Root Quarterly is a  Philadelphia-based journal of art and ideas. It will be one part print publication, one part collaborative art project, and one part social experiment. Volume 1 Issue 1 : Summer 2019, will be published in a limited run in the late spring of 2019. Subscriptions are now available.

Sarah Rose Etter on Sculptor Darla Jackson * Helen Pluckrose on How the Left is Eating Itself * An Appreciation of Leonard Baskin * Erotica by Neely B. * Essays by Heather Shayne Blakeslee * The Case for Mary Jane at 70 * Food and Neighborhood Picks by Diana Lu * Poetry Selections by Joshua Mehigan

One Part Print Publication

Root Quarterly will be a print-only, subscription-based quarterly journal rooted in Philadelphia, but not limited to Philadelphia-based content. While we intend to celebrate our artists, writers, social entrepreneurs, and neighborhoods, we’ll also be looking at critical analyses of larger ideas, and criticism and appreciation of nationally relevant cultural touchstones that might come in the form of books, movies, or television shows (how can we not talk about books such as Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie or Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion?). We’ll also reprint articles from Philadelphia publications, as well as other places around the world, that we think deserve more people to see them. Expect profiles, recommendations, fiction, poetry, essays, and analysis. Expect art. Expect to hold something in your hand that you might want to curl up with on a Sunday afternoon that may by turns delight, challenge, and inspire you.

One Part Social Experiment

Root Quarterly will seek opportunities to bring people together by finding common ground, challenging reactionary and divisive politics, fostering civil dialogue, and celebrating interesting artists and ideas. It will not offer full content online, it won’t spend precious resources on constant interactions on social media, and it won’t have a comments section—but thoughtful letters to the editor will be most welcome. We will continue to host as many preview parties as we can and will also plan eventually on an RQ event series as a way to bring actual people into actual rooms together to have uncomfortable but necessary conversations. It’s an experiment in every way, and the experiment might fail. But we’d like to say we tried, before things get any worse. If we succeed, it will be part of a larger movement to make things better.

One Part Collaborative Art Project

Root Quarterly will be beautiful, carefully curated, culturally relevant, and run entirely as a volunteer operation to start. Our team consists of professional editors, writers, photographers, and artists who want to make something interesting and insightful, primarily for Philadelphians. We’re committed to seeing it through for a year, and hopefully for much longer than that. It’s a self-funded project published by Red Pen Arts founder Heather Shayne Blakeslee; she will also serve as editor-in-chief. When and if we ever turn a profit, money will go first to paying contributors, second to compensating our volunteer staff for their time, and third to making the journal bigger. 

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