A Letter From The Editor: Issue 3

 In Culture, Feature

As a small child, I would often creep down the basement stairs of my family home and peer through the opening under the wood banister into the room below. My dad practiced there with his band, and I loved watching his fingers roll over the guitar while his singer belted out ZZ Top’s “La Grange.” I would stay for a song or two and then find my way upstairs, where my mom was often banging out Beethoven’s “Für Elise” on our upright spinet in the living room.

Artistic outlets were important in our home, and I’m incredibly thankful that even at a young age I was able to experience the value my parents placed on being creative. While they were a pair of the most involved parents I’ve ever seen, they were also unique, talented, strong individuals. I knew that, even then. What a gift to give a child—that even with immense responsibility, creativity and artistic pursuit is of serious value.

Recently, at our Issue 2 Launch Party, St. Louis rapper Mvstermind performed for an intimate group of ALIVE members and friends. There was no stage, no tickets sold—just a talented man giving us his all and us taking it in. I thought of my Dad playing for no one but himself, and I felt a jolt of pride for the community that is forming around this magazine. A community that values creativity.

We’ve welcomed a group of people into that community with this issue that exemplify this spirit. Bill Barton and Patty Perreira both left their careers at a giant company to pursue a passion project that would eventually become luxury-eyewear brand, Barton Perreira. The designs are now sold in more than 150 stores. Further showing how creative hunger can lead to measurable success is Elise Joseph in Nashville, Tennessee. After amassing a following with her enviable blogging chops, Joseph used her influence to launch GOODWIN, a women’s capsule retail concept. Her prolific output, whether through social media, her website or online store, is always meticulously on-brand.

About 500 miles northwest of Nashville, we met three creatives in Kansas City, Missouri, all living their own version of artistic fulfillment. Jon Marzette is a young designer and DJ still crafting an independent career. We meet him at that elusive time in many artists’ lives when they’re not even aware of how talented they are. Similarly, the young founders of 50/50 Collective, Cambria Potter and Hannah Lodwick, are navigating their burgeoning curatorial careers while introducing the city to a set of artists arguably talented enough to contribute to our national conversation. Emerging handbag designer Ami Beck knows as well as anyone how hard it can be to maintain a creative practice. We spoke with her about work ethic, quality design and the importance of taking risks.

Two creators who couldn’t be more different are James Beard Award semi-finalist Andy Schumacher and artist, filmmaker and activist Damon Davis. And yet, their stories prove that living a culturally rich life anywhere is plausible. Schumacher, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa native, is crafting menus with a clear goal top of mind: making delicious food that surprises people. Davis, too, is opening eyes. With his new film “Whose Streets?” recently shown at Sundance and being released in August by Magnolia Pictures, this St. Louisan is showing how a city rocked by tragedy rises.

I had a baby recently, my second son in two years. When my husband and I decided to become parents, we had several conversations about continuing our respective creative pursuits. Is band practice important when there’s a toddler at home? Should I be spending time at the piano when my newborn is nearby? Creativity and an individual artistic passion feeds a family and nourishes a career. I think after sitting with this issue, you’ll know as well as I do that the answer to those questions is an unequivocal “yes.”


Connect with me on Instagram and Twitter. Who are the creatives you’ve discovered recently? What are you doing to nourish a creative practice? I’d love to hear from you.


Photo by Attilio D’Agostino.

This letter originally appeared in ALIVE Issue 3, 2017. Purchase Issue 3 and become an ALIVE member to receive free artisan gifts from makers throughout the heartland, six print issues per year and other perks. Sign up for only $8.

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