Spontaneous Combustion

For the past several weeks, vibrant posters publicizing the Courant, Phillips Academy’s literary arts magazine, have been seen scattered across familiar spots on campus, catching the eyes of passerbys. These include sidewalk chalk, artistic posters and even a humongous painting hanging in Uncommons, drawn by Danica Mitchell ’09. The multitude of innovative methods of advertisement and the domination of the Uncommons wall reached a point of saturation so that students were asked to take some down to leave space for other posters. Prior to this spring, the magazine was fairly unknown to the general Andover community. Every term, the issues feature student-written works including poetry, essays, short stories and visual art. “The Courant was a lot more popular when Craig Thorn was the faculty advisor. After he passed away, its presence on campus heavily diminished,” said current Editor-in-Chief Louise Ireland ’09. However, the Courant seems to be back on its way up. With a brand new board led by co-heads Ireland and Charlie Dong ’09, they have taken the intensity of their publicity up to an unmatched level, and it is clearly starting to have an effect on our community. In an effort to further get the magazine’s name out, the Courant hosted an enjoyable and pleasantly eccentric event this past Sunday. Titled “Spontaneous Combustion,” the event was held in Elson Room 113 from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. last Sunday. “The reason we chose ‘Spontaneous Combustion’ as the theme was to show how many creative ideas students can spontaneously think of and express in a contained amount of time. We only had one room, a couple pastels and some blank paper and we’re going to make a special spring issue of the Courant called a Chapbook. Everyone always has ideas that are in the back of their mind and we wanted to give a place where everyone has a chance to let those ideas out,” said Courant Poetry Editor Nette Oot ’09. Oot is an Arts Editor for The Phillipian. It was open to the general public, and virtually anyone interested was welcome to drop by and produce a piece to be added to the upcoming special issue to be published this spring. “We were originally going to do a 24-hour event, but we realized it was a bit long. The goal of Spontaneous Combustion was to provide a way to relieve some stress and express your artistic side. The idea was originally thought up by last year’s Editors-in-Chief Jessica Cole ’08 and Simone Salvo ’08,” said Ireland. The room contained the very comfortable ambiance of a lazy Sunday afternoon, with an assortment of tunes playing behind the sound of casual conversation. Snacks such as Wheat Thins, Nilla Wafers and chocolate Easter Eggs were passed around as students wrote, drew, sewed and colored. A good majority of the students that showed up stayed until the very end of Spontaneous Combustion, and all of the final products looked fantastic. Overall, everyone seemed very enthusiastic about the event. “It’s clear that kids here don’t really get the chance to express their creativity outside the classroom. The thing on Sunday was a great idea on the Courant’s part,” said Ker Yu Ong ’08. It looks as though the new publicity is only the tip of the iceberg, and the Courant’s growth is definitely not stopping here. “Our goals for the new board are to increase the presence of the Courant on campus via advertising and other methods of attracting readers. We’re currently working on creating a Courant website to generate even more awareness. Previous issues will also be available online. We’re also speaking with our publisher, Flagship, about getting our issues printed in either full or partial color,” said Courant Editor-in-Chief and Arts Editor for The Phillipian Charlie Dong. In this year’s Commencement edition of The Phillipian, Arts will review other campus publications.