A few months back I took a weekend trip to Dallas, and was impressed by the young, vibrant art scene emerging there. Grassroots arts ventures have always been interesting to me, and I saw spaces, projects, and ideas popping up all over that were supported by the community as well as the city’s museums and universities. semigloss. magazine [spelled in lowercase, with a period], founded by Sally Glass, stood out. The magazine was in every art spot that I visited; everywhere people were singing her praises. Starting anything is ambitious, but starting a print magazine is even more so; in a digital era, the odds are stacked against a printed publication requiring real paper. Sally accepted the odds, used her time as a resident artist at UT Dallas’ CentralTrak wisely, pummeled forward, and found huge community support for a magazine that has been designed to fill the gap in archiving and writing. I’ve been in touch with Sally via email:
Leslie Moody Castro: Can you tell us a little bit about your own personal background?
Sally Glass: I was born and raised in Dallas, and got my undergraduate degree from Texas Christian University in psychology and philosophy. After graduating, I decided to pursue photography instead of psychology so I spent the next several years honing those skills and developing a serious interest in contemporary art, eventually deciding to study fine art as a graduate student. I am now about halfway through my MFA at the University of Texas at Dallas and a student resident at CentralTrak Artist Residency.
LMC: Why start a magazine, what were your goals?
SG: The main impetus for starting semigloss. was that there seemed to be a lack of critical dialogue, or coverage in general, of the artistic endeavors here. Also, as so many people in this region are experiencing, I felt there was just so much work and activity and DIY energy that deserved to be documented, if not for posterity, then for the furthering of our creative culture. Of course there are already several journalistic outlets for art coverage, but I didn’t want to produce content online. I was really excited about the prospect of a physical art document that also provided written discourse that reflected the current state of our arts community in all kinds of ways.
LMC: Did you start your CentralTrak residency knowing that’s what you wanted to do?
SG: I had no idea that I would start the magazine here. However, I do credit the Radical Regionalism panel held at CentralTrak last year for being the source of the initial comment that spurred the desire to create semigloss. And from the very beginning, living here has been such a crucial space of support for this project and so much else. I’m very grateful.
LMC: How have your goals changed since founding semigloss.?
SG: Initially, I thought the best way to expose the wonderful artists and writers featured in semigloss. to the world was to only focus on who’s working and what’s happening in the North Texas region exclusively. I have since realized that the only way to truly enter a realm of visibility on a global scale is to incorporate compelling artists and writers from all over the world, thus opening up a dialogue between ourselves and everyone else doing good work in this field. Communication and connection are vital in strengthening what we do as artists, so I believe that fostering these elements can only result in positive things for Dallas/Fort Worth.
LMC: What has been the biggest stumbling block?
SG: Besides getting breweries to sponsor our release events? 🙂
Honestly, I haven’t hit any serious stumbling blocks at this point, which causes me to be simultaneously less stressed out in the short term, but also very cautious because this can change at any moment. Logistically, I try to be ready for things to go wrong and have a backup plan. Otherwise, our biggest challenges are funding and infrastructure, which are both things that I’m slowly figuring out and am comfortable taking on for the long term day by day.
LMC: What have you learned personally?
SG: The biggest lesson that I have learned as a person through this experience is to have confidence in my abilities, and to follow my instincts. There is so much cause for uncertainty in the process of figuring out how our lives will go as adults and what we want to do that it’s easy to lose sight of what we absolutely can do, which is a lot more than we think. I’ve also learned how important trust and communication are in working collaboratively, and in life…in general really.