Vox unleashes students’ inner artists

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In today’s society, creating art is not limited to painting a portrait and hanging it in a museum.

On Thursday, April 10, the UNBSJ Vox hosted a coffeehouse at the Magnolia Café on Prince William Street. Nearly seventy people crammed into the establishment at tables, chairs and stools to observe contributor writers share their artistic skills with the community.

Kyle Roberts, the assistant editor of the Vox XII, explains “ It is understandable that it’s a smaller turnout than our first coffeehouse in the fall, considering it is now close to final exams and the Last Class Bash,” he says. “However, we have close to seventy people here in the space we have- that’s a packed house.”

The event began at 7:30 p.m. with editor Jenna Albert and Roberts hosting and introducing the participants. Vox contributers presented excerpts of their poetry and prose to the audience. During the readings, Roberts accompanied them on his guitar, which provided the event with appropriate background music. “I was aiming to cover the right notes of (their) work,” he says.

As part of the Vox magazine, prizes were given out for artwork, poetry, photography and prose. For example, Courtney Gallery won for her With Wall work in the field of photography. Jack O’Connor’s collection of sketches led to him winning in the visual art section, while Katrina Pridgeon’s “Knuckles” proved to be a winner in the poetry category.

Reflecting on this year’s Vox selections, Roberts believes this is one of the best editions to date. “I feel like we’ve done a lot more visually than we’ve done in the past,” he says. “As the editor for next year, I want to make it even more visual.”

To keep the artistic vibes going, several musical acts played songs for the audience. After the writers concluded reading passages of their work, guitarists Drew Sweet and Adam Smith performed acoustic sets of original material. In addition, Wayne Hansen, the Academic Technology Services manager of UNBSJ, even got to play a duet with Roberts.

Several young people expressed interest towards participating with future editions of Vox. In particular, Sidney Cunningham, a first year Arts student, was pleased with the emphasis on the magazine as an outlet to express oneself. “I think its fantastic they have a method for students to get their work out there,” he says. “To have the means to do that is awesome.”

Jess Buck, a 4th year arts student, hadn’t heard of Vox until earlier this year. “I didn’t know about it really until this year- when Jenna asked me if I knew anyone who could publish something,” she says. “I said ‘Yes.’”

Jenna Albert, the editor, says she is proud of the Vox XII edition of the magazine, which she describes as “phenomenal.” “We were able to do things we haven’t done before; that was very exciting for us,” she says. “The launch had a great turnout, in my opinion. It shows the community has taken notice, as well as the students.”

Roberts is already making plans for next year’s Vox. “I’m thinking of doing different things and making it more cohesive, but that’s not saying anything negative about this issue or past editions,” he says. “The current body of artwork, poetry and prose is outstanding.”

Students interested in contributing and developing their artistic skills are encouraged to submit original work to Vox. He says the UNB administration has made the arts faculty face struggle over the past two years. “Contact me immediately, I need a staff next year- there are big ideas I have- so we’ll produce something,” says Roberts. “Building a stronger arts community should be the focus of next year’s Vox.”

Albert agrees with Roberts’ sentiment on the goals for next year’s Vox team. She is optimistic about what the 2015 edition will accomplish. “This is what the Vox is about- sharing art.”