UCSB’s “The Catalyst” Literary Arts Magazine Hosts Fundraising Event to Save Their Print Edition

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Photo Courtesy of Tia Trinh.

Tia Trinh

Executive Content Editor

On March 1, UC Santa Barbara’s (UCSB) literary arts magazine, “The Catalyst” hosted a fundraiser event to raise money to save the print version of their magazine. Hosted at The Leta Hotel in Goleta, the event room filled with students, alumni, and strangers alike, the lively atmosphere drawing attention to student passion to keep a magazine alive.

A literary arts magazine run through UCSB’s English department, this quarter marked their 31st issue. The magazine, which is published both online and in print, takes submissions from UCSB students to be combined in a vivid collection of visual art and written work. But choosing from submissions, designing art, organizing layout, and actually getting the magazine printed is much harder than it seems. This Winter quarter, it became apparent to the editorial team that funds were running low, prompting them to host a fundraiser event titled “Keep the Catalyst.”

The event itself began with a short welcome and thanks from Editor-in-Chief Kiana Perez Granados, who expressed her gratitude for the people slowly trickling into the room. Following events consisted of spoken word poetry and prose from the current editorial team, “The Catalyst’s” faculty advisor, Professor Brian Donnelly, current UCSB students, and even some visiting alumni. It was followed by live music — featuring Ellise Huston and William Schoppet — and by spoken word again. Tables lined the room with printed bookmarks and stickers alongside previous issues of “The Catalyst.” Desserts and materials for drawing were also among other items that anyone could pay for. The nature of the event being a fundraiser with plenty of sweet treats and activities for visitors to indulge in allowed the team to raise $1,200, enough to cover costs and save the magazine this Winter quarter and the upcoming Spring quarter.

The magazine is primarily funded by donations from graduate students, alumni, and even UCSB staff and faculty. Some of the editors at the event told The Bottom Line (TBL) that these donations, which are often made over social media, predominantly funded the magazine until now.

This year’s Literature Editor, Ellise Huston, sat down with The Bottom Line to discuss some of the highlights about both the event and working for “The Catalyst.” For her, and many other members on the editorial team, the fundraiser was the perfect opportunity to both share and highlight student work. With printed layouts taped to the walls and spoken word sessions, the event “gave students the opportunity to share their work. That’s not an opportunity you get everywhere.”

The art and imagery, which is created by students in the English class for “The Catalyst” and the editorial team, gives students the creative freedom to weave together art and literature as well as to build upon technical skills in Adobe InDesign, copyediting, and more. But for the readers, having a physical copy and seeing their work published alongside vivid art plays a huge factor in the push to raise money to save the quarterly print edition.

“We’re interested in showcasing student work in a way that’s tangible, something that they can hold in their hands and show their friends and family,” Huston told TBL. Because this event — and like their previous and upcoming launch events — featured spoken word by current and former students, the audience was offered a glimpse into the heartfelt creativity that makes this journal so unique and precious to UCSB. 

Even though the event itself was in Goleta, Huston noted that it was nice that people were willing to go off campus to support an on-campus literary arts magazine. Even passersby who happened to be staying at the hotel took a peek, in awe of the overwhelming student passion towards promoting and keeping alive a literary arts magazine print edition. They received donations from strangers, contributing to the pool of gratitude and funds. 

For Huston, the event itself was particularly heartwarming. “It meant so much to the editors and class. I’ve been a part of the magazine for two years and I’ve loved it,” she explained. “I wanted to be a part of UCSB and something that would go on for however long. I’m graduating this year and if I hadn’t known about [“The Catalyst”] I don’t know where I would’ve submitted my creative works, or where I would’ve learned layout or learned to combine art with poetry.”

“The Catalyst’s” unique nature as a literary arts magazine restricted to UCSB students and alumini gives creative writers and artists a special opportunity to put their passions and skills towards something publishable. “You don’t have to be an English major to write poetry, maybe you just don’t know what to do with it!” Huston regularly encourages submissions to the quarterly magazine. 

With the fundraising event a huge success, the literary arts magazine is back on track to printing and sharing this current Winter quarter’s edition at their launch event on March 14 at the Digital Humanities Commons in the UCSB Music Library (Room 1410) from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. This edition will feature another round of beautiful poetry, prose, fiction, creative nonfiction, and art, perfectly woven together to create an immersive magazine that highlights the heart and creativity of UCSB students. Huston, who’s particularly excited about this upcoming edition emphasizes, “It’s not just words on a page, it’s a beautiful creation that’s artwork in itself.”

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