In the spring of 2021, as the Artist-in-Residence at Columbia College Chicago's Aesthetics of Research, Laura conceptualized, edited, and launched MASKS Literary Magazine. Featuring the work of a diverse group of poets, essayists, and fiction writers, this Weisman Award-winning publication is committed to amplifying emerging creative voices and increasing representation of the BIPOC, LGBTQ+, women, disabled, multilingual, and other underrepresented communities. From the Summer 2022 "Editor's Letter"
We want to be heard and seen. This is what stories, poetry, and art can do. The words of a poet or author reflect what is in our own heart, articulating parts of ourselves that we couldn't put into words on our own.
An essay about cats and chronic pain captures unconditional love. A poem about poached pears and fig salad celebrates non-binary identity. Sculptural costumes crafted from eggshells, acorns, and lavender exemplify harmony with nature. A micro-examination of the pores of a face recasts imperfection as truth. Art helps us realize that we are part of a greater human experience. It is to see and be seen. Feel and be felt. To be enveloped by light, and emanate that light from within. - L.A. Hawbaker