By Jenny Maurer
When I first thought about applying for this position last year, I was both a little intimated and at ease about having to put together a portfolio. I had put together a sample of my work earlier in the year for my application to Shepherd’s Express, but at that time I hadn’t had many samples of writing to display; it was mainly old papers from college and a press release for SAFE Haven. By the time I sent my portfolio in early December, I had four Shepherd Express interviews printed and another in development. The support from my artistic friends and ArtRoot peers gave me the confidence to construct a solid portfolio and blog posts that I am proud of. I am very grateful for their love and pride in the arts.
These past five months have been both productive and anxious for me. It was very comforting to walk into The Branch twice a week to be greeted by friendly staff and a quiet environment. Most of the time, it took my a few coffees to figure out what I wanted to write about or how I was going to conduct my Zines of Racine Project. I realize now that some of my entries aren’t necessarily as high brow as past authors what with laments about video games and pop punk albums. I wish I expanded my cultural horizons a little and wrote more about art that influenced the community as a whole. I tried to do this with my Zines of Racine interviews, but sadly, the coronavirus emergency threw a wrench into the plans for covering the annual Milwaukee Zine Fest. Fortunately, I was able to still conduct my zine interviews over email, contacting a few other artists like Valerie Valentine. This project even led me to join Quimby’s Zine Club and the Krazines group which have been a rewarding ways to engage with the Midwest creativity community. Even though the project didn’t go as deep as I intended, I am grateful for the friends I made along the way and the relationships that have been strengthened through this project.
Despite the quarantine interruption, I’m generally proud of my output. I once again want to thank the Artroot team, my many readers, my zine interviewees and the artistic community of Racine for their enthusiasm, support, and creativity. I hope we can keep in touch and see each other again very soon. I am eager to see who will be the next writer in residence and give them all my support unequivocally.
Thank you all and Farewell for now.