A New Magazine Aims to Connect Syracuse Communities

May 15, 2015

Some three years ago, Victoria Coit and Vanessa Campbell partnered on a project they named  SOTE.

Salt of the Earth was an online magazine for women of color, Coit told me Thursday, sitting at a table in her friend Tina Hills' Nikao Eventz and Catering room at 128 Burnet Ave. in Syracuse.  "But it never came all the way to fruition. And I had a daughter 10 months ago."

SOTE and Campbell, a photographer of some note, are still very much in her life, Coit says. But now they've turned it into a corporation, "a movement to inspire women to be the best they can be."

And there's a new magazine on the horizon.

CuseCulture is its name, and Coit is its founder along with David Hills, her friend and Tina's brother-in-law. 

Victoria Coit, at Nikao Eventz and Catering on Burnet Avenue.
Its motto on a mission sheet declares: "Knowledge has the power to engage, unite and restore."

It will be a community lifestyle magazine that aims to bring people together. This magazine will  not be aimed solely for people of color, Coit says.

"Although I believe that segment is being underserved by media here and everywhere," she says.

"Syracuse is a place where you can life your own life to do what you can do. I meet people all the time that say, 'I wish I knew about this.' That means we're not connected," Coit says. "This magazine aims to connect people. We'll write about silent leaders in the community. We'll do profiles of new leaders, community leaders, business leaders. Not just people of color. Black. White. Asian."

The first issue, which Coit called a promo issue, will come out on June 25, at a launch party at tKen and Tina Hills' Nikao Eventz and Catering, which the couple will soon open to replace their former restaurant, Sophistications of the Galleries, which they had operated for nine years. The launch party will run from 5 to 7:30 p.m. A not-yet chosen poet performing spoken word, and music provided by Jasmine Coan as DJ Bella will provide entertainment. Some guests will be invited, but the public also is welcome to attend, Coit says.

The next edition will come out in September, and the third in November. After that, Coit says, it will be published monthly. It also will be posted online, at www.CuseCulture.com.

They're already selling advertising. They expect to enlist a freelance staff of about 20 writers and five photographers, she says.

Coit, a 2000 graduate of Nottingham High School, will write stories. After graduation, she moved to Washington, D.C., for four years, where she worked doing government contract work for a general contractor as well as studying under several chefs. "But I'd be at work reading Syracuse Common Council notes," she says with a laugh. "And then I also decided I didn't want to be a chef anymore.

"When I moved back to Syracuse, I felt like I'd never left," Coit says. "I met a series of people that helped me, mentors, community organizers. I got involved with political issues."

Now she works full-time on community health care education.

With the magazine, "I just want to connect people and their passions and their purposes. I don't think people always know who's around them until people connect them, and they have purposeful conversations," Coit says.

The wheels are turning on how to make that happen.

One of the magazine features will be called Haute Moms, she says. Chef Yalanda Buie of Turning Stone will write a date night restaurant column. Ruland Coit -- Victoria's twin -- will oversee entertainment coverage and write a column. "He's the ultimate agitator about the way we  interact," she says. "In a funny way."

The serious business and fun start on June 25.