WHEN THE EDITORS and writers of Cityscape magazine speak of "urban flavor," they themselves are among the most avid tasters. Since 1973, Cityscape has been published by a group of students at Duke Ellington School of the Arts at 35th and R streets NW. As a part of Elington's curriculum, the magazine has also become a part of the city's publishing scene. We have been among its readers from the beginning, and what we admire most is its way of quietly discovering that Washington is less an anonymous city than a wealth of diverse neighborhoods, each with its traditions and values.
The March issue - a thick mixture of lively design, photography and writing - examined the 14th Street corridor. It was an examination worth making because, as the editors state, 14th Street suffers unjustly from a grimy image. The articles in Cityscape offer an opportunity for readers to move beyond the old assumptions.
The current issue, put out in June, is a gathering of fiction, poetry and photography, all of it joined with reporting on the work of local poets (Alan Austin and Black Box, the poetry-on-tapes service) and publishers (Phil Stewart and Running Times magazine).
Because Cityscape has become more and more noticed in Washington, the editors have used the latest issue to explain that their journalism is based on the Foxfire magazine that students in Rabun Gap, Ga., began publishing in 1966. Murray Durst, executive vice president and director of the Education Program for Ideas (a non-profit group in Washington that coordinates the 80 Foxfire projects around the country), sees Cityscape as "part of a growing interest on the part of education in this country to rediscover what we can learn through experience and not just from the traditional classroom teaching. . . . When learning becomes real it can become exciting rapidly." As for what has been coming out of Ellington the past few years, Mr. Durst says that "when we want to point people to a Foxfire-inspired project they can base in an urban environment, we say. 'Talk know.'" Mr. Durst thinks Washington "ought to be proud" of the magazine. We know a number of people who are, ourselves included. In time, we think the number is going to grow.