What does it mean to be part of the Galway community?
A business class at Galway High School is looking for the creative answer to that question for a new coffee-table book students are producing with the help of an arts grant.
The 96-page, full-color arts and poetry book, which doesn’t yet have a title, will include submissions from the community as well as from teachers and students.
“We’re hoping it’s going to be half and half, like half community and half school-based,” said Galway business teacher Mark Swain. It will include photos, paintings and sketches of Galway as well as poems and quotes.
Juniors Joe English and Hannah Smith, both business interns for Swain, are overseeing the project.
“It’ll definitely be one of the largest undertakings we’ve done in many years,” said English, who is student CEO of The Village Press, the school’s publishing company through Swain’s business class. “It’s going to be a lot of time for all of us.”
English and Smith are students in a school Career Explorations Internship Program, in which students pick a field that interests them and work there every day.
“With the interns, they can just keep it rolling,” Swain said. “Then we have a student committee to pick what is going to go in.”
The high-quality book will be the third for The Village Press, after a bilingual children’s book done last year with student art and “The Life Between Two Cities” produced the year before with submitted short stories from middle- and high-schoolers about life in Galway.
The new coffee-table book will explore a similar theme as “The Life Between Two Cities,” but with poetry instead of short stories and with a larger format for more prominent art.
Swain got the idea for doing a coffee-table book at a Columbia Scholastic Press Association conference a couple of years ago, where he presented the book his students had produced and a teacher from Washington brought him a copy of her class’s coffee-table book.
But producing such a tome is expensive, and it’s only possible this year because of a $2,800 Saratoga Program for Arts Funding grant through the New York State Council on the Arts.
Olga “Regina” Doi, director of the Galway Public Library, applied for the grant last fall, billing the book as a community partnership between the two institutions.
In addition to 100 printed copies of the book, Doi will convert it into an e-book format for sale and for lending through the Southern Adirondack Library System’s website for people with electronic book readers.
The paper book will sell for roughly $35 to $40, though a price hasn’t been set.
“It’s expensive to print a good-quality photography book,” Swain said. “It would be very difficult for us to do this without the grant.”
Students also will use a high-quality digital camera and photo editing software provided by a grant from the Galway Community Education Foundation.
Swain’s business group is under the gun to get contributions from the community by March 1 and put the book together by mid-May for delivering to the printer, Miller Printing & Litho in Amsterdam.
It’s an aggressive timeline that makes Swain’s publishing connections shake their heads.
“Everyone’s like, ‘You’re crazy. You’ll never get it published,’ ” he said.
Community members who want to submit their creative work on what it means to be part of the Galway community can do so by sending digital files (in Microsoft Word format for writing and in high-resolution .png, .tiff or .bmp files for art) to [email protected]
Submissions should include the artist’s name, email address and phone number.
Once the book is ready, it will be for sale through the school store, at the library and on the school media group’s website, http://eaglesmediacenter.com.
Doi said she’ll set up a Web page to feature all of the submissions, including the ones not chosen for the book. She’ll also help develop the e-book, something she did before when the library was involved in the 2005 Galway Story Quilt project that converted town residents’ stories into poetry.