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New arts magazine makes waves in Iowa City

BY ADAM SALAZAR | DECEMBER 18, 2009 7:30 AM

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Matt Bovard, like many recent college graduates, doesn’t know what to do with his life.

Since graduating in the summer, the 23-year-old native of Fairfield has extended his residency in Iowa City to work in various occupations and to fulfill a personal dream: the creation of his own arts magazine.

Joining the ranks of other Iowa City publications such as the UI student-run Content Magazine and Little Village, Knew rEvolution was released this past month. It is available at the White Rabbit, 109 S. Linn St., and Prairie Lights Books, 15 S. Dubuque St.

After years of discussing the project, Bovard, a theater-department graduate, finally caught a break when his father decided to pay for the development of the first issue as a graduation present.

“I have a very fortunate existence and am surrounded by brilliance,” Bovard said.

The publication, featuring poetry, visual art, and photography, is aimed to bring together all Iowa City artists, both local and university-affiliated.

“My hope is that it holds the art community together to create an arts scene,” Bovard said, contending that a core unity is lacking in the community. “I don’t think there is a real center focus.”

UI graduate Andrew Ferguson, a Knew rEvolution contributor and friend of Bovard’s, said that while the new publication doesn’t discriminate against UI-related artists, it does stray from a somewhat competitive culture that he and Bovard have noticed in the Iowa City community.

“It didn’t seem to fit what we were trying to do,” Ferguson said after experiencing a poetry competition with judges at the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St. “[The competition] is trying to compete for attention instead of making yourself a better writer.”

The 24-year-old Ferguson, who attends Bovard’s open-mike poetry sessions at the Yacht Club, 13 S. Linn St., from 8 to 10 p.m. on Wednesdays, said the art isn’t about the points — it’s about the poetry.
Opinions aside, the creation of the magazine was a challenge that some doubted would materialize.

UI senior and close friend Nigel Brown, said that while he did take the role of devil’s advocate, given the financial and time constraints, he knew Bovard’s perseverance would pull it off.

“He put a lot of work into it, and it’s awesome, because it’s something that I thought I would never do,” said Brown, a theater major from Ankeny, Iowa.

The publication date was continually postponed, Bovard said, and the magazine took two to three months of labor. His plan is to release a new edition every three months, each costing $5.

Some, such as English and African American world studies Professor Peter Nazareth, were not so shocked upon hearing about Bovard’s endeavor.

Nazareth, taught Bovard in two classes, said his strong participation and exceptional writing were indicators of the seriousness he possessed.

“Given that his ideas were creative, you might say that he thinks outside the box,” he said.


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