In the summer of 2021 we began a series called Hope in Hopeless Times to provide inspiration and practical resources to people as we emerged from COVID. So many people were feeling isolated, hopeless, and overwhelmed. We studied pandemic trends and the effects on mental health, marriage, substance abuse, etc. We had existing marriage and recovery resources, but we needed a tool to draw people back to in-person gatherings. We needed to inspire, share stories, and remind people that they are not alone, and we had the resources to help those that were feeling stuck get back on track.
I developed an idea to create a magazine resource that followed along with the series full of inspiring art from our own community that told inspirational stories of how people were finding success in the midst of hopeless times, and pointed people to the resources they needed.
Like much of the world at that point, our Creative Communications team was understaffed, and we didn’t have the manpower for such a large print piece in the time required. So along with our content writer, we leveraged creatives in our community to build a volunteer editorial board, and more than 35 artists to lend their skills in the written word, photography, design, fine art, and even dance to help us. We created a coaching system that stemmed from the board to manage each aspect of the process. I led creative direction for visuals and content along with the help of Katie Brown, our staff content writer, and over 3 months we developed, designed, and went to print on our first series magazine.
It was a smashing success. Our community grabbed up 20,000 copies in a mater of weeks, and our Executive Leadership Team asked that we run several of these every year. By the time we printed our second magazine less than 6 months later, our volunteer creative team grew to more than 80 engaged fine artists and creatives of all types. These magazines have become a part of the Mariners culture that people look forward to.