The Bell Tower is getting a new look for 2009. The first color editions of The Bell Tower Student Arts Journal will premiere in the spring semester.
The Bell Tower was established in 2006, by Dr. Linda Gary and will be distributing its third publication this spring, said Sarah Harrison, instructor and English Department Chair.
“When I came to TJC in 2005, I was so impressed by the quality of student work and the art program here I couldn’t believe TJC didn’t have an arts journal,” Dr. Gary, the Bell Tower’s founder and editor, said.
Dr. Gary said she mentioned this to the then-Dean Richard Minter and the idea grew from there.
“It is a collaborative effort between English, Art, and Graphic Art,” Harrison said, “so it crosses schools. Part is University Studies and part is Applied Studies.”
The Bell Tower is an entirely student-generated publication from start to finish.
“Students have their hands in it all the way,” Rebecca Stewart, instructor of Graphic Arts and Photography, said. Stewart was on the committee for 2007.
The cover design is a class project for graphic arts students to gain ‘real world’ experience.
The editors for The Bell Tower then select from the student-submitted designs and the group they pick creates the cover and layout.
The editors receive submissions from the student body and meet to choose which ones will be published.
“The submissions have more than doubled. Last year we had, I think 200 [submissions]. This year [we had about] 444,” Harrison said.
The selections are chosen for their “aesthetic appeal, depth and thought” Stewart said about the criteria for pieces.
The committee goes through great pains to make sure the works put in The Bell Tower are of “high quality,” going as far as screening every submission through turnitin.com.
The submissions are also chosen ‘blind’ because the committee never knows whose work they are judging until it is actually printed.
This measure is to maintain an unbiased publication.
“Everyone whose work who appears is a student,” Harrison said.
Last year The Bell Tower was fortunate to receive a budget increase due to the efforts of Richard Minter and Sarah Harrison. This increase of funds has allowed for the color issue in the spring, Dr. Gary said.
The Bell Tower is also an award-winning publication. Last year it won several awards and honorable mentions at the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association awards, or TIPA.
“For a two-year college to win against a four-year for anything, it’s something,” Dr. Gary said.