Now that the first part of the contest is over I’ve been having a blast reading submitted zines, in no particular order, during my subway commute. I feel I know each submitter personally now. If I meet any of you in a social situation please forgive me if I act like we are old friends. I promise there will be no unwanted hugs.
This weekend was payday so I finally bought a total the $125 of additional prizes for the first, second, and third place winners. What the extra prizes actually are will have to be a surprise for a bit longer, but I think you’ll like them all.
I asked people to send in two copies of their zine – which many people misunderstood to mean 1 copy of 2 different zines – but it didn’t matter because I only asked for two copies because I was planning on having a friend help with the picking and choosing… I realized it was just me chickening out, being afraid of having to make the tough choices. In the end I decided to do the thing all by myself.
I kept worrying that the reason more people didn’t submit was because the zine community was collectively thinking “Who the hell does he think he is? Judging my zine?” I’m nobody. I just happen to have a little bit of extra cash and a few printing connections and I love to make things and I want to encourage others to do the same. So I started this grant/contest to see if I could help someone make something. I’m not saying that the winner’s zine, or my zine, is better than your zine. I’ve awarded each on how I felt reading them at the time I read them. It doesn’t even have anything to do with how well I related to the material, its theme, or its level of production. If you didn’t win this year please submit again next time, if I could have afforded for everyone to win I would have. Every submission I received had its own special and unique element, no two submissions were anything alike. In a world of recycled themes and ideas that’s an amazing feat.
This has been an exhausting, but completely rewarding, project. Categorizing my favorites is almost impossible – but unlike last time I won’t quit. The Art Exchange Program will return next year, and every year afterwards that I can afford to continue to do this. Probably even after I’ve stopped being able to afford it. I seriously never thought I’d have so much fun giving away money and prizes and organizing this thing but it has been inspirational and I hope it’s been for you as well.
If you like this idea or think you could do it another way then there is no reason why you shouldn’t start your own grant with your own rules and prizes, I even started an affiliate program to help you do just that.
I will announce all winners and prizes December 1st… good luck with everything you create.