Three ACA colleges are collaborating on an innovative publication project. Rob Merritt, Associate Professor of English at Bluefield College, Cy Dillon, Library Director of Ferrum College, Mark Roberts, Director of the Writing Center at Virginia Intermont College, and Joe Champagne, Professor of Photography & Digital Imaging at Virginia Intermont have received a grant from The Appalachian College Association to establish an online arts magazine for the 33 colleges and for the region. The team will design and edit a quarterly publication of photography, poetry, fiction, and nonfiction connected with the Appalachian region. Named Nantahala: A Review of Writing and Photography in Appalachia, the publication will offer to an ever-increasing web-based audience writing and photography that look beyond regional stereotypes. The first issue will appear in the Fall of 2001. Nantahala is currently hosted on the webservers of Virginia Intermont College.

Our Appalachian Focus
When we narrow our pool of contributors to those who live, work, or are influenced by Appalachia, we are in part taking Voltaire’s advice: “tend your own garden.”   Our intent is to cultivate good writers and photographers from Appalachia, not to revel in the bounty selfishly, but to exhibit to the world what talent thrives among these cloistered hills.

Artists and Editors: A Clear Relationship
Nantahala editors view their work as husbandry—tending an artistic garden located in our own backyard.  The fruit of our labor, if we prune with precision and encourage with care, is fresh writing, fresh photography—desirable art for anyone with a discerning eye for beauty. 
Accordingly, we expect and strive for an active, reciprocal relationship between editor and artist.  That is not to say that as editors we do no wrong or that we always give the best suggestions.  On the contrary.  We, as editors and artists ourselves, see value in an honest estimation of creative work.  We know that great art is almost always birthed in solitude, but we equally understand that between every great artist and the art stands an evaluator with a keen, objective eye. 
We want to be that objective, clear voice for our contributors and our readers. 
  If you are an emerging writer or photographer, think of Nantahala as rich soil in which to cultivate your talent.  If you are an established artist, consider Nantahala as a protected preserve where you can continue to grow beyond the canopy of the forest.