Pretty Sentences About Exploding Helicopters: Four Days at AWP

[A guest post from FY15 Artist Fellowship Program (AFP) Grantee Jennifer Clements]

Stroll the skyways of Minneapolis earlier this month and you’d hear statements like: I just saw Claudia Rankine roaming free-range through the book fair. Or: Just because nonfiction’s subject is reality doesn’t mean we’re bound to realism. Or: I love pretty sentences about exploding helicopters.

FY15AFPGranteeJenniferClementsThis is AWP, the annual conference for all things literary.

Since 1972, the event has offered a place for writers, editors, publishers, educators, and students to converge. Of course, back when the Association of Writers and Writing Programs – based locally in Fairfax, VA – started the conference, there were only sixteen presenters and six events.

In 2015: Seven hundred small presses, publishers, and literary organizations. Two thousand presenters. Another twelve thousand attendees. Think Comic Con for for writers and the people who love them. (Fewer costumes, more natural-fibered clothes.)

I’d attended twice before, in 2008 and 2009, as a grad student promoting one the school’s literary journals, and was grateful for the opportunity to return this year. The four-day marathon of panel discussions, readings, author signings, workshops, networking events, and writer-reunions shakes its otherwise solitary artists out of their lairs and brings them all to this choose-your-own-adventure lineup of activities.

That can mean:

Finally meeting the writers and editors you’ve worked with after sometimes years of email-only correspondence, or the current editors of publications you used to oversee.

Going to hear favorite writers speak, whatever panel they happen to be on. I admit, I would see Ann Carson or Mark Doty present on, say, the literary merits of milking goats in Bangladesh. There’s a fair bit of fangirling at AWP, but it’s a quiet, wide-eyed, I-have-eight-of-your-poems-memorized-would-you-like-to-hear-them breed of fangirling.

Discovering the work of writers that are new to you and developing intellectual and literary crushes that compel you to devour their work. On my Must Read Immediately list are Elena Passarello, Alysia Abbott, and Rebecca Makkai – all writers I was just introduced to through the panels and off-site readings. And that’s before opening the dozen literary journals I crammed into my suitcase.

FrenchCornerWritersWelcomeIdentifying each of the fascinating intersections—where writing crosses paths with politics, or design, or cultural identity, or technology—and having impassioned conversations around them and their implications.

And of course, a scattering of unexpected turns, like the venue’s only rookie blunder (underestimating the per capita coffee intake of this group and running out on the first day) or that interviewer who asked Francine Prose if she had to become a Nazi to write from the perspective of one (she didn’t).

It’s at once humbling to be in the company of so many other writers, and inspiring to see the work that’s emerging from within our field. I always come away from this conference daunted by the odds, yet eager to return to my notebooks and the task of stringing words together.

DC’s Hot Hits & Hidden Jewels; Friday, April 24 – Sunday, April 26

Check out this weekend’s Hot Hits & Hidden Jewels from CultureCapital.com, your link to the Arts in Metro DC.

OnApprovalOn Approval
Washington Stage Guild at Undercroft Theatre.
A comedy of (bad) manners from the 1920s, in which two wealthy women want to get married and have chosen their prospective husbands, but insist on trying the merchandise on before making the deal. Lonsdale’s biting wit sparkles as his characters match and mismatch in this once-hugely popular play, not seen in DC for decades.

SheroesSheroes and Womanists: An exhibition inspired by Howard University’s 26th Annual James A. Porter Colloquium
Thru Sat. Flashpoint Gallery.
Curated by students Breeonna Hill (Howard University) and Kourtney Riley (George Mason University) under mentor Tim Davis (International Visions Gallery & Consultants), the exhibition features artists whose work explores subjects and perspectives around feminist identity.

Filmfest DCFilmfest DC
Various Locations.
The last weekend of Filmfest DC offers features, documentaries, and shorts representing the best in new cinema from around the globe.

CultureCapital. Your Metro DC Arts Alliance for over 30 years.

Final Days ARTWORK SALE at the Gallery at Iona

Final Days Sale!!!

