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Tucson Zine Fest, a space for 'overlooked artists,' happening this weekend

Tucson Zine Fest, a space for 'overlooked artists,' happening this weekend

  • Tucson Zine Fest 2023 flyer
    courtesy Elisa MaskTucson Zine Fest 2023 flyer
  • Tucson Zine Fest 2022 was the first in-person after the event was canceled in 2020.
    courtesy Elisa MaskTucson Zine Fest 2022 was the first in-person after the event was canceled in 2020.

Local independent artists and writers will exhibit their work at the fourth annual Tucson Zine Fest on Saturday, April 15.

Co-organizers Elisa Mask and Zac Finger established the festival as a space where Tucson artists — as well as some from other cities — can showcase their work.

"We had been to other zine fests around Arizona," Mask said. "And we are both artists. We said we have to get one to Tucson before somebody else does it first."

The first festival they hosted was on 2019. When 2020 came around, the event was postponed and then held one online on 2021.

"The ethos of the fest is supporting overlooked artists, and that is, overlooked by the publishing world," Mask said.

A zine is a small self-published booklet usually containing original artwork, stories, photography. Some are even indie comic books. Many zines have political, cultural and social content and commentary, in the vein of the counter-culture and punk origins of the format.

Short for "magazines," the earliest zines were published by hippies and rockers in the 1960s. In the 1980s and '90s, the format exploded across the country as access to affordable copy machines and then desktop publishing became widespread.

The Tucson event will be at the Subspace Art Collective in the Steinfeld Warehouse on Saturday.

"We just want to make a space available for artists," Finger said.

So far, their reach has grown. This year, they will have over 50 exhibitors in the two floors of the warehouse.

"What matter to us is Tucson. Tucson artists come first, no matter how big the fest gets," Mask said.

Natural Mente will have food for sale by the front of the building. Plus, there will be a raffle, a free zine-making activity and live music by the Tucson Children's Choir. The fest, as Mask said, is a community experience, where people — not just artists — can come in and feel in communion.

"It's just a bunch of friends hanging out," Mask said. "Everyone there is so friendly and welcoming."

The Tucson Zine Fest will take place in Subspace Art Collective, 101 W. 6th St., on Saturday, April 15 at 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Bianca Morales is’s Cultural Expression and Community Values reporter, and a Report for America corps member supported by readers like you.

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