In the nearly three decades Baily’s Beads has been in publication, it has hosted the work of hundreds of talented artists, writers, and photographers. These creators have come from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, races, sexual orientations, and identities. We wanted to explore and highlight this theme of identity by making it the focus of our 2023 issue. The isolation of the COVID era has taught us the value of connection, radical empathy through storytelling, and the healing power of creativity. Our goal for this issue was to provide a platform for submitters to put their individuality on full display, allowing readers to relate to and learn from them.
Our fiction and nonfiction travel the intricate spectrum of concepts like love, loneliness, and race. These themes can also be found in our poetry, as well as powerful discussion on topics relating to mental health, personal acceptance, grief, and setting boundaries. For our last issue, the previous editor-in-chief Kameo Chambers created an interactive online gallery, providing an immersive way to view our art and photography. We have created another for this issue, where you can find expressive images that translate challenging emotions, such as those felt during the pandemic. Devin Moultrie created “Who Am I?” as vector art to weave fluid aspects of identity throughout the magazine, starting from circle to baby to boy to suit to dress to dog to dirt to dust. The staff also updated to logo to represent the LGBTQ+ community aka the rainbow mafia.
The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford is in a unique position to be home to students, faculty, and staff from all over the world while nestled in the remote woods of Pennsylvania. The campus is inextricably linked to the beautiful natural scenery it’s surrounded by, inspiring many of the creators on campus including me. For this reason, we incorporated the nature and environment feature. This seeks to bring out the evocative beauty of our landscapes through a collaboration between writers and photographers. Many of my own poems, some being included in this feature, were written based on my walks around campus. “A Beaver’s Life” was inspired by a personal experience with the plentiful wildlife found a short stroll from my dorm. This feature showcases student and staff photography from chipmunks to carnivorous foxes.
This process has been frustrating, fun, interesting, educational, tiring, and rewarding. We would like to thank everyone who has given support and feedback. Thank you to our Baily’s Beads staff, our art advisor, Professor Sunyoung Lee, Communication and the Arts Division Chair Jeff Guterman, Writing Center Assistant Director Catherine Kula, Communication and the Arts Division Administrative Assistant Shelley Whitman, former art professor J.D. McGuire, Gina Prosch and Lohman Hills Creative, LLC, and last but not least, our advisors Professors Karen Bell and Nancy McCabe. After taking over for Dr. McCabe while she was on sabbatical in the spring, Karen became the heart of the Baily’s Beads editorial team. She ensured ideas, information, and decisions flowed smoothly between the class and our faculty. She was always ready to provide support in and outside of class, helping many of the senior members of the team through a challenging semester. As always, Dr. McCabe continues to guide the magazine toward success, helping the team create another powerful addition to our award-winning publication.