A new office within the Pennoni Honors College will consolidate several campus cultural publications under the leadership of Jason Wilson, a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News and Washington Post and adjunct professor of writing, as announced April 19 in a Drexel press release.
This expansion is due to a recent $80,000 grant from the Knight/NEA Community Arts Journalism Challenge, which is distributed by the National Endowment for the Arts and the James L. Knight Foundation and “seeks innovative ideas for informing and engaging people in the arts.”
The Center for Cultural Engagement will encompass The Smart Set, Drexel’s online literary and arts magazine, and The Honor Roll, a newsletter for members of the Honors College and their families. The Center will also work with student-written publications including the Cultural Passport, which informs incoming students about cultural events in Philadelphia.
Of particular interest to the center are Art Attack and Table Matters, the collaboration of which was set up in October when the Honors College won a $20,000 arts journalism grant from the Knight/NEA Community Arts Journalism Challenge
The new funding will help establish Table Matters, a new food journalism publication created in collaboration with the Goodwin College of Professional Studies. Wilson says he hopes to expand the publication over the summer.
“We’re trying to ramp up our partnership with the Daily News,” Wilson said, emphasizing that the center will contribute arts journalism, originally to be found in Art Attack, to the publication.
Wilson also said he hopes to continue development of the Cultural Passport website, drexelculturalpassport.com.
The center will offer a co-op position to Drexel students, and Wilson said that there may be future courses where students can receive credit for contributing to the center’s publications.
Mary Sydnor, a senior English major, started working for the center on co-op and decided to keep writing after the six month period was over. She currently works as the editor for the Cultural Passport website, a copy editor for the Smart Set, and a student writer for the Art Attack alliance with the Daily News.
According to Sydnor, writing for these publications has helped her learn the conventions of art journalism and decide what type of writing she wants to focus on.
“Definitely getting published, now on a weekly basis, has been the best experience,” she said.
Moving forward, Wilson said he hopes to collaborate with other schools and subject areas within Drexel. However, he said, the publications will continue to focus on the broad topic of culture.
Update 04/30/2012: The correct name of “Table Manners” is “Table Matters.” Table Matters is funded by Drexel University Pennoni Honors College & Goodwin College of Professional Studies, not the Knight/NEA Community Arts Journalism Challenge grant.