Sarria said.

After getting Piña, who Sarria knew previously, on board, she used online forums to recruit the rest of the editors: Fiona Kyle, Tia Mansouri, Brittney Brown, Kate Fisher and Nikki Birdwell. Because they are located in different places, they primarily communicate via Facebook and e-mail.

“I don’t feel it’s very different from working with a staff that’s in the same place,” Sarria said. “I guess that’s just the nature of the 21st century — a lot of things happen through e-mail.”

Along with the magazine’s print edition, which is produced four times per year, Side B’s editors also blog daily. Since it is more difficult to include some artistic mediums, such as music and film, in the print publication, the editors use the blog to showcase young individuals with talent in these areas. At 43 pages long, the first issue of the print publication focused primarily on poetry and prose with a strong emphasis on photography.

Julie Gallup, a senior majoring in art education at The College of New Jersey, had multiple photos published in Side B’s inaugural issue, one of which made the magazine’s cover.

“I was really surprised when they told me it was going to be on the cover,” Gallup said. “I’m just starting out as a photographer and I’d like to freelance eventually, so having that kind of exposure early on is really inspiring me to do more work.”

Gallup’s experience with Side B represents the magazine’s goal: to inspire and encourage young artists who might otherwise have had no means of sharing their art.

“It would be nice to be part of making people’s careers from the ground up,” Sarria said. “One day they will be established and we’re all just helping people along to get to that place.”

As Side B grows and evolves, Sarria said she hopes that more influential people will see the magazine and make something of it.

“The whole idea was to become part of a movement of young artists,” she said. “It’s definitely aiming high, definitely dreaming big, but I just hope we get to the place where we’re relatively well-known and doing good work.”