Once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the team at UNLV’s Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute, and their flagship arts and culture magazine, The Believer, had to put production for the August/September issue on pause. When they weren’t able to put out the issue as planned, the BMI/Believer staff began thinking about what it means to come together while we’re all stuck in isolation. That’s when Kristen Radtke, art director & deputy publisher of the magazine, had the idea to offer subscribers a way to connect: a postcard set.
“A postcard set seemed like a perfect way to do that — they’re small tokens you can send to people you care about, and they can tangibly brighten the day of both the person who sends it, and the recipient,” Radtke said.
The collection of 30 postcards showcases art and poetry pulled from the pages of The Believer magazine, featuring illustrations by Jillian Tamaki, Zeke Peña, Grant Snider, Jarett Sitter, Gina Wynbrandt, Maria Nguyen, Ben Passmore, Samar Haddad, and many more. It also includes poetry by Toni Morrison, Edward Hirsch, and Natalie Diaz; and quotes by Anne Carson and Samantha Irby.
“We wanted to showcase a wide array of different styles and work and give another life to illustrations that appeared in print. Every time we close an issue, I think about how much I want to pin so much of the art to my walls. The postcards allow us to do just that,” Radtke said.
Included in each postcard set was one card filled out with the address to BMI’s office at UNLV. Soon after the postcard sets were sent out to subscribers around the world, dozens came flooding back to The Believer’s home in Las Vegas.
“It’s been extraordinary to receive so many notes back from readers, addressed to The Believer. I’m deeply touched by the personal, vulnerable, honest nature with which so many people approached their messages,” Radtke said. “It’s been such a gift to hear from readers in a way we don’t usually have a forum for, so I’ve especially loved hearing how The Believer has impacted someone’s life or thinking, or pieces that’ve stuck with them. I also love how many amazing pictures readers have drawn us. I’m confident The Believer has the most talented subscriber base of any magazine around.”
While so many of us are struggling in infinite ways, the beautiful array of responses sent in by subscribers were personal, honest, and vulnerable.