Arts Magazine Search Party Debuts Today With Profield Reserve Launch Party

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The annual publication will focus on emerging musicians and artists in the St. Louis area. - TARA C. MAHADEVAN
  • TARA C. MAHADEVAN
  • The annual publication will focus on emerging musicians and artists in the St. Louis area.

A new annual arts magazine focused on St. Louis-based creatives of color will see its debut today with a launch party at Cherokee Street apparel store Profield Reserve.

The print and online publication, dubbed Search Party, is the brainchild of longtime journalist and St. Louis native Tara C. Mahadevan, who serves as its editor-in-chief. Mahadevan, a regular freelance contributor for Complex with additional bylines in a slew of publications including St. Louis' Stereo Assault, Made Monarchs, Eleven Magazine and the Riverfront Times, conceived of the endeavor in the spring of last year and soon secured a Futures Fund grant from the Luminary.



According to Mahadevan, the effort started as a simple idea — and a case of great timing.

"It really just came as a thought. I tweeted about it," Mahadevan explains. "And then I googled, you know, 'art grant in St. Louis,' and the Luminary's art grant popped up, and it felt kind of like kismet. I mean, the grant had just opened like a week before I googled it, and then the week after there was an informational session. And the timing was was so eerie, I was like, 'I have to go for this.'"



With the grant secured, Mahadevan assembled a team that includes Ryan Brown (a.k.a. Big Esco) as creative director and Stephon White (a.k.a. Phonzz) as designer and photographer. Each are also rappers and artists in their own right, in line with the magazine's identity as what Mahadevan describes as an "artist-led collaborative publication."

"I think it being artist-led is really important," Mahadevan says. "I just feel like a lot of major publications are run by people who aren't artists themselves."

In addition to that core three-person team, a host of St. Louis creatives contributed to the publication, including writer Ymani Wince (who also contributes to the RFT) and rapper Mvstermind. All of the contributors are Black or people of color — around 30 people in total, according to Mahadevan.

"That includes all the writers, the artists being spotlighted and the visual artists," she says.

For Mahadevan, the publication is a passion project meant to spotlight up-and-coming musical and artistic talent in St. Louis, specifically in the Black and POC community, and serves as a continuation of her longtime and ongoing efforts to bring attention to the city's considerable creative talent.

"The magazine is really a culmination of the work I've done as a journalist and writer and really, you know, wanting to create a space for music discovery and emerging artists," she says. "I've always tried to find a way to put on for St. Louis artists, and also [I've been] inspired by everything that's been happening in St. Louis, in terms of the influx of people making stuff, just creating.

"And personally, it's really important for me to always champion the underdog," she adds. "The person who is just coming up as well as the person who has 20,000 followers."

Search Party will debut tonight with a launch party at Profield Reserve (2309 Cherokee Street, 314-669-9003) from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Issues of the magazine will be available for purchase at the event for $15 apiece; PDF versions can be purchased for download for $10. For more information, visit searchpartystl.com.

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