.LDOC, a biweekly one-sheet publication of photography and creative writing, will appear at select Red Line stops this October, offering the public a gateway to the arts. The publication received a $10,000 grant from Crusade for Art, funding the first year of the free print. Volunteers will hand out new issues on the first and third Monday of each month at Loyola Avenue, Belmont Avenue, Lake Street, 69th Street and 95th Street stops on the CTA Red Line. Newcity sat down with .LDOC founders, the wife and husband duo Danielle and Joseph Wilcox, to get the backstory on the new project.
The Wilcoxes explain that they envisioned the paper as a way to allow the general public an escape from the daily grind, offering a new chorus to the rhythm of the workweek. “Each issue features one piece of creative writing and one photographer, with corresponding thematic elements in a fourteen-by-twenty-two inch, one sheet of newsprint folded twice,” Joseph says. The print is Chicago-centric, though available for order to other locations in the United States.
The first issue features photographer Meg T. Noe and writer Alex Jaros, touching on themes of death and grief. The following issue will feature photographer Victor Yanez-Lazcano and writer Sahar Mustafah, referencing identity politics through the lens of Mexican-American and Palestinian viewpoints. While the first three issues have been curated by the pair, the intent is to open the publication to submissions. This offers relatively rare access for writers and photographers to a wide audience via print. The publication stands out from other arts publications and freebies, as it provides an ad-free window to an arts experience. There are no reviews, just featured creative work. The project reaches out to an audience who might not already be plugged into the arts community.
This is the first time the couple has collaborated on a project directly, but their decade-long friendship and relationship has served as a precursor to the project, organically offering opportunities to grow and learn from each other’s interests and work. The print is all about finding photographers and writers that pair well, work that can be experienced separately but together open a conversation about the work. Written pieces are selected based on accessibility, favoring stories that open quickly.
Audiences get an opportunity to interact with writers and artists directly, as the main distribution channel comes through a face-to-face volunteer distribution base. Volunteers enjoy the opportunity to get to know other creative members of the .LDOC community and open up about the arts to the general public, making the reader a part of the experience. Not set in stone, the couple envisions an issue send-off party where volunteers get to meet-and-greet with the writer and photographer and enjoy a cup of coffee as they receive issues set to distribute.
The Crusade Engagement Grant awards $10,000 annually to the entry with the best idea for building an audience for fine art photography. The grant covers the operations cost for the first year of distribution. Subscription costs and supplemental means of obtaining the issues will sustain the project for longer. For those not riding the Red Line, a $30 subscription gets you all twenty-four issues and are available for pre-order. Danielle and Joseph intend to create a biannual collection of work available for purchase to further support sustained funding for the project.
What needs to be done before the launch? The Wilcoxes say, “We need to officially lay out the first three issues and get them printed. We did the mock-up already for the grant and have the basic ideas. We need to scout stations and map out specific distribution spots. We need to recruit volunteers and print the t-shirts. Basically, everything!” (Whitney Richardson)