2015.04.22.Final.Days.LRT
Helga Thomson  Tree-Logie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Art Friends,

Helga is offering a reduction of 20% on most of her artworks currently on exhibit at the Gallery at Iona. To take advantage of this last minute discount, visit the Gallery at Iona, take a look around and make your purchase by  Friday, April 24 at 4pm.  Remember the Gallery at Iona walls extends through the Wellness and Arts Center on the 1st floor and on the 2nd floor near the Meyer Conference Room.

Green dots on the label are excluded from the sale.
Red dots means the artwork is already sold.
Checks and cash are the only forms of payment excepted.

The front desk staff will assist you in filling out the Sales Form.  To make a purchase fill out the Sales Form completely and when the show closes I will contact you to pick up the work.

A percent of each sale benefits Iona.  Any other questions, please feel free to email me.

Thank you for supporting the Arts at Iona.

Patricia Dubroof
Director, the Gallery at Iona

Be Creative. Feel Better

Iona Senior Services
4125 Albemarle Street NW
Washington, DC 20016
202-895-9407
pdubroof@iona.org
Iona.org

Artist Beginnings

CherylEdwards1[A guest post from FY15 Artist Fellowship Program (AFP) Grantee Cheryl Edwards].

I was trained in political science, Black History, Law and finally Art. I have always been creative beginning in elementary and high school. I only went to two schools 1st thru 8th grade and 9th thru 12th grade, both private schools. I was engaged in Ballet classes and piano lessons during my formative years of development. And then came to high school with poetry and college with African Dance. After law school I learned how to play the flute taught by a female musician who was part of the Miami Symphony.

During and after law school I became obsessed with the processes of visual arts, I started my art collection at age 19 years old. I spent the first few years after law school representing and hosting events for visual artists and film makers (Spike Lee). I decided at that moment to attend art classes at night at the art student league only to be taught exclusively by Ernest Crichlow.

Ernest Crichlow taught me how to draw and paint with my right and left hands. I learned anatomy in drawing of live models, and the color wheel and mixing paint to paint what I saw. I was extremely intimated but pressed on. I painted in the closet for more than 15 years. In the 80’s I had my first exhibit in the District of Columbia in 2005.

Cheryl Edward, FY15 AFP Grantee

DC’s Hot Hits & Hidden Jewels; Friday, April 17 – Sunday, April 19

Check out this weekend’s Hot Hits & Hidden Jewels from CultureCapital.com, your link to the Arts in Metro DC.

Portraits: Interiors and Exteriors: ReceptionPortraits
Arts Club of Washington. Fri.

This provocative exhibition will explore the nature of a portrait and how the artists view the public and private lives of themselves and others.

The NorwegiansThe Norwegians
SCENA Theatre at Anacostia Playhouse.

In this contemporary comedy, two women meet in a Minnesota bar and lament the struggle “to find a lover before the first freeze” as well as the not-so-nice men who have recently dumped them.


Filmfest DCFilmfest DC

Various Locations.

Filmfest DC is back for its 29th year with an exciting new program of features, documentaries, and shorts representing the best in new cinema from around the globe.

CultureCapital. Your Metro DC Arts Alliance for over 30 years.

Great things happening at THEARC this week! Take a peek

THEARC

 

This Week at THEARC: April 13th – April 19th

MondayApril 13

7:15 PM: Adult Yoga, The Washington Ballet

8:00 PM: YOUTHNIGHTS@THEARC: 4×4 Basketball Tournament and Games with WPGC’s DJ Flexx

Tuesday – April 14

7:15 PM: Adult Zumba, The Washington Ballet 

8:00 PM: YOUTHNIGHTS@THEARC: Teen Poetry Slam featuring FRESHH Inc. and DC Youth Slam Team

Wednesday – April 15

12:00 PM: *NEW* Barre Body, The Washington Ballet

1:30 PM: Center for Non-profit Advancement: Measuring Social Media Effectiveness

4:30 PM: Printmaking & Textile Design for ages 8-12, ArtReach at THEARC

6:00 PM: WALA Spring Creative Entrepreneurship Series: Copyright/Trademark

8:00 PM: YOUTHNIGHTS@THEARC: Movie Night in THEARC Theater

ThursdayApril 16

5:00 PM: Printmaking & Textile Design for ages 13-18, ArtReach at THEARC

7:45 PM: Adult Ballet, The Washington Ballet

8:00 PM: YOUTHNIGHTS@THEARC:Open Mic Night with WPGC’s Joe Clair and Shack Nd Pack

