Summerhouse is a new digital magazine exploring DC’s DIY and underground culture.
Spend enough time in DC, and you might find yourself at a concert in a stranger’s living room. Or at a bar in Brookland, where you glimpse a sword swallower dazzling a crowd that shows its support in a deluge of crumpled dollar bills. Or watching the world go by at a café with deep roots in the civil rights movement.
It might make you wonder why DC isn’t way better known for its creativity. If you haven’t discovered these corners of the District yet, you probably want to.
Summerhouse is a digital magazine celebrating DC’s unique spirit. We publish magazine-style feature stories about the people who make DC a surprising, intriguing, funny, heartbreaking, and inspiring place to live.
Our first issue covers some of DC’s most vibrant corners, including:
- A profile of BOOMscat, an R&B duo making magic in venues across the city
- The sideshow performers turning DC’s circus culture on its head
- A queer clothing swap carving space for personal expression
- A bestselling record-cleaning spray developed by the director of the Museum of Science Fiction
- A lawyer building up DC’s tarot scene on the DL
...and more secrets and surprises.
To bring Issue 1 to life, we’ve worked with an incredible group of 20+ writers, artists, and developers including:
- Elizabeth Ballou, journalist and founder of Green Willow Games
- Hannah Cather, photographer and DC Zinefest organizer
- Toby Cox, former National Geographic Explorer and Peace Corps volunteer
- Alanna Ford, visual artist and founder of Circle of Magic
- Harshi Hettige, storyteller and brand producer
- Sybil Mahone, poet and sex blogger
- Lily Strelich, journalist and art director of 730 DC
- Devin Symons, the writer, artist, and translator behind Writers in Person
- Lenora Yerkes, artist and coffee person
...just to name a few! Keep an eye on our newsletter for more announcements about our incredible contributors.
Since we’ve already built Summerhouse’s first issue, you might wonder why we’re Kickstarting it. The answer is simple: All contributors deserve compensation for their work.
We won’t publish until we have the means to pay everyone (and cover some of our intentionally minimal startup costs).
If, like us, you:
- Want to support your local arts community
- Want to discover new corners of the District
- Love in-depth stories you can enjoy with a cup of coffee
Then join us on this journey to give a voice to DC’s creative underground!
Summerhouse grew out of DC’s DIY events scene, eventually developing into a magazine dedicated to bringing underrepresented stories of the District’s arts and culture to life.
In 2019, we partnered with 730DC, a daily newsletter dedicated to highlighting events and opportunities for civic engagement.
- Michelle Delgado, founder and editor-in-chief of Summerhouse, is a journalist whose work has been published in CityLab, The Atlantic, Vox, VICE, and other national and local outlets.
- Kristen Herhold, copy editor, is a senior writer at Clutch and alumna of University of Missouri's journalism school
- Josh Kramer, lead print designer, is a freelance journalist and cartoonist who was awarded a 2017 Knight-Wallace Fellowship.
- Gabriela Riccardi, lead digital designer, works in creative strategy and marketing at The Atlantic.
With additional assistance from:
- Kay Lima is director of INN Labs, a nonprofit news incubator. She built Summerhouse's original website.
- Ashley Mathieu is a graphic designer at Artemis Ward. She created Summerhouse's logo and foundational branding, plus our awesome Kickstarter trailer.
Our rewards combine Summerhouse’s thoughtful, magazine-style reporting with gorgeous illustrations and original photography.
We’re offering rewards for every budget, from stickers to jazz up your laptop to a trio of mini zines that translate our digital stories into a miniature print format.
Our first zine explores summer in the District, with 30+ pages featuring:
- A swing through DC baseball with Deadspin staff writer Kelsey McKinney
- A guide to backyard science by science journalist and cartoonist JoAnna Wendel
- A brief history of DC’s hidden beaches
- A Q&A with Teta Alim, founder of Buah Zine
- A closer look at DC’s community gardens
- An illustrated examination of scooters by Marcella Kriebel
Summerhouse’s zine comes with a color cover and a black and white interior. Its 8.5 x 5.5 inch size is perfect for tucking into a back pocket or backpack for easy reading wherever you go.
You can also bring a little piece of Summerhouse home in the form of one of our gorgeous art prints.
Originally from DC, artist and designer Sophie McTear has created many posters for shows at Comet Ping Pong. They created a summery scene just for us, with friends and neighbors spilling out of a row house in twilight.
We're also excited to offer Josh Kramer's illustrated map of DC's swimming pools! This colorful map includes locations, days of operation, and hours for every public pool in the District.
1 Hour Podcast Consultation + Studio Time
Got a great podcast idea? For $500, you’ll get a one-on-one consultation with Ian Enright. He's the founder of Goat Rodeo, one of DC’s only creative audio agencies.
In addition to personalized advice about your podcast concept, you’ll get to record your pilot in Goat Rodeo’s professional studio.
Small Business Blog Collaboration
If you're a small business owner, this scenario might sound familiar: You have great ideas for blog posts, but you're too busy managing daily operations to make your vision a reality.
Summerhouse is here to help! For a $1,000 donation, we're offering a content marketing consultation, plus a series of 3 custom blog posts featuring keyword research and SEO optimization, all in your unique brand voice.
This reward will be personally fulfilled by Summerhouse founder and editor-in-chief Michelle Delgado.
Risks and challenges
We’ve got incredible stories. We’ve got beautiful photography and illustrations. All we need is the financial support to hit the publish button. The biggest risk is: Do you want to read them? We’re obviously biased, but we don’t think you’ll regret it.
Otherwise, we’ve dotted our I’s and crossed our T’s, copy edited every single word, developed our site, and polished every bit of artwork. The rest is up to you!
- (30 days)