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New Issue of Chester Magazine Highlights Growing Business and Arts Scene

Produced by Widener undergraduate students, the goal of the magazine is to "Shed light on Chester's untold stories."

The second issue of Chester magazine is fresh off the press and on its way to locations throughout the city where residents can pick up a copy and read about such topics as the city’s business and arts revival, the storied Chester Clippers high school basketball program and the beauty of the city’s park system.

With a goal to “shed light on Chester’s untold stories,” a group of 16 Widener University students set out in the fall of 2015 to find and report these stories as part of a magazine journalism class taught by Sam Starnes, editor of Widener Magazine. The students were supported by a $1,000 Schmutz Student Engagement Mini grant, which is given annually to support undergraduate student-led projects that focus on Chester.

Kelsey Styles, a senior communication studies and creative writing major from New Castle, Del., served as the managing editor of Chester magazine. She said creating a magazine from scratch was an incredibly challenging but rewarding learning experience.

“One of the most inspiring things I noticed was the amount of pride people from Chester have in their hometown,” Styles said. “They want people to know about Chester. I hope that it’s the voice of the Chester residents—not the voice of the Widener University students—that comes through.”

The issue highlights the arts renaissance in Chester and its role in community development and economic revitalization. The cover of the magazine features part of a watercolor painting by Chester artist Van Buren Payne, who is profiled in the magazine.

Chester Magazine MeetingIn addition to several stories that highlight the arts renaissance in Chester and its role in community development, the magazine includes stories on Clippers basketball, the park system, three Gates Millennium Scholars from Chester High School, the Health Start program for infants, the Senior Community Services Center, TV personality and Chester native Al Alberts, and the many nonprofit organizations working to improve lives in Chester.

“I am extremely pleased with the outcome of this issue of Chester magazine,” said Chester Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland. “Everyone who worked on this publication, especially the students, should be proud of the final product. I see this magazine and the stories that fall within the pages as a stage of positive expression for the city of Chester. There are great things happening here and any opportunity to highlight those things is a progressive step forward in building a better Chester.”

Limited, free copies of the magazine are available at Art on the Avenue of the States, Open Mike's, the Freed Theater, Search and Rescue (all of these are on Avenue of the States) and at the J. Lewis Crozer Library, 620 Engle Street in Chester. The magazine is also available online at A reception celebrating the publication of the magazine will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, August 27, at the Art on the Avenue of the States gallery at 504 Avenue of the States as part of Chester’s inaugural arts festival One Day in Chester.

The first issue of Chester magazine was published in fall 2014, and won a gold award from College and University Public Relations and Associated Professionals (CUPRAP). That issue also garnered an award for Khalil Williams, a Chester native, who received the Mayor’s Recognition Award for his contributions as a writer, editor and photographer. Williams, a communications studies major who will graduate this fall, worked as an intern for the Philadelphia Inquirer in fall 2015.

In addition to Styles, who completed an internship with WHYY-TV this spring, student contributors to the magazine include art directors Josh Colley of Tunkhannock, Pa., and Rose McGinnis of Havertown, Pa.; contributing editors Aly Amato of Sicklerville, N.J., Gabe Armando of Havertown, Blair Gelb of West Deptford, N.J., Asanya Grant of Philadelphia, Pa., Jeannette McGuire of Norwood, Pa., Sarah Rehberg of Swarthmore, Pa., and Kimberlee Roberts of Chester, Pa.; and writers Briana Carcione of West Deptford,  Tyler Goodwin of Ardmore, Pa., Amanda Joseph of Manahawkin, N.J., Marissa Lanholm of Wallingford, Pa., Connor Schlegel of Denver, Pa., Joshua Schneider of Millville, N.J., Kasai Smith of Chester, and Katherine Yauri of Upper Darby. Melanie Franz, a senior graphic designer in the Office of University Relations at Widener, served as art director advisor for the magazine.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate’s, baccalaureate’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. The university’s campuses in Chester and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del. are proud to be tobacco free. Visit the university website,