With third issue on the way, award-winning Stone Canoe journal makes first step in Second Life
With third issue on the way, award-winning Stone Canoe journal makes first step in Second LifeJuly 08, 2008Kevin Morrowkdmorrow@syr.edu
Syracuse University’s Stone Canoe: A Journal of Arts and Ideas from Upstate New York, has developed a devoted following and a measure of critical acclaim with its first two issues. Now, as its editors ready a third issue for January 2009, Stone Canoe is expanding its readership across the world and into another one — Second Life.
With more than a million international subscribers, the 3-D online world of Second Life is fast becoming an appealing platform for artists and writers who want to extend their reach beyond their own geographic region.
A virtual art gallery, Standing Stone Gallery, has opened its doors in Second Life and will have a grand opening event July 12. The first show features 50 works by Bob Gates, an accomplished photographer and professor of English at SU. He has already sold three photographs since the show was put up in late May.
Standing Stone Gallery is a labor of love for co-creators Robert Colley, Stone Canoe executive editor/nonfiction editor and associate dean at University College, and Dennis Kinsey, associate professor of public relations in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, as well as an artist, musician and music producer. Kinsey is arranging for live music to be streamed at the grand opening, featuring himself and other Second Life musicians. Colley and Kinsey have Second Life offices for Stone Canoe and Hondo Mesa Records, complete with avatars of themselves to greet visitors.
The Gates show is the first for Standing Stone Gallery. Other Stone Canoe contributors will be featured in the virtual gallery over the coming months, culminating in a January all-Stone Canoe exhibition of artists, coinciding with the publication of Issue 3 and the customary annual launch celebration and “real world” art exhibition at the Delavan Art Gallery in Syracuse, which will run Jan. 29-March 8, 2009.
The new issue will include not only a fresh collection of regional artists and writers, but also poems by Pulitzer Prize winner and former SU professor W.D. Snodgrass; translations by Charles Simic, current U.S. poet laureate, whose book “60 Poems” (Harcourt, 2008) has been chosen by CNY Reads as its 2008-9 selection; and an interview with Russell Banks, current New York State author, whose long list of critically acclaimed books includes the just-published “Dreaming Up America” (Seven Stories Press, 2008).
“Second Life and other virtual social networks will never (hopefully) take the place of books, but many artists and writers are discovering the power of these media as a way of communicating their message to a much larger audience, often more effectively than with the relatively passive website,” says Colley. “For example, Bob Gates’ wonderful photographs, lately featured in many regional shows, are now available to a worldwide audience of art lovers in a beautiful seaside Second Life gallery. Other Stone Canoe artists and writers will be featured in our Second Life gallery on a regular basis, as well as in our new bimonthly Second Life arts magazine.”
Vitruvius, the first Second Life magazine devoted to the arts, is co-edited by Colley and published by Philippe Pascal, an Amsterdam-based designer and media specialist. Its first issue, launched in March, included photographs by Gates. The second issue, which debuted in May, includes works by other Stone Canoe contributors: photos by Douglas Biklen, poems by Phil Memmer and short fiction by Jennifer Pashley. To date, Vitruvius’ second issue has been read by more than 2,200 Second Life subscribers.
Meanwhile, Stone Canoe, the print version, saw considerable success over the past year, garnering two major awards for Issue 2. In April, the issue was recognized at the annual University Continuing Education Association conference in New Orleans with a gold medal in the book category of UCEA’s marketing and design awards competition. And at the conference, Colley and David Lloyd, fiction editor for Issue 2 and professor of creative writing atLe Moyne College, co-presented a paper on Stone Canoe as an example of a sustainable community-based university arts project. As a result of their presentation, The University of Washington is planning a comparable project to serve its region of the Pacific Northwest.
In May, Issue 2 tied for a silver medal in the anthology category at the 12th annual Independent Publishers Book Awards competition, held in association with Book Expo America in Los Angeles, encompassing books from across the United States, Canada and nine other countries.
While the Stone Canoe guest editors are hard at work on the next issue, all are having significant success of their own this year. Memmer, the Stone Canoe poetry editor, director of the Arts Branch of the YMCA of Greater Syracuse and founder of the Downtown Writer’s Center, has a new book of poems, “Threat of Pleasure,” recently published by Word Press and will have a publication celebration and reading July 24 at 7 p.m. at The Red House in Syracuse.
Gail Hoffmann, the Stone Canoe visual arts editor and an SU adjunct professor, this summer has participated in major shows at the Soho20 Chelsea Gallery in New York City, The Cooperstown National, the Attelboro Museum and the Texas National 2008 show, where she took first place.
Eric Gansworth, the Stone Canoe fiction editor and writer-in-residence at Canisius College, has a new book out from Syracuse University Press, “A Half-Life of Cardio-Pulmonary Function,” which was included in the National Book Critics Circle Spring 2008 list of “Good Reads,” as chosen by prominent critics and authors.
For more on Stone Canoe, visit http://www.stonecanoejournal.org/.
To visit Standing Stone Gallery in Second Life, visit http://secondlife.com, install the free Second Life software, and then enter Second Life and create your own avatar. This can be done easily and will allow you to roam around the 3-D world as you wish. Once in Second Life, there are various ways to find the Gates show. Using the search function, type in either “Bob Gates,” “Da Vinci Isle Art Exhibitions” or “Standing Stone Productions,” and you can ask to be teleported to the Standing Stone Gallery. The real-time opening is at 5 p.m. EST, Saturday, July 12.
To read Vitruvius magazine in Second Life, visit the virtual kiosk at the gallery, click on it, follow the instructions and the magazine will appear on your computer screen.