Letter from the Editor: 2019 in Review

By December 17, 2019

Dear reader,

At this time last year, Burnaway was in a very different place from where it is now, both figuratively and literally. Not only has our logo and the location of our office changed, but the organization now operates at an entirely different capacity than ever before. Following the hiring of new leadership at the close of 2018, Jasmine Amussen joined the magazine as its assistant editor and a regular contributor early this year. In March, Burnaway was certified by Working Artists in the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E.), making a commitment to fairly paying artists, writers, interns, and other contributors and collaborators. With three full-time staff members and two part-time assistants, the organization now has a larger team than ever before, allowing us to pursue more ambitious projects and goals as we enter 2020.

Rafael Soldi: A body in transit is now on view at the Frost Museum, Miami through December 4

This year Burnaway also expanded its editorial horizons, covering Miami and the Caribbean, publishing reviews bilingually in Spanish and English, and developing working partnerships with publications around the world. In collaboration with Momus, we published a feature-length review of the 2019 Atlanta Biennial by award-winning, Baltimore-based critic Maura Callahan. Berlin-based magazine 032c republished “Letter from Atlanta: Old Town Fury Road,” Jasmine Amussen’s analysis of the Black Yeehaw Agenda that was far-and-away our most popular story of the year. In a collaborative series with Scalawag, we explored art and labor in the South, with the final story in the series recounting how our own editorial team joined the National Writers Union.

In November, Burnaway released Stranger, Harder, Brighter: The 2019 Burnaway Reader, its first print edition in five years, collecting the best stories published online this year alongside print exclusives. (Order your copy this week to receive it in time for the holidays.) Along with this new anthology, we took the work of five Georgia painters to NADA Miami earlier this month—marking Burnaway’s first-ever participation in an international art fair.

While remaining deeply engaged in Atlanta and the American South, Burnaway garnered attention and acclaim this year from readers and supporters nationally and internationally. Along with four other organizations across the country—including the Coleman Center for the Arts in York, Alabama—Burnaway was included among the inaugural recipients of the VIA | Wagner Art Incubator Fund grant. As our director Erin Jane Nelson told Artsy in their report on the announcement, this kind of support will allow us to bring on editors-at-large based throughout the region to sustain thoughtful and deliberate coverage of local scenes.

For all we’ve accomplished this year, there’s already plenty to look forward to in 2020. In January, Burnaway’s assistant editor Jasmine Amussen departs for a fellowship at the MacDowell Colony, a temporary loss for our office but surely a definitive gain for literature generally. Contributor Paul Michael Brown was recently named a 2019/2020 Arts Writers Grant recipient by the Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital, and Burnaway will partner with him to publish stories documenting the lives and work of artists across the South.

Kelly Taylor Mitchell: Kin, Spirit, Seed on view at Westobou Gallery, Augusta

If you’re as thrilled as we are about what the future holds for Burnaway, please consider investing in our work. There are multiple ways to show your support: by purchasing a copy of Stranger, Harder, Brighter or tickets to our upcoming Art & Amble, joining our membership program, or making a tax-deductible donation to the organization.

As ever,

Logan Lockner

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