Prism - a new literary magazine devoted to writers and artists of the Central Maryland counties of Howard, Baltimore and Carroll -- will be found in college and independent bookstores by the spring, according to Patapsco River Publications.
The glossy-cover magazine -- approximately 80 pages in length -- will focus on short fiction, non-fiction, poetry, photography and art work from writers and artists who work or live in the tri-county area.
D. Scott Swain -- a member of Patapsco River Publications' board of directors and a contributor to Carroll County Community College's student publications -- said that a perusal of Maryland Writer's Manual confirmed what he had guessed for some time: The area had no magazine that promoted the literary and visual arts.
"In the Baltimore, Howard and Carroll area there is nothing," he said.
Acting to fill that void, Swain and some of his Carroll Community College colleagues established and later incorporated Patapsco River Publications last summer.
Because initial financing has come out of their own pockets, the founders are looking for other ways to raise funds. Raffles, a family entertainment night and a book auction all have been scheduled.
The initial copy of Prism will probably cost $3 to $5.
"We're not looking to make tons of money," Swain said.
Government and corporate funding will have to wait until either the organization is a year old or proper legal documents are filed.
One staff member, Emily Ferren of the Carroll County Public Library, will help in that department.
"We're really confident about obtaining some kind of grant money," Swain said.
"Emily has 16 years of grant writing. She's confident of getting NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) funding."
The results from a recent contest for artwork and writing, judged by community college professors, will be posted in January.
The works judged to be the best will be published in Prism's premiere issue.
Swain believes that the volume of articles submitted validates his belief that the climate is right for a literary magazine.
"Judging from the response . . . there must be a need," he said.
Although Patapsco River Publications is headquartered in Westminster, the writers and artists of Howard County have made their presence known.
"An awful lot of material has come from Columbia and Ellicott City," Swain said.
Once Patapsco River Publications firmly is established, Swain said, it will consider branching out, creating a magazine for primary school pupils.
Anyone interested in submitting work can contact the Howard County Arts Council, most libraries or Suzanne Dixon at 876-9622.