Alex Marré is a junior at Carlsbad High School who is enrolled in her second year of journalism as a staff writing and has taken the role as the social...
For artists by artists: The Magnolia Avenue Project in full swing
The year-old Magnolia Avenue Project was created by Ryan Dennis and Joe Laughlin with the goal to connect artists and musicians across San Diego.
March 5, 2020
In January of 2019, local band Homebase’s bass guitarist, senior Ryan Dennis, decided it was time to launch a program made for artists by artists. What started out as Dennis venturing out to expand the Homebase fandom turned into a larger project when entrepreneur senior Joe Laughlin, who had been working on creating an art business of his own, came into contact with the musician.
Laughlin saw the need for a stronger online presence revolving around young artists like Dennis and himself. The two decided to put their ideas together, envisioning a networking program to more easily connect like-minded people.
“Seeing how we were able to make a template for our music and art, we figured we could be doing this for more than ourselves,” Dennis said. “Perhaps instead of making a small collaboration, we could try to make something that spans San Diego County.”
The duo’s mission to help local artists grew into what became known as The Magnolia Avenue Project. Aiming to contribute toward other musicians’ and artists’ work, Dennis and Laughlin wanted to make sure anyone who went through their program had everything they would need in order to succeed.
“The Magnolia Avenue Project was born,” Dennis said. “We created a music sector where we would be recording local artists, as well as Magnolia Project artists. Also, we will be filming interviews with artists around the county, along with entertainment videos that will feature artists working on their craft and a clothing sector to provide people the chance to put their work on something others can wear and rep wherever they go.”
Although Dennis and Laughlin knew their intentions when launching this program, they could expect the overwhelming amount of artists that were in support of their quest. Receiving feedback from fellow artists helped the young pair further develop their vision and get one step closer to reaching the overall goal.
“At most shows I’ll go up to artists or bands, tell them what we are doing and ask if they would be interested in letting us do something on them,” Dennis said. “They are always super excited, and down to be expanding through us. They are always incredibly friendly and support the cause. Every time I see that I just think ‘this is what it’s about.’ We want to help people spread their talent and perspective in the world.”
A year later, the Magnolia Avenue Project is going strong with new content constantly being developed for their audience. Dennis and Laughlin are making sure to keep viewers on their toes with interviews and music, and a complete magazine is expected to be in the works and in full swing by May or June.
“We feel all this talent around us deserves way more attention than it does,” Dennis said. “We all need art in our lives.”