“Quaranzine” inspires creativity, community during quarantine

Minnesota Youth Collective is accepting submissions for their new digital zine until April 15.

Illustrated by Abby Adamski

Abby Adamski

Illustrated by Abby Adamski

Frankie Carlson

During this time of social distancing and self-isolation, the organizers at Minnesota Youth Collective are attempting to bring communities together through art. “Quaranzine” is a new digital zine that will be comprised of submitted photography, visual art, short written pieces and art in various other mediums. The first issue is set to be released online in early May. 

Founded in 2017, Minnesota Youth Collective is an organization that centers around youth programs that aim to promote leadership skills and civic engagement for young people throughout the state. The majority of its work takes place at high schools and college campuses. It has had a strong presence at the University of Minnesota, helping to facilitate students working with peers and faculty to promote education and involvement in the political process. 

In light of the recent pandemic, however, Minnesota Youth Collective has been forced to put all community and campus events on hold.

With the extension of the current shelter-in-place order and schools being moved online, the organization was interested in finding a way to continue to build community in the midst of uncertain times.

Minnesota Youth Collective cultural organizer, Hannah Soundrarajan, said Quaranzine is meant to be a reminder that we can all get through this together.

“The unique thing about COVID-19 and this particular crisis is that we can’t be together in person,” she said. “Organizing is all about adapting to the crisis … We figured the best way to digitally organize is to turn to the artists.”

Minnesota Youth Collective is accepting emailed submissions at [email protected] until April 15. It is open to all artists under the age of 35. You can find more specific details at mnyouthcollective.org/quaranzine

So far, the group has received work from a range of creators in the community — from advanced artists to casual hobbyists. 

Though Quaranzine was born out of the pandemic, digital coordinator, Danielle Jackson, hopes to continue with similar projects moving forward. 

“We for sure want to do multiple zines,” Jackson said. “We want to continue working with artists in this way. That’s part of the inspiration behind this project — to start building a network of artists that we can have work with us … that we can start building a community around.”

Members of Minnesota Youth Collective hope that Quaranzine will help further their goals of empowering young people toward action and involvement during this time. 

Development associate, Destiny Washington, stressed the importance of young people continuing to be represented and to express themselves. 

“I think this project has been a great way to stay connected with one another using art and other forms to express how we’re feeling,” said Washington, who is a sophomore studying political science and African American history at the University of Minnesota. “We are still able to keep a sense of community but we’ve moved to a digital space. I think that just shows how awesome young people are and how versatile we are.” 

Looking to the future, Minnesota Youth Collective hopes to hold a launch party for Quaranzine participants when it is safe to gather. 

“We’re excited to have something fun and engaging that can hopefully be helpful in this time,” Jackson said.