The late nights. The stress. The coffee. Especially the coffee. Launching a brand new magazine isn’t easy, and we’ve been watching Yonkers resident Ann Marie Papanagnostou’s late night travails for months on her Twitter feed.
But the day is finally here, and Fourculture, which aims to bring together “the four pillars of culture – arts, literature, music and opinion,” has launched to accolades from the arts community.
We caught up with Papanagnostou the other day to discuss life, the magazine, and the arts scene here in Bronxville…
About Town: You’ve been in the Bronxville area for some time.
Ann Marie Papanagostou: I was born and raised in Yonkers and reside in the area today. I am a graduate of and worked at Pickwick Stationery for ages. I'm in denial about my age but I can tell you I grew up with Baskin Robbins, Steinman’s Apothecary and Cliffhangers, who, I believe, had great stickers for my sticker binders.
AT: We’ve watched you collaborating online – who worked on Fourculture with you, and what are your respective roles?
AMP: Fourculture is a collaboration between myself, Paula Frank, a former music blogger, and The Artist D, a radio talk show host, writer and fine artist. Prior to Fourculture, we worked together on another publication called The Catalyst, which sadly ran its course and came to an end this winter. Our desire to keep creating brought on Fourculture.
We gave ourselves titles, but the truth is, we all share the responsibilities of running this publication. On paper, my role is Creative Director, but the reality is I have my hands in everything. Designing this publication is my job since that’s what I do for a living, but I also find myself editing, promoting and recruiting new content.
AT: The Artist D talks about how society is becoming vanilla, boring. What do you think?
AMP: I am in agreement with D’s statement. There are too many copycats out there, too many artists lacking originality. I crave something new. I think society gets caught up in a terrible cycle - someone comes up with a great idea. This idea manages to catch everyone’s attention and then we are subjected to hundreds of variations of that idea because no one wants to focus on anything else…it just gets boring…ordinary…it gets vanilla. Fourculture’s goal is to present the reader with artists, musicians and writers doing things that go against the norm or bring on a reaction. We want to feature anyone doing something interesting, unique or just plain cool. Anyone doing something different deserves a platform.
AT: Although Bronxville’s history as a planned artists' community has, to a great extent, been supplanted by investment bankers and lawyers, do you still see a strong arts scene in Westchester?
AMP: Being close to some of the most amazing museums in the world contributes to the passion for the arts. Within an hour you can find yourself standing outside the MET, the MoMA or the Whitney. How great is that?
Art keeps a community alive and I do see the arts alive in Bronxville. From the small art shows hosted by through the years to the gallery, art is indeed alive. I find Objects & Images, in particular, to be a fantastic resource for Bronxville. They proudly showcase Bronxville artists and the community gets exposed to a wide range of mediums. Art is very personal…not everyone will like the same thing and that’s what’s so wonderful about it. It’s the bankers and lawyers who are investing in the arts and that’s a great thing!
My only issue with Westchester is how conservative things can be. I love pushing people out of their comfort zone…would the community support a street mural by Banksy, the famous, international street artist? I’m not sure that would happen around these parts, but who knows? As the community evolves, so will the tastes and so will the art.
Be sure to check out the premier issue of Fourculture here, which includes features on musicians Raff and Jo Hamilton, artist Hans Haveron, electro-punk band Calling All Astronauts, and much, much more.