In today’s media landscape, launching a new print publication can be a risky prospect. That didn’t stop Temple grad and artist Zoe Rayn, who left her job in communications last year to start a brand new outlet that fills a centuries-old void.
Called Caldera, the periodical art magazine has one unifying theme:
Every essay, photograph, music review or art piece is by creatives who are people of color or LGBTQ, written for readers who identify with those same communities.
“Caldera” is a scientific term for a large volcanic crater, typically one formed by a major eruption leading to the collapse of the mouth of the volcano, aka the “hole left behind” — which happens to be the magazine’s slogan.
“How are we filling that hole? I think the answer will change as Caldera grows,” Rayn said. “I can never stress enough how important adequate representation is. Being able to open a magazine, or click on a website and see people that look like you, or have a story that you can relate to or are working in a field that is consistently taught to be out of reach, are powerful sentiments that hopefully, make a different for our readers.”
In order to spread the word further, Rayn has teamed up with local accessibility consulting company Access Point and Creating United Empowerment (a project of CultureTrust Greater Philadelphia), for the first Philadelphia Inclusive Arts Festival, taking place this September.
Rayn was inspired to create the magazine and associated festival by her own experiences as a person of color studying at Temple University’s School Klein College of Media and Communication and the Tyler School of Art.
Living on campus in North Philadelphia from 2012 to 2016 was, Rayn acknowledges, the first time in her life that she was “surrounded by black, brown, tan and beige faces of all ethnicities, beliefs and interests.” It also the first time Rayn realized that her studies — specifically art history — did not reflect that diversity.
It was then that Rayn began interning with Arch Enemy Arts, a local art gallery that specializes in New Contemporary works. She developed experience working with and for POC and/or queer artists for the highly-publicized Truth to Power show at the 2016 Democratic National Convention and Art Basel.
The inaugural daffodil-hued edition of Caldera was published on February 2018. Its theme was “Forty-Five” (aka, life post-Trump), which featured works from six artists. One poem about the anxieties of the infamous presidential election results, in particular, was so popular that the Caldera shop began to sell prints of it.
The pink second edition was released this summer. Its theme was “New Understandings,” which was all about how the constructs of gender and sexuality inform the expressive process. The recent volume included an interview with Deborah Anzinger, an installation artist from Jamaica, and the works of local photographers Marcus Branch and Cecil Shang Whaley.
But Caldera’s latest project isn’t the release of a third magazine (though that is in the works). Rather, it is the Philadelphia Inclusive Arts Festival, a collaboration with Alanna Raffel, founder of Access Point, and Davinica Nemtzow, founder of Creating United Empowerment.
“Each one of us will represent a different community, perspective and expertise that highlights the intersection of our communities in the Philadelphia arts scene,” Rayn explained.
Over the course of four days (Sept. 6 to 9), attendees will have the opportunity to interact with artists and activists such as Santiago Galeas, Marcus Branch, Elizabeth Clay, Anne Ishii, the Madkoi Quartet and BLUR during workshops, dinners, public art-making workshops in a variety of locations throughout the city and a kickoff party at Workshop at Bok.
Tickets range from $0 to $20 depending on the event, and student discounts are available.
As for the magazine, Caldera will publish two more editions to complete the year. The next is slated to be released in October. Past issues can be purchased online, and subscriptions cost $60 per year.