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UNCW's Ecotone Magazine Receives $10,000 NEA Grant

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded UNCW’s Ecotone magazine a $10,000 Art Works grant. Art Works, the NEA’s principal grantmaking program, received more than 1,600 applications for this round of grantmaking. In the literature category, the agency awarded just 44 grants, 22 of which went to literary magazines like Ecotone.

Ecotone, produced by faculty and students in the M.F.A. program at UNC Wilmington, is a nationally recognized literary magazine whose mission is to find unparalleled writing that "reimagines place." The publication strives to bridge the literary and the scientific, the personal and the biological, the urban and the rural, while searching for voices that are often underrepresented in the literary community.

“Without the NEA’s support, it would be much harder to do the work we do,” said the magazine’s editor, Anna Lena Phillips Bell. In addition to helping draw in acclaimed contributors, the grant will allow Ecotone to reach an ever-wider audience.

Bell said that the award will support a new initiative, "Teach Ecotone," which is designed to give instructors at college and high school levels resources for using the magazine in their classrooms. She hopes the initiative will help students think more about what it means to make art out of place.

“Students will start to think about where we are in space, and what that means for our identities, for our relationships with other people and for the future of the planet,” she added.

Teaching has been part of Ecotone’s mission since its founding. Students in UNCW’s M.F.A. program who work on the magazine learn about editing, production and promotion during their time on staff and leave with a concrete foundation on which to build future careers. To be awarded this grant speaks volumes about the quality of work M.F.A. students do on a daily basis under Bell’s guidance.

“In addition to supporting Ecotone, this prestigious award recognizes the creative writing department’s excellent faculty and staff and their commitment to teaching UNCW students the craft of publishing through applied learning,” said Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Aswani Volety. Commitment to enhancing applied learning experiences and preparing students for post-graduation success are key elements of UNCW’s Strategic Plan.

--Tyler Anne Whichard ’19

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Ecotone staff

Members of the magazine's faculty and student staff with Ecotone
contributor Anna Maria Hong (center) during her recent visit to UNCW.