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An Important Announcement from Image

note: for an important update, please see our good news


Dear Image Community:

To our readers, friends, program participants, donors, fellows, award winners, and the writers and artists who have appeared in our pages: thank you for the time, attention, and resources you’ve given Image. It’s thanks to you we’ve experienced our decades of success.

This legacy and the vitality of our community make this news especially hard to share, but after 35 years, Image will close its doors and suspend its publication and programs in 2024.

We have often said that Image is not just a journal but a community. We still firmly believe that, and there is still time for you to help shape our last days. It is our deepest hope to be able to meet in Seattle in July at the Glen Workshop for one last gathering, but to host the Glen this year, we need significantly more registrations before March 15. 

We will also be offering our online Image Intensives throughout the spring as we prepare the last issues of the journal. Your participation in our programs has a direct impact on our ability to conclude Image’s work as gracefully as possible. Our staff is finding meaning in knowing that we are continuing to convene our community until the day we close our doors.

We complete this work with a reduced staff. With the material for the last journal issues already in hand, editor in chief James K.A. Smith has resigned, allowing more financial resources to flow to the rest of the staff. We are deeply grateful for Jamie’s service over the past five years. He has been an articulate, visionary leader, and the journal will continue to bear his imprint until its final issue.

Sara Arrigoni has been named executive director in recognition of her leadership and role as the senior operational executive at Image—not just during  these past difficult weeks, but since she was promoted to publisher of Image in 2021.

We’re proud of the work Image has done from its founding: curating, cultivating, convening, and celebrating work that grapples with the mystery of being human and demonstrating the vitality of contemporary art invigorated by faith. As cultural trends have ebbed and flowed over the decades, Image’s consistent achievement has been its focus on artistic excellence and sustained engagement with eternal questions. This commitment has allowed us to bring you profound, enduring works and to be part of the origin stories of aspiring writers and artists whose careers are still unfolding.

To the whole of our community: we are profoundly grateful for your involvement in Image’s work. Thank you for making Image the unique and vibrant community it has been for so many years, for so many people. 

The Staff and Board of Image
February 8, 2024

To show your support...

Answers to Your Questions:

Why did this happen?
The long and short of it is funding. It has always been a challenge to keep this niche project alive, and Image has lived a long time because of a combination of hard work and sacrifice by the staff, the great generosity of its donors, and, honestly, chewing gum, string, and prayer. Over the years, many people have caught the vision and loved and supported Image, but unfortunately not enough to meet our rising expenses.

Could more have been done?
We’ve knocked on a lot of doors and tried a lot of ideas for adjusting our business model, but we’ve finally exhausted our options. The remarkable thing isn’t that we can no longer balance our budget but that we balanced it for so long (and somehow squeaked through when we couldn’t).

Will there still be a Glen Workshop this summer?
We hope so! We’re planning for a July 21–27 Glen in Seattle, and we are earnestly hoping to be able to celebrate Image’s work and gather as a community one last time. But we need your help to make the Glen happen. In order to hold the Glen as planned, we need our community to demonstrate significant participation by registering by March 15. So we ask: can you join us and help make the final Glen possible? We know it’s a big expense. Payment plans are available, and we need you to register as soon as possible to signal your interest. If the Glen is canceled, full refunds will be issued.

I’m registered for an Image Intensive. Is this still happening?
Yes, we are still holding Image Intensives this spring. In fact, your participation in our Image Intensives is immensely helpful to us.

I’m a subscriber and I just renewed. Will I still get my issues?
We hope to publish typical issues in March and June, and a thicker issue in September. After that, all Image back content will be available online for free. We have a plan to preserve the website, with all archived content—so you’ll be able to browse as much as you like with no paywall. Writers we’ve published will still be able to point readers to their work. Pending auto renewals will be prorated.

I’ve recently had work accepted for publication in Image. Will it still appear?
We hope so. We have just enough material to fill our last three issues, and we have every hope that we are able to pull this off. Mary Mitchell will be in touch.

I want to look back and remember Image. Could I buy some back issues?
We would love that. We’re offering deep discounts, marking all in-print back issues down to $6, with $5 flat-rate shipping. We have updated our inventory and unearthed rare issues from our earliest days and throughout our 35 years. We love to imagine this timeless work finding a new home in your library.

Are the staff doing okay?
Thanks for asking. All of us are sad, and we know this will be sad news for everyone who loves Image and its programs. Several of us have been part of this project for decades, so there’s a lot to grieve. But we’re very proud of the good work we’ve done, and we’re hopeful that we can close with dignity, honoring our commitments to artists, subscribers, vendors, and staff.

We’re finding a kind of order and solace in the tasks involved with winding down—as we get closer to preparing our final issue and running our final Glen, each mundane little task takes on a special significance, knowing it’s the last time. There’s a sadness, but there’s a sweetness too.

If publication is suspended, do you hope for Image to return?
While staff is winding down our final operations, our board is working in earnest to seek a new potential home for Image. There’s still hope that a well-funded institution or group of donors might make it possible for our work to continue—but it will take some extravagantly good news.

Is there any way for us to help?
If Image and its pages, programs, and people have played an important role in your life, we would love to hear your stories. Please share them here.

We are still poring over cash-flow projections and counting every penny. Your participation at the Glen Workshop and our spring Image Intensives will help us end well. We have trimmed our overhead to ensure that dollars are going toward sustaining the treasured people behind this project as long as possible.

Alternatively, if you still wish to donate to Image—even knowing that our days are short—every donation helps us fulfill our commitments to our program faculty, journal contributors, and Image staffers. We are working toward publishing three more issues, but we need your help to get there.

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