Wow, what a year. We aren’t the first ones to say this, but 2020 has been a ride. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has been the forefront of all our lives, but there’s been many other events and stories to fill out what has to be one of the strangest years in recent memories. However, here on New Year’s Eve, the staff of Evansville Living thought it would be a great time to reflect on the year through the pages of our magazines — what captivated us, what helped keep our spirits up, and what helped keep us going through 2020.
Here’s a look at our favorite stories and photos from the past year!
Just before the state of Indiana went into a quarantine in March, our issue featuring the cool kids of the area hit the stands. Looking back now, it seems like this feature was a lifetime ago, but we still draw joy out of seeing the achievements these young people in our area have made and continue to make!
“I loved our ‘Cool Kids’ feature,” says Art Director Laura Mathis. “It’s always refreshing to see young people so engaged in their passions.”
Staff Writer Dallas Carter — who was an intern when she worked on the editorial team producing the story — felt the energy the kids brought to the magazine offices was contagious.
“It was fantastic writing about new subjects, such as chess and robotics, but also interacting with a different audience than we normally do,” she says. “The experience opened my eyes to the many layers of interesting stories and people in Evansville and made me very excited for the city’s future in these kids’ hands.”
It never seems like a bad idea to remember your history as you start off a new year. As the team at Evansville Living began to plan the feature for the first 2020 issue, the thought of taking a groovy trip back to the 1970s resonated with everyone.
“It was just a great story,” says Managing Editor Trista Lutgring. “I love delving into the past and while the 1970s is still so fresh for so many, it was fun to stir up that nostalgia and hear readers talk about things they had not thought of in many years.”
“While our retrospective of the decade that shaped many of us was mostly nostalgic, we of course remembered the tragedies, such as the ‘night it rained tears,’” adds Editor Kristen K. Tucker. “Looking back on the feature caused me to consider how the decade beginning with this year, 2020, will be remembered in its totality.”
It was a time to listen. As a publication that has always been a platform to celebrate the good things about Evansville, we felt the best use of that platform was to amplify the voices who could speak directly to the Black experience in our country, city, and community. We reached out through connections and on social media to ask community members to help us learn and grow together. The response, we all found, was amazing.
The personal essays of DeAndre Wilson, Lori Sutton, Jeremiah Patton, Courtney Johnson, Rita Prior, Janay Sharp, Justin Allan Coures, and Royce Sutton were profound and moving.
“Sometimes as a journalist, you have to put down your pen or push away your keyboard and let people talk,” says Managing Editor Trista Lutgring. “These eight community members spoke to us candidly about their experiences and lives, but also with hope. I think their stories resonated greatly with readers — I know they did with me.”
“If this year has taught us anything, it is we certainly don’t know as much as we think we know,” adds Art Director Laura Mathis. “Learning comes from listening.”
“Lifting Black Voices was a powerful piece that I hope resonated with the Tri-State,” says Staff Writer Dallas Carter. “While we celebrate and remember this story in 2020, I hope it sparked conversations, learning, and support for all minority groups that will positively impact the years to come.”
The green of a bottle of Ski. The amber waves of farmland fields in northern Vanderburgh County. The pinks and purples of a sunset over the Ohio River. Evansville is a city full of color and beauty. In the annual publication, “City View,” the Evansville Living staff showcased all the unique colors of our city through the photography of our Staff Photographer Zach Straw, and others in the area.
“I loved ‘Our Colorful City,” says Account Executive Jessica Hoffman. “The photo-driven feature truly showcased the vibrancy of our community and captured many of the reasons I’m proud to call Evansville home.”
Summer in the city looked different for Evansville residents this year. While many did enjoy the great outdoors more this year, social distancing practices and wearing masks changed how we celebrated the warm weather.
One creative way Evansvillians passed away the summer days? Getting reacquainted with their porches. Friends, neighbors, and families found solace in those places that wrap the front of homes and we sent out Staff Photographer Zach Straw to capture those moments with his camera — from a safe distance, of course.
“Everyone was feeling isolated, myself included. It was nice to see families and area residents spending time at home together and with their pets,” says Account Executive Jennifer Rhoades. “It was a nice way to document the quarantine in Evansville.”