It is easy to appreciate the hard work of student athletes and performers on the Tabor Academy campus, but the work of artists and writers is not typically showcased.
Tabor’s art and literary magazine, The Bowsprit, has evolved to change that and is only improving as each annual issue comes out.
Tricia Smith, an art teacher at Tabor, immediately started working with The Bowsprit when she first joined the community in 2005. Her first goal was to help improve the reproductions of art to be of higher quality in the magazine.
Once this was achieved, Smith worked on the next problem: the challenge of having enough writing to fill the magazine. Although there was a student editor of the art section, “the writing section didn’t have a connection to the English Department,” according to Smith.
Over the years, the book has “matured,” said Smith who explained that a number of important changes have been made to allow the book to evolve and improve.
The magazine, which used to be small and portable with only a section of color, was accidentally created in a larger document in 2011. Smith called this a “good change,” because they were forced to find the funding and make it work. This bigger edition allowed for larger images of the art and an overall higher quality of the magazine.
The next year, the whole book was made in color and, according to Smith, “everyone thought it looked awesome.”
Although the quality of the magazine was greatly improved, it was still difficult to find writing pieces. Last year, Christopher White, an English teacher, joined The Bowsprit as a faculty advisor to help mitigate this difficulty.
“Bringing him (White) on was super important to the success of last year’s issue and future issues,” said Smith.
Now there are six writing editors who are helping to increase submissions and supply a variety of writing. Additionally, White and the students have created contests to increase submission.
In addition to the scary story competition, a rock was put on display to inspire poetry. Furthermore, students could submit photos by using the tag #tabowsprit in the social media site Instagram, and the best photos were voted on to be in last year’s magazine.
This success has not gone unnoticed. Last year’s issue won an Award of Excellence from the National Council for Teachers of English. Smith plans to continue entering each year’s magazine.
Smith feels that The Bowsprit “places an importance on the kind of work that we value as a school.”
“This year’s book will see another change because now Christopher Botello and the Media Arts Department are providing the in-house production of the structure,” said Smith.
What started in the art room has expanded to English classes and the media lab. The magazine has become available online for the Tabor Community as well.
As for the future, Smith hopes to form a connection between the outside community and The Bowsprit.
“I would like to extend the distribution to alums, parents, or friends of the school as a subscription-based distribution.” She adds that hopefully alums could eventually send in their work as well.
By Julia O’Rourke