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Cover art contest reaches out to EWU design students, community

By Aaron Bocook, News Writer

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While gazing at the bulletin boards in the PUB this quarter, students may have overlooked a flyer which reads in bold black letters: “InRoads Cover Art Contest.”

InRoads is a literary journal put out by Writer’s in the Community, an outreach program that gives the Eastern Washington University’s Master of Fine Arts program a chance to go out into the Spokane community and get experience teaching in diverse settings.

The cover art contest is sponsored by Eastern’s Inland Northwest Center for Writers M.F.A. program, in cooperation with the outreach program. The winning artist will have their design published on the next cover of InRoads, set to come out June 2014. All EWU students are encouraged to submit their designs.

“The cover art contest is something we have done every year. It just doesn’t get a lot of publicity,” said Megan Padilla, this year’s InRoads managing editor. “It has usually only been offered to the Writers in the Community participants, but we have opened it up to all Eastern Washington students.”

Although the M.F.A. creative writing program and Inland Northwest Center for Writers are located at Eastern’s Riverpoint campus, Padilla comes to Cheney to do her student teaching and came up with the idea to advertise the cover art contest through posting flyers on the main campus.

“I think I’m the only editor who has gone out and posted flyers for the contest,” Padilla said. “I’ve even been contacting art and design instructors trying to say ‘Hey, can you let your students know about this?’”

Krista Debehnke, student director for the writers program, said she would like to see the outreach program grow, and getting EWU students involved with things like the InRoads cover design process is one way to raise awareness of the important work they are doing.

“There are all types of creative writing programs that are being reduced, or even cut, from schools,” Debehnke said. “They’re not seen as being important, as they should be.”

Writers in the Community sends their graduate students to teach creative writing in elementary schools, high schools, senior centers, hospitals, to the Airway Heights Corrections Center and the Isabella House, a women’s addiction treatment center in Spokane.

“It’s an outreach program,” Padilla said. “We don’t teach Eastern students. The students are community members.”

Debehnke was last year’s InRoads managing editor and has been working closely with Padilla on this year’s publication. She said every voice in InRoads has a unique perspective on Spokane and their work gives readers a window into the lives of a diverse crowd of writers.

“A committee looks through the submissions and pick the ones we feel best represent Spokane,” Debehnke said. “We try to give everyone a chance, but we do only take the best creative writing submissions we receive.”

Although Padilla has done a lot of work of getting the word out about the cover art contest, there have been no submissions from EWU students.

In addition to having their design published on the cover of InRoads, the winning artist will receive two contributor copies of the journal and a $25 gift card to Auntie’s Bookstore.

Students who wish to submit their cover designs must do so by the March 22 deadline. All artwork should be sent as an attachment to meganrpadilla@eagles.ewu.edu.

This fall, Padilla will start her second year in the M.F.A. creative writing program and is set to follow in Debehnke’s footsteps again, taking over as student director for the outreach program.

As she finishes up her quarter teaching an Introduction to Literature course, Padilla is busy trying to spread the word about the contest, stapling flyers to brown corkboard and chasing down art and design professors.

“We know there are a lot of design students out there with talent that us writers don’t have,” Padilla said. “And we kind of want to take advantage of that.”

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The independent, student-run news site of Eastern Washington University.
Cover art contest reaches out to EWU design students, community