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Sarah Whitman: Waters Avenue Church supports and celebrates creative arts with Zine Fest

Published Jun. 26

Waters Avenue Church supports and celebrates the creative arts.

Known for its progressive approach to Christian teachings, the church encourages free expression and outside-the-box thinking.

On July 6, Waters Avenue will host Tampa's 7th Annual Zine Fest, a gathering of local artists, writers and publishers.

The free event, which is open to the public, will feature zines (handmade magazines), spoken word poetry, live music and vegan foods.

"We are excited to host Zine Fest because one of our core commitments is that the divine can really only be fully known within diverse human expression," Chris Kravitz, Waters Avenue pastor, said. "So we try to foster and facilitate forms of creative expression, especially when those creative efforts are aimed at creating the best possible world for everyone."

I spoke with Zine Fest event organizer Dezeray Lyn about the event.

Can you tell me more about Zine Fest?

I first attended Tampa Zine Fest five years ago and it was an incredible display of DIY culture locally. Though venues and vendors shift and change, the same spirit is alive and thriving. Each annual event is like a mirror, reflective of our social and political atmosphere. A wide range of topics are expressed through zines, topics including art, poetry, graphic novel storytelling, social justice campaigns and anti-oppression struggles, spirituality, comedy, music and so much more.

What can people expect from this year's event?

This year we have various grassroots movements tabling zines with information on struggles of poverty in our community, immigrant and environmental justice as well as local artists and writers who have exciting creations to share with the greater Tampa community.

Local spoken word poet Dennis Amadeus will take the stage. Local folk singer Ashleigh Britton Addison and noise musicians Funeral Guy and Dylan Houser will, also. Tampa's wildly popular local vegan goods maker Uncle Mince's World Famous Seitan will have a pop up seitan sandwich station. A decades-long editor of two motorsports magazines, David S. Wallens, will hold a workshop on zine making.

How does Zine Fest reflect the Seminole Heights community?

Arts are critical in any community. Seminole Heights, although undergoing a gentrification project, is a unique and expressive community whose artists can be felt in the streets, in our local shops and food spots, and in our neighborhoods.

Tampa Zine Fest isn't a money-making venture. It is free to vend, free to attend and is a labor of love for organizers. Its culmination is a hearty and rich experience of the local art and music scene.

Why choose Waters Avenue Church to host the event?

Waters Avenue Church has a passionate pastor and a passionate congregation who are welcoming, generous and accessible.

This church has opened its doors for various events, from a local resettled refugee soccer game to disaster relief efforts launching supplies from donation drop offs on-site directly to Panama City and the Carolinas, after Hurricanes Michael and Florence.

When we approached Pastor Chris about hosting the festival, he readily agreed with a 'let's do it.' The space has a free market and community garden project. The church even has breathtaking art work featured on the walls of its sanctuary.

Tampa Zine Fest will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. July 6 at Waters Avenue Church, 609 W Waters Ave. For more information, visit Tampa Zine Fest on Facebook. For more information, one Waters Avenue Church, visit www.watersavenuechurch.com

Contact Sarah Whitman at sarahrothwhitman@gmail.com.

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