Open Field: 50 years of creativity

Open Field, Cornell College’s annual literary magazine was first published half a century ago, in 1968. Fifty years later, the publication still brings joy to the students involved.

Covers of past publications of Open Field
Covers of past publications of Open Field

“One of the most important goals, in my opinion, is to carry on the tradition of Open Field,” said Co-Editor in Chief Caitlin Tobin ’20. “It’s one of the oldest publications at Cornell and something that really acts as a time capsule of each academic year.”

With five decades worth of editorial content, Tobin said you’d be surprised at how much students in 2019 think about the same things students did in 1968.

“In reading some of the old journals, I think the most striking thing is that not a lot has changed, content-wise,” Tobin said. “It seems as though people still identify with the same main themes such as love, family, school, and politics.”

That doesn’t mean a lot hasn’t changed with the publication, though, especially with the layout and printing.

“We can do a lot more with our publishing program now, Adobe InDesign,” said Assistant Editor Madeleine Koenigsberg ’21. “We’ve changed the formatting, fonts, sizes, margins–everything. For example, the 2017 issue is a gigantic square, while last year’s issue was more like an actual book, though taller.”

It’s not just the layout technology that has changed, either. The actual type of art and literature submissions are different too, and the students know each year will bring even more changes.

“I don’t think people realize that we also accept 3D art, although, yes, it has to be in picture format,” Koenigsberg said. “Maybe one day we can figure out how to actually put in art that literally pops off the page!”

“Since my time at Cornell, the editorial board has more and more pushed the boundaries of what has existed before,” Co-Editor in Chief Elise Salsman ’19 added. “I think that this comes from the growing creativity of the editorial board itself.”

The board says creativity is key in this process of constructing each year’s Open Field masterpiece.  

“I love picking the pieces to go into the journal and laying it all out and deciding what pieces go where and how to add the art in,” Tobin said “It really feels like I am creating a work of art myself.”

“Each year the campus really shocks the editorial board with the sheer breadth and caliber of work submitted, and it is such a relief to finally see the magazine we have been waiting for coming to life,” Salsman said.

And seeing the final product filled with art and literature created by Cornellians is enough to make students smile whether it’s 1968 or 2019.

Getting involved:

The deadline to submit creative writing or artwork for the 2019 magazine is Jan. 18. Students can go to the Cornell College website to submit their work. The board would like to gather as many submissions as possible under the following categories: Visual art (photography, comics, digital art, mixed media, scans of drawings) and literature (poetry, creative nonfiction, fiction).

The finished magazine will debut on English Awards Night during Block 8 and will get distributed afterward. Any students looking for more information on how to submit their work for Open Field can also attend a workshop for Submittable, the service used for processing and receiving submissions, held by the editorial board on Wednesday, Jan. 16, from 5:30–7 p.m.