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Youth project makes zine-scene

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According to Wikipedia, a zine (pronounced ZEEN) is a small-circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images, usually reproduced via a copy machine.

Carbondale Arts (CA) Education Director Michael Stout hopes the Creative Apprentice Program: Zine Project, being offered to students ages 14 to 19, will make “zine” a popular word among Roaring Fork Valley youth. Stout will act as the lead artist for the CA program, which begins on Oct. 13.

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The zine presentation style appeals to Stout because of his roots as a graphic designer and visual artist. He said, “in terms of storytelling, it’s an accessible, approachable format.”

A zine, Stout explained, “takes the idea of a magazine and scales it down. It has historically been associated with a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) punk aesthetic. It traditionally uses a lot of analog craft, like Xeroxing, hand drawing, illustration, collage and those types of accessible and approachable mediums to generate the content.”

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Because “the aesthetic is more analog,” Stout explained, some of the mediums and methods the group will explore creating zines are hand drawing, hand lettering, exploring with collage and “maybe even using a typewriter.” He also said, “They can create with some more traditional design software, print that out and manipulate it on the Xerox machine.”

Drawing upon his youth programming experiences with other arts nonprofits, Stout explained he decided to use an apprenticeship model and the program will pay students $12.50 an hour. It is an approach Stout would like to see used more often. He explained, “I felt like there is a gap in teen programming specifically and I appreciate paying artists their value — both professional and teen artists.”

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CA Executive Director Amy Kimberly said of Stout’s request for students to be paid, “I could see its importance. It felt like that could be a good move, so we were willing to make that commitment.”

Zine Project students will also join with The Sopris Sun’s high school journalism program for a couple of workshops of mutual interest, like layout, writing and cartooning.

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CA will also collaborate with The Project Shop. Kimberly said, “We’re trying to support that local business, which is printing. ( It seemed like we were in a good place to launch this program, which would combine printing, art aspects and writing.”

Kelly Costello co-founded the nonprofit organization the Denver Zine Library (DZL) in 2003. Located in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood, DZL offers zine-making workshops and has a lending library with about 20,000 zines in its archival collection.

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Costello, who publishes his zines under the name “Kelly Shortandqueer”, explained the many genres and subgenres within the zine universe. Some topics include: politics, visual arts, poetry, how-to, fiction, food, bikes and personal zines (known as perzines).

Another benefit of creating zines, Costello said, is that you don’t need an agent or publisher like you would in traditional mainstream publishing. “It’s an excellent way to hear and get access to voices that aren’t necessarily accessible,” he said.

One program aspect is career readiness. Stout said, “Some of the students may be interested in entering creative fields. This program will allow them to see how that profession works and start to see that kind of creative process; from having an idea in your head, generating that and thinking about how to execute it.”

Another goal is to understand collaboration in its broadest sense. “You may have an idea and want to put it out into the world — among your peers — and they can look at it and have a different perspective. Maybe that informs your process so that there’s an iteration that happens,” Stout said.

Workshops will be presented by various artists in the Valley, with a range of skill sets, such as writing, journalism, printmaking, bookmaking, illustration and comics. Stout reflected, “Ideally, it’s an introduction to different ways to tell stories.”

The program runs from Oct. 13 through Dec. 16 and meets at the Carbondale Library’s Community Room. Classes are on Wednesdays from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. No class sessions will be held on Oct. 27, 28 nor Nov. 24 and 25.

The application deadline is Sept. 20. Students must live in the Roaring Fork Valley and attend all sessions.

For more CA Youth Zine Project information and application links visit

Tags: #Carbondale Arts #Carbondale Creative District #Denver Zine Library #Jeanne Souldern #Michael Stout #Youth #zine
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