Short Run in The Comics Journal

Read Kelly Froh’s essay here. 

The Short Run Festival takes place inside a huge hall with floor to ceiling windows, located in the middle of Seattle Center’s expansive campus of performing arts buildings, community gathering spaces and sports arenas. It’s where the Space Needle is. It’s where the monorail goes. In addition to our tried-and-true roster of supporters that we’ve built over the last decade, we have been able to count on tourists and locals alike, who just happen to be at Seattle Center, to find their way to the festival floor. Because of our size, we are filed in the “first to close, last to re-open” category of businesses. We are eager to return to festival planning, which we usually begin a year in advance, but our worry is that large, crowded, indoor events like Short Run won’t see the attendance we are used to anytime soon unless half of the population holding us back suddenly changes its collective mind and gets vaccinated.

Festival postponement :(

Board members folding promo zines for the 2019 festival
Some board members folding promo zines for the 2019 festival

In the spirit of collective well-being and care, we are postponing the festival until we can meet again safely. With this year being our 10th anniversary, this announcement is truly tough to make. Short Run has always been more than just a festival; it is a community made up of all of us weirdo artists and readers who found each other through our shared love of comix and zines. We will miss seeing you in person—crowded together in Fisher Pavilion, behind and in front of tables filled with the best books. We hope to announce a 2021 date as soon as we possibly can. 

In the meantime, we’re not going away! We know we have a community to support—whom we need just as much! The festival has always served as a deadline for us artists to make new work. For the time being, we have to find new ways to get motivated and feel connected—new ways to celebrate printed work and to share the stories that are piling up inside of us. The pandemic has exposed how broken our systems are. It has revealed truths about suffering that we have known all along. Comix and comix artists help us heal by expressing solidarity in both our shared and unshared experiences. They are a critical eye on these broken systems. They envision a better tomorrow by helping us process our thoughts and realities. 

We can’t wait to surprise you with upcoming print and publication projects, offbeat summer school workshops and discussions, and revamped grant and residency opportunities. Keep a look out—and let us know what you’re up to, even if it’s just staring into space (we’re doing a lot of that, too). Stay safe—and, more than ever, STAY WEIRD! 

The Short Run Board of Directors

(Kelly, Mita, Emilie, Jessica, Otts, Lyli, and Meredith)

Katie Kelso Travel Grant

Two $200 grants will be awarded this year to traveling exhibitors who express financial need. Short Run had the honor of knowing Katie Kelso, a true adventurer and lover of books, who passed away in 2017. Her gift helps artists with travel expenses getting to Seattle for Short Run. We will never forget her!

Exhibitors – this is not a separate application, simply mark that you are in need of financial assistance in the exhibitor app. No explanation needed.