The Tower Magazine highlights 2020 from students’ perspectives with upcoming issue

Students have the chance to share how they see the world with The Tower magazine’s 2020 theme “catchlight.”


Courtesy of The Tower

Cover design of The Tower’s 2020 issue.

Meg Bishop, Arts and Entertainment Reporter

The Tower, a student-run annual art and literary magazine here at the University of Minnesota, is preparing for the release of this year’s edition, complete with a very timely theme. Students get to share their experiences from this past year and illuminate stories of struggle and triumph.

The Tower is taking submissions for this year’s edition until Dec. 16. Students can submit their poetry, fiction, nonfiction and visual art.

This year’s theme is “catchlight” — an artistic term for when a sparkle of light can be seen in someone’s eye and usually used to reference a detail in a painting or photograph.

“Typically a catchlight is something that makes your subject seem alive,” said Marley Richmond, University of Minnesota fourth-year student and The Tower’s current editor-in-chief.

The magazine’s Instagram account has been promoting the catchlight theme over the past month by asking students to submit photos or art that relate to the theme, capturing the catchlights of every day. Addie Thomas, a University of Minnesota fourth-year student and current marketing director at The Tower, helps run The Tower’s Instagram account. She said with the current state of the world, she expects lots of emotionally charged submissions.

“It’s no lie that this has been a shitshow of a year. We’re expecting to see some really raw and some really powerful pieces,” Thomas said.

Last year’s magazine theme was “Each of Us Is Many,” which brought about discourse regarding the power that individual voices hold. Throughout the last few years, The Tower has been focused on selecting themes that tie into advocacy, highlighting vocal activism.

“We’ve also thought of The Tower as being a catchlight for campus. Students and diverse voices are really what breathes life into our campus, so that’s why we’re so excited to be compiling these different voices and stories,” Richmond said.

As the editor-in-chief, Richmond chooses student works for the issue which best represent how art can connect people together and help understand one another.

“Writing can make the personal feel universal and really connect to all of us, as a source of light,” Richmond said.

This upcoming spring, The Tower will host its annual launch party. The magazine has already begun meeting with the Weisman Art Museum (WAM) to plan out a virtual unveiling of the 2020 issue.

“We’re starting to meet with WAM and to talk about how we’re going to have this because COVID has given us a lot of really weird restrictions,” said Amanda Fort, University of Minnesota fourth-year student and chief editor of poetry at The Tower.

This year the magazine’s spring launch will have featured students from the 2019 issue come back to do readings and talk about their work.