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UC Santa Barbara Students Turn to Kickstarter as Catalyst to Save Literary Magazine

#SavetheCatalyst fundraising campaign launches this week as staff aims to turn page to a brighter future

Readers flip through recent copies of The Catalyst, a literary magazine run by UC Santa Barbara students. In an attempt to put the publication on firmer footing for the future, the staff is launching an online fundraising campaign, Click to view larger
Readers flip through recent copies of The Catalyst, a literary magazine run by UC Santa Barbara students. In an attempt to put the publication on firmer footing for the future, the staff is launching an online fundraising campaign, (Catalyst photo)

The arts aren’t dead, and a group of UC Santa Barbara students is working to prove that point with an online crowd-funding crusade for a beloved literary arts magazine.

A #SaveTheCatalyst Kickstarter campaign kicks off Tuesday in the name of preserving the university’s newly rediscovered Catalyst magazine.

Fourth-year English major Natalie O’Brien spearheaded the magazine’s revitalization last school year, serving as editor-in-chief of the publication that hadn’t been seen on campus since 2007.

The original version of the free magazine included submissions from English majors and spun out of a required class offered in the 1990s, but O’Brien opened the 80-page color periodical up to stories, poems, photos and illustrations submitted by any student.

Since then, student staffers have published four issues of The Catalyst, the fifth of which will be released Tuesday during a launch party at the Isla Vista Food Co-op, 6575 Seville Road.

O’Brien, who graduates next month, wants to leave the magazine in good shape.

After two failed attempts to secure a student lock-in fee, students decided to start the online fundraiser.

The first lock-in fee failed last spring after it didn’t receive enough votes in the Associated Students elections, while this year students weren’t able to gather enough signatures to get the initiative on the ballot.

“I feel like this Kickstarter will come to prove that people do back the arts,” said Josh Ortiz, a first-year UCSB student and Catalyst staffer. “That would keep us going for another year.”

The Catalyst and its core group of 25 students turn away hundreds of submissions each issue, Ortiz said.

“Since its conception, it’s really gotten a lot bigger than everyone expected it to be,” he said. “Now it’s starting to stand on its own. People have really just grown attached to it. The I.V. arts community is kind of like its own little niche. That’s what the magazine really offers.”

The magazine will offer #SaveTheCatalyst campaign donors free T-shirts, buttons, stickers, coffee mugs and fanny packs — items students will push at The Catalyst launch party from 4-9:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Isla Vista Food Co-op. Live music and refreshments also will be on hand.

To donate to The Catalyst Kickstarter, click here.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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