Friday – April 17

10:30 AM: Child Safety Seat Inspections

3:00 PM: Exploring Jazz for ages 10-18, Levine Music

8:00 PM: Double Time Jazz at THEARC Theater featuring TAKE 6

Saturday – April 18

9:00 AM: Adult Zumba, The Washington Ballet

9:00 AM: Round We Go for Families, Levine Music

10:00 AM: Round We Go for Families, Levine Music

11:00 AM: Adventures in Discovering, Levine Music

1:45 PM: Drums Around the World, Levine Music

5:30 PM: 7.A.M Documentary

AFP Spotlight: Mary Kay Zuravleff

Mary Kay ZuravleffThis is a profile of one of our FY15 Artist Fellowship Program (AFP) grantees, Mary Kay Zuravleff, a writer in Washington, DC.

Q: Are you from the Washington, DC area originally?
A: No. I grew up in Oklahoma City, and I moved to DC in 1982 to live on the grounds of the National Cathedral, where I was the first writer in residence at St. Albans School for Boys. I live off Connecticut Avenue in a house my husband and I started renting in 1986 and eventually bought. It never occurred to us we’d still be here this year, when we’re celebrating 2015 from zip code 20015!

Q: Where have you studied/gone to school for your art?
A: I went to Rice University in Houston, where I have a degree in mathematics and English. There was only one creative writing teacher in those days, Max Apple, and he had to be convinced that I had any writing potential. His honesty and insight–and humanity–were essential. Next I went to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where I studied with John Barth.

Q: Favorite advice you’ve received from a teacher/mentor/colleague?
A: John Barth urged us to submit our work to publications and, if they rejected a story with any encouragement, send them another. His advice, which I quote all the time, was: “Strike while the iron is tepid.”

Q: Favorite neighborhood in DC?
A: Rock Creek Park. I’ve walked for miles with friends, kids, dogs, friends’ kids’ dogs, etc. I’ve traipsed around Fort DeRussy in every season,  watched meteor showers from a convertible in the park, and searched the creek for treasure.

Q: Favorite food (and best place to get that in DC, if you want to share that, too)?
A: I love oatmeal. I also love Indian and Thai food, and the kind of Mexican food you can easily find in Texas and Oklahoma but not so easily here. Oatmeal, however, is my constant, and many mornings, I show up at Bread & Chocolate for their muesli and a huge mocha.

Q: Favorite game (board game, card game, video game, etc.)
A: Bananagrams.

Q: Favorite time of the year?
A: Spring in DC, just before the cherry trees bloom, when the tree-lined streets are lime green with new leaves, your car is covered with pollen, and the cliffs of Rock Creek Parkway between P Street and Virginia Avenue are blooming with daffodils.

Q: What book are you currently reading?
A: “How to Be Both,” by Ali Smith.

Q: What is your motto?
A: This is more mantra than motto. I heard Marie Howe read at AU some time in the 90s, and I’ve been reciting these lines to myself ever since. They are the closing lines of her poem “The Meadow”:

” . . . your plight, in waking, is to choose from the wordsthat even now sleep on your tongue, and to know that tangled among them and terribly new is the sentence that could change your life.”

Q: Three artists (living or dead) whom you would want to have dinner with?
A: Ralph Ellison (he’s from Oklahoma City too, you know!), Don DeLillo, and Margaret Talbot, who is a great writer, a close friend, and a generous and smart conversationalist.

Click here to find out more about Mary Kay Zuravleff at her website.

AFP Spotlight: Sondra N. Arkin

SNArkinThis is a profile of one of our FY15 Artist Fellowship Program (AFP) grantees, Sondra N. Arkin, a visual artist in Washington, DC.

Q: Are you from the Washington, DC area originally?
A: No.

Q: Where did you live when you first got here?
A: Moved here in 1987 and lived in Adams Morgan, AU Park, and now Dupont Circle. My studio has been in Dupont Circle since 2002.

Q: Where have you studied/gone to school for your art?
A: I do not have degrees in visual art though I have taken lots of art classes in the past.

Q: Favorite advice you’ve received from a teacher/mentor/colleague?
A: You have to show up every day.

Q: Favorite neighborhood in DC?
A: Dupont Circle.

Q: Favorite food (and best place to get that in DC, if you want to share that, too)?
A: Vegetables, any kind, anyway, lentils and kasha, maybe Indian therefore Rasika.

Q: Favorite game (board game, card game, video game, etc.)?
A: Mah Jongg or Pinochle.

Q: Favorite color?
A: Purple, because that is the color of my aura, though I rarely use it in art.

Q: What book are you currently reading?
A: I listen to audiobooks in the studio and am currently tackling Ulysses by James Joyce.

Q: What is your motto?
A: Be curious, try everything, and do it all, and um, get out of my way?

Q: What would your superpower be?
A: I have a number of superpowers already, but I would really like “Needs No Sleep”.

Q: Three artists (living or dead) whom you would want to have dinner with?
A: Richard Serra, Lee Bontecou, León Ferrari.

AFP Spotlight: Cheryl Edwards

This is a profile of one of our FY15 Artist Fellowship Program (AFP) grantees, Cheryl Edwards, an oil/pastel painter in Washington, DC.

Q: Are you from the Washington, DC area originally?
A: I was born on Miami Beach in Mount Sinai hospital, and grew up in two neighborhoods, Liberty City and Richmond Heights. I have been living in Washington, DC since 1994. Prior to moving to DC I lived in New York City for 10 years in the Village. When I first arrived in the Washington Metropolitain area I lived in Bethesda for 2 years, Takoma Park for 1 year and now I live in Capital Hill for over 15 years.

Q: Where have you studied/gone to school for your art?
A: I attended art classes while practicing law at the Art Student League and was taught by the WPA African American Artist Ernest Crichlow.

Q: Favorite advice you’ve received from a teacher/mentor/colleague?
Ernest Crichlow’s most important advice to me was to paint what you see.

Q: Favorite neighborhood in DC?
A:
My favorite neighborhood in DC is Capital Hill because of its diversity.

Q: Favorite food (and best place to get that in DC, if you want to share that, too)?
A: I like to eat poultry and fish and like to dine at Busboys and Poets.

Q: Favorite game?
A: My favorite games are chess, bid wist (cards) and words with friends.

Q: What is your motto?
A: My motto is the world is my oyster.

Q: Three artists (living or dead) whom you would want to have dinner with?
A: I would like to dine with Wilfredo Lam, Ernest Crichlow, and Pablo Picasso.

AFP Spotlight: Cecilia Cackley

Cecilia CackleyThis is a profile of one of our FY15 Artist Fellowship Program (AFP) grantees, Cecilia Cackley, a puppeteer in Washington, DC.

Q: Are you from the Washington, DC area originally?
A: I grew up in the Barcroft neighborhood of Arlington, VA. I moved to DC in 2008, first to Dupont Circle and then to Southwest.

Q: Where have you studied/gone to school for your art?
A: I studied theater at the College of William and Mary, but I have almost no formal training in puppetry. I’ve taken workshops in various puppetry forms with Marty Robinson, Mirek Trejtnar, Gabriel Von Fernandez and Gabriela Cespedes.

Q: Favorite advice you’ve received from a teacher/mentor/colleague?
A: My teacher Gabriela told me “Puppeteers create something, but the spectator recreates it. Have confidence in your work and don’t worry too much about what people say. Each spectator will see something different.”

Q: Favorite neighborhood in DC?
A: I love Mount Pleasant, where several of my friends live. It is relatively quiet but has restaurants and places to hang out, and lots of people there speak Spanish, my second language.

Q: Favorite food (and best place to get that in DC, if you want to share that, too)?
A: I really love Mexican food. Oyamel, Haydee’s in Mount Pleasant and Guajillo in Courthouse are probably my favorites.

Q: Favorite time of the year?
A: My favorite time of year is spring. I crave sunlight.

Q: What is your motto?
A: My motto Only connect.’ It’s the epigraph from the novel Howard’s End.

Q: Three artists (living or dead) whom you would want to have dinner with?
A: Three artists I would want to have dinner with: author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, shadow puppet artist Lotte Reiniger and the painter Frida Kahlo.

You can also check out Cecilia Cackley’s guest post for us from last month, Why I create wordless puppetry!