There have been many well-deserved tributes for Wallace Coffey, who recently passed away. He was a renowned birder, writer and mentor. But there was another side of Wallace that deserves to be honored as well - promoter of the arts and creator of A! Magazine for the Arts.
It was Wallace, as marketing director, and Art Powers as publisher, who came up with an outlandish idea: to create a monthly arts magazine at the Bristol Herald Courier, but have a volunteer committee from the arts community manage all the content. They generously provided advertising, printing, distribution, photography and a writer. The committee made all editorial decisions. The first issue was published in November 1994.
I was asked to serve as editor and to create the committee. It was a daunting task. It fell to Wallace to guide this group of novices through the myriad details of creating, managing and editing the fledgling publication. With no template for us to follow, Wallace spent countless hours working with us and in the process gave all of us a good education in journalism. It is another example of his great community spirit, his generosity and his creative mind.
I'm sure it pleased him, as it does me, to see that A! has evolved and is still thriving, now for 23 years. His legacy lives on.