Introducing new sponsorship

Blue Valley Northwest’s MUSE Magazine has appointed a new sponsor, following the former’s departure


Photo of the original MUSE Magazine staff at Northwest. (Courtesy of Horizon, Vol. 4)

Ashley Adams, Writer

The MUSE magazine has been an important aspect of Blue Valley Northwest’s literature since the first four years of the school’s opening. MUSE is a literary and arts magazine featuring projects submitted by the Northwest student body. Art teacher, Chris Lavalley, is taking on her first year as the magazine’s sponsor. She said she does this with her fellow colleague, Carly Kimbrough.

“I’ve always been interested in sponsoring this club. When they said they were looking for a new sponsor, I asked Ms. Kimbrough if she wanted to co-sponsor with me,” LaValley said.

Since the beginning of its creation, MUSE has been sponsored by a member of the English department. Until this year, it has never had a member of the art department in charge. Both Kimbrough and LaValley are among the first.

The need for change was brought about when the previous sponsor and former English teacher, Sarah Lee, moved to California. 

“Once they left, we kind of took over. Of course, the majority of the work comes from the kids,” Lavalley said. 

LaValley stated the magazine is mainly student-run, so her main role is to help decide which work is selected. She and Kimbrough provide feedback for the students who run MUSE.  LaValley said she is glad to be a part of ensuring the continuation of the magazine. 

“Unless the students could find somebody else, I suppose the club would have to end. But it is important to me, and I’m happy to be around for [the members of the magazine],” LaValley said. 

One of MUSE’s editors is senior Cass Bryant. She said her position involves collecting submissions and organizing club meetings. Bryant’s partaking in MUSE comes from her passion for writing and art. She said MUSE gives her an opportunity to improve. 

“I’m a writer, so I do poetry and fiction. People read my work and then I am able to get direct feedback. It’s all been really helpful,” Bryant said. 

Although the magazine is both literature and art focused, she said there are often more submissions in writing. With LaValley as a sponsor, she encourages her art students to submit their projects from class. 

“Sometimes they don’t know if their work is good enough, but what’s the harm in giving it a shot? A lot of times they don’t see how impressive their own art is,” Lavalley said. 

Bryant said she believes LaValley will be a helpful factor in getting more art submissions this year. She also stated she thinks people struggle with submitting their work out of fear of judgement, or insecurity of quality. 

“With your own work you’ll almost always see it as worse than someone else’s,” Bryant said.  “You see all of the erase lines and commas you moved around. But again, it’s definitely better than they think.”

LaValley said that oftentimes art is not recognized as much at Northwest compared to other activities, and that MUSE’s goal is to highlight these talented students.

“Being an art person myself, I know that the arts can be kind of looked over. Sports get assemblies for their achievements,” LaValley said. “I had a student last year win a Shooting Stars award, which is a big deal in Johnson County, and not a lot of people heard about it.”

LaValley said her goal is to continue to demonstrate the importance of art and literature throughout the school and community. She says MUSE represents creativity from the kids at Northwest, and features unique talents. LaValley said she hopes for more people to submit their projects.

“I just want to encourage people to submit to us,” LaValley said. “Whether it’s artwork, a poem, even a recipe. Any medium at all could work. It’s great to spread all art, it doesn’t matter what form it comes in.”