Art Blooms in Spring!

by Jenuine Poetess

bluebonnetsThere’s no denying that Spring is an inspiring season in Central Texas. Having grown up in the north where Spring was such an emotional event—hope, finally! after so much cold, ice, snow, and darkness—I never really put much stock in the changing of seasons in places like Texas. That is, until I lived here and experienced the sheer delight and joy of a riot of color as bluebonnets, Indian paint brushes, and primroses splash their vibrant adornments across the landscape.

So as robins with their plumb red bellies and beloved wildflowers are the harbingers of a Central Texas Spring, so too a calendar chock full of dynamic events is the artists’ first bloom of a new season!

comicconTo kick off, the Heart of Texas Comic Con returns this weekend March 11-13th with artist vendors & live art-making on site, cosplay, food vendors, special guest appearances, and more there is something for comic lovers of every age!  And be sure to stop by the Central Texas Artist Collective (CTAC) to say “hi!” to some of your favorite artists and community organizers living and creating in Waco!

Also coming up this and next week are a number of Waco Poets Society (WPS) events including Nuestra Voz open mic on Saturday March 12th at 7:15pm at Rufi’s Cocina (which you may have seen in the most recent Waco Today!). Open mic is open to all creative expressions—poetry, story-telling, spoken-word, music, reflections, and more! On Tuesday March 15th, WPS is partnering with other artists to present Unsilent :: Survivor Stories, an evening of poetry & spoken word at survivors9:15pm at the Hippodrome on Austin Avenue in downtown Waco. This event is free and open to the public. There will be an opportunity to make a donation which will go to support the efforts of the Advocacy Center of Waco and the Family Abuse Center. In gratitude of the generosity of the Hippodrome donating their space for the event, attendees are encouraged to purchase concession items as a way to support our local business and make sustainable such partnerships between venue and programming! This event will have limited open mic spaces so please arrive at 9:15pm if you are interested in signing up to share 1 piece (2 minutes maximum).

If you have things to share and were not able to get on the list at Unsilent, the next WPS open mic will be Thursday March 17th at Tea2Go Waco-Baylor on S. 7th street with sign-ups opening at 7:15pm.   Again, this venue is open to music, poetry, story-telling, spoken-word, reflections, and more!

art on elmThis Saturday March 12th also marks the deadline for all art submissions for the annual Art on Elm neighborhood arts festival in East Waco Saturday April 9th from 10am-5pm. With live music, artist vendors, juried art exhibit, art activities, live art-making, food trucks and vendors this event is FREE and open to the public of all ages. Bring your friends, your family, your neighbors, and your funds to support local artists and enjoy the thriving creative culture Waco is growing!  If you are an emerging artists looking to take the next step into exhibiting and selling your artwork, have a conversation with Angie or Steve Veracruz of CTAC; they will support you through the process and provide you with all the details and tools you need to soar!  (Be sure to ask them about Paper Shoes the next time you see them!)

If you’re looking for some music to enrich your palette, consider taking in a concert with the Waco Symphony Orchestra. On Saturday, March 19th, they will feature 16-year-old violin prodigy Fiona Shea who will join the WSO to perform Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Violin & Orchestra and the Waco Symphony Youth Orchestra–celebrating their 25th Anniversary. Tickets are available for purchase here.

Live theater may be more your style and if so, check out the Waco Civic Theater’s Spring production of The Great Gatsby…make a swanky evening of it and dress up in your own best attire. To stay up-to-date on the season or to learn about how you can audition for their next show, please visit WCT’s site here.

Maybe you’re more interested in kicking back in a casual setting with some good food and drinks and a great band. If so, check out the Spring line-up on stage at The Backyard and Common Grounds.  Throughout this Spring, the Waco Hippodrome also has some live music offerings, as well as free film screenings–from the silly to the serious, and other performances to engage audiences of all ages.

food truckTo get you ready for all the excitement of Art on Elm, head out to Waco’s Downtown Heritage Square for the 2nd Annual Food Truck Showdown on Saturday April 2nd. Tickets and full schedule of all the delicious offerings and events are available here. Gates open at 10am and be sure to bring your appetite! There will of course be a food truck showdown/competition, live music, artist vendors, concert, and sunset screening outdoor movie! What a generous portion of goodies to savor!

rootstockAnd while you’re digesting this buffet of soul-nourishing and taste-bud pleasing offerings Waco is dishing up, mark your calendars for the Rootstock Texas Wine Festival on Saturday April 23rd put on by the Valley Mills Vineyards at Indian Spring Park. This event will include tastings from 14 Central Texas wineries to be followed by a special VIP dinner featuring the culinary artworks of Milo Biscuit Company! To purchase tickets for the day or festival and VIP dinner please visit here.

So whether you are an artist, a patron, an admirer, or one who simply enjoys delicious sights, sounds, and savors there is something to inspire everyone. Let us know how you’ll be enjoying the arts in Waco this Spring!


 

Jenuine Poetess August 2014Jenuine Poetess is an artist, visionary, and community organizer. In 2010, she founded In the Words of Womyn (ITWOW)an international, grass-roots, written and spoken-word arts project with chapters throughout Los Angeles, CA; Waco, TX; and Lebanon.  Jenuine is the founder of Waco Poets Society and co-founder of the Central Texas Artist Collective.    She writes, organizes, and creates rooted in the fierce conviction that holding intentional space, access, and opportunity for all people to foster their creative health is a matter of justice and is a vital asset to the sustainable thriving of communities.  She currently lives and poems in Central Texas where she enjoys finding new ways to disrupt the homeostasis of her city.  You can contact her at: jenuinepoetess@gmail.com.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.

 

Creative Waco: An Interview with Fiona Bond

by Jenuine Poetess

Creative Waco logoRecently, I had a chance to engage Creative Waco’s Director, Fiona Bond, to learn more about the project, its mission, and movements in Waco toward building and sustaining a thriving Cultural Arts District. I’m pleased to share the interview with you! More. Art. Now!

Jenuine Poetess: Please share a bit about yourself and how you became interested and involved in the arts in Waco.

Fiona Bond:   I’m in this because I love the arts and this city and have huge respect and
admiration for those who work so hard to enrich its artistic and cultural life. In the UK, I ran festivals, cultural projects and arts organizations. I guess no one goes into this kind of work for the money or an easy life! However, when you see first-hand the difference that the arts make to places and people – no matter who they are or where they come from, it’s humbling and powerful.

I love Waco for so many reasons. I think it’s one of the most authentic places I’ve ever lived. It’s a wonderful location full of great people doing great things and I think we get to live here at a particularly exciting time in its history.

JP: What is Creative Waco?

FB: We are a Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Corporation established to be Waco’s “Arts Agency.” Cities that have arts agencies have a proven toolkit for growing the arts that combines access to funding (that Waco has not historically received) with growing the arts as part of the overall strategy for our community. Our mission is “to Grow and support the artistic and cultural life of Waco.”

JP: How does Creative Waco serve artists, arts & cultural organizations, and grass-roots efforts in Waco?

FB: I hope we will be able to do this in a number of ways. Firstly, I think we have a role making sure that our wider community, businesses and civic organizations know the power of the arts and cultural sector as an engine for growing Waco. We want to bring new resources to our artists and arts organizations in the form of practical support and also funding and infrastructure that have not historically been available to grow Waco as a Cultural Hub.

artists creativesOf course, we are not the only organization that is working to serve our artists and cultural organizations. Each part of the cultural “ecosystem” has an important role to play – individual artists are connecting with one another through CTAC. Four Columns Marketing has a monthly “potluck” for creative professionals and Waco Arts Alliance (which we help to co-ordinate) provides opportunities for people who run arts organizations, cultural events and activities. These all do the important work of building community, supporting professional development, and creating opportunities for connecting on all kinds of great ideas.

JP: What are the main functions of CW?

FB: Right now, we are working on setting up the infrastructure that will allow Waco to be successful at creating some of the opportunities that have benefitted peer cities (like Fort Worth, Abilene, Amarillo and Round Rock…even Clifton!). For example, we are coordinating an application for Waco to be designated a Texas Commission on the Arts Cultural District. It also means working with our city and other agencies to start making bids for funding and other opportunities at state and national level. Here in Waco, we are beginning the work of coordinating resources, information and ideas so that we can grow Waco as a cultural hub…and tell the world.

JP: What are some projects CW is working on?

 FB: Here are a few…

  • Joint funding bids (e.g. with City for NEA funding towards artistic wayfinding that would join East and West Waco);
  • Cultural District Application–the work of establishing a robust organization that can act as Waco’s Arts Agency and co-ordinate the Cultural District.
  • We won the opportunity for Waco to be a feature city in Americans for the Arts’ national survey about economic impact of the Arts (funded jointly by our City, Chamber, BRC and CVB)
  • Making Waco a hub for professional development opportunities for arts leadership (Texans for the Arts Day on Feb 24th at Waco Hippodrome).
  • We are also working on making it easier for people in Waco to hear about the arts and artists through a variety of media outlets

JP: What is the place of arts & culture in community development? How important is arts & culture in comparison to work around poverty, education, employment, housing, and commerce?

FB: The arts do community development by their very nature because they are physical, experiential and creative. One of my past roles was to oversee a project that worked with generations of unemployed former mineworkers in Co Durham, England. The arts input gave hope and developed skills in a way that nothing else could. You see this over and over again. Issue-based drama and role-play do a better job of reaching vulnerable teens than telling them what to do, for example. The arts give us language and tools for asking questions, experimenting with complexity and outcomes, and opening up our humanity in ways that are completely unique. There is a lot of research that shows communities with a vibrant arts and cultural life thrive in all the ways we consider vital for “liveability”: Educational outcomes, revitalization, economic development, tourism, community cohesion and pride and even crime reduction. I have yet to see a community in the Western world that managed to “move the needle” on those issues without engaging its artistic and cultural “superpowers.”

JP: What do you hope to see come to life in Waco/Central Texas with regard to the arts?

FB: I would like Waco’s cultural gems to be better known and better supported. We