You’ve heard from us before about the lightning-speed growth that Guernica has experienced. Nearly every time I’ve written to you over the last two years, I’ve characterized the rate of our development as a magazine and an organization as exponential—because that’s how it’s felt. Each year has added new partnerships, new events, new projects, and new work from our ever-expanding roster of writers, artists, and poets. We raced to meet our 10th anniversary head on, to finish this first round strong. And we made it happen—or, rather, you made it happen, with your continuing support for a free online magazine, for conversations at the intersection of art and politics that are increasingly complex, intellectually challenging, and internationally focused.
So now I’m here to tell you that we mean business. Change is a good thing, but we’ve arrived at an age of follow-through. We closed 2014 out with drinking and dancing at our 10th anniversary gala, but in 2015 we’re putting down roots to fortify our infrastructure, and continuing the efforts—to print, to pay writers, to become sustainable—that are now simply part of what you can expect as a Guernica reader. I hope you’ll consider matching our commitment to maintaining a magazine that is as robust as it is always striving for improvement by making a tax deductible donation this spring.
What does Guernica look like in its second decade? You’ve seen our special issues, which began last year with our series examining contentious aspects of life in America. This year, we kicked off another set of four centered on the new theme of boundaries, starting with an issue on Gender, to be followed by The Boundaries of Taste and The Boundaries of Nature. We reached a tremendously important milestone when we were first able to pay writers for their work in these series, and with your help we’ll maintain the precedent.
Vital to sustaining our rapid growth are the efforts of our board members, who help guide not only Guernica the magazine but Guernica the 501(c)3. We are adding four more dynamic and committed individuals to our board: Rebecca Saletan, Vice President and Editorial Director of Riverhead Books; Daniel Clark, Counsel; Joe DiPalo, YouTube; and Michelle Herrera Mulligan, Editor in Chief of Cosmo for Latinas. They’ll join founders Michael Archer and Joel Whitney, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lorraine Adams, in further refining Guernica’s long-range vision, and how we fit as an organization within the constellation of media in print and on the Internet, large and small.
Speaking of print, another fledgling staple feature of Guernica is just that—our take-it-home, hold-it-in-your-hands, flip-the-pages Annual, the first edition of which we published last fall and took on a bi-coastal tour through some of our favorite independent bookstores. The Annual was another imperative goal to reach that, like paying contributors, more firmly planted our feet on the ground, as we anchored a year of our online content in a capstone book. Our second Annual will come out in the fall, also with our publishing partner Haymarket Books, providing an opportunity to mark some of the best of Guernica as well as a way to read, think, and react offline.
Another milestone to celebrate at the close of our 10th year was our first ever National Endowment for the Arts grant. It signaled to us that the changes we implemented, while exhausting, were paying off in a big way. But after the party (and the after-party), in the light of day, the size of the grant compared to the sheer number of people who click on us each month reminded us that the enduring life-force of Guernica is and has always been our readership. There are those of you who give often, those of you who give when you can, and those of you who read and share. Your unwavering loyalty has always been what drives us to share that level of serious commitment, so it’s in that spirit that we ask you to remember all of the myriad ways there are to lend your support, now more than ever before. Whether you choose to donate, or buy an Annual, wear a tote out on the street; if you are a publisher or a radio station or a journal that chooses to advertise on our site or feature the magazine; if you tell a friend; if you attend our salons and come to drink and talk with our editors and other readers. Every single contribution strengthens our foundation.
The publishing world can often seem like one in which the ground beneath never stops shaking—that Guernica has been able to grow wildly, ecstatically, in such a climate is a tribute to you, our readers. We’ve pledged to match that reliability and follow through on familiar goals: to foster a greater diversity of voices, to increase our ability to pay as many of our contributors as possible, and to enable independent reporting and storytelling of the highest quality. We’ve got our heads down, our noses to the grindstone, and if you like what you see, please consider giving.