December 7, 2011

New journal debuts for Professional and Continuing Education arts students

Professional  and Continuing Education has been offering arts classes for almost all of its nearly 100 year history (under a number of different names), but now, for the first time, graduates of those programs have a journal in which to publish their work. Stratus made its debut last summer and will be published yearly.

The journal offers more than 100 pages of work, including novel excerpts, short stories, childrens literature, narrative nonfiction and memoir, as well as drawings, paintings and photographs. It can be freely read online; bound printed copies are available for a fee through blurb.com.

The journal was the idea of Roxanne Ray, program manager of academic programs in the arts. “I wanted to give our students more opportunities to bridge their classroom education with a possible artistic career,” Ray said. “My goal for students is for them to be self-sufficient artists after they leave their education, so we try to give them business oriented skills as well as artistic skills, like how to submit their work to a journal. This is just one more way to gain some practice.”

Publication in the journal is open only to students, graduates and instructors in the arts programs, as well as advisory board members. The arts portion of Professional and Continuing Education includes certificate programs in literary fiction, popular fiction, nonfiction, memoir, writing for children, natural science illustration, fiber arts, fashion, screenwriting, film and video, audio production and photography.

Ray received about 50 submissions for the journal and accepted about 40 percent of those for publication. Each submitter whose work was chosen received a $50 honorarium. For now, Ray will be the journals editor.

The journals name, Stratus, came from an advisory board member, Ray said. “I put out a request to instructors and board members asking for suggestions. I got several, then sent them back out to get peoples opinions, and Stratus rose to the top,” she said. “Theres sort of a phonic similarity to stratosphere — your work is going to rise and be seen.”

Summer was chosen as the publication time for the journal because it gives students a chance to submit their best work just as they are finishing their programs. Submissions are accepted from May until July, with publication later in July.

You can read the current issue of Stratus now. More information about arts programs offered by Professional and Continuing Education is available online.