BRISTOL, Tenn. — I’ve been filling the pages of this newspaper for 26 years.

But, for almost as long, the words and pictures of the A! Magazine for the Arts has been associated with the Bristol Herald Courier as a separate yet affiliated publication.

And now?

You have a chance to eat cake: The A! Magazine gang is getting together on Nov. 7 at 6 p.m. at the Paramount Center for the Arts in Bristol, Tennessee.

The magazine is operating a cash bar at the Paramount for this birthday bash, where the publication’s staff plans to unveil a new logo for the nonprofit Arts Alliance Mountain Empire, the group that oversees the magazine.

The party is free and open to the public.

Besides the bar and a birthday cake, the event includes entertainment by Virginia West and hors d’oeuvres.

Also: There will be a short presentation announcing the magazine’s plans for the future.

Through the years, this magazine has brought readers profiles on arts, music, literature, theater and film, scooping up stories of poets, painters and potters.

A! Magazine originated as an entertainment publication for the Bristol Herald Courier. It was overseen by an editorial committee composed of representatives from major arts organizations and colleges.

In 2003, when Media General decided to discontinue the magazine, the Arts Alliance Mountain Empire agreed to take ownership of the publication.

Currently, Leslie Grace serves as writer and art director.

Since the magazine’s inception, a committee of volunteers has performed editorial duties. Volunteers come from various areas of the arts in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

The editorial committee plans and edits the content of the magazine with members generating story ideas, editing copy and offering advice on cover designs.

Retired English professor Ben Jennings is currently the only member of the original committee still serving on the board overseeing the magazine.

“In the beginning, we were uncertain whether we could come up with enough story ideas for the monthly publication,” Jennings recalled.

“I have kept what we have called the ‘A! Stockpile’ all these years, and frequently the list of ideas has been as long as five single-spaced typed pages,” Jennings said. “To say the least, we have had no lack of ideas for stories.”

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jtennis@bristolnews.com | 276-791-0709 | @BHC_Tennis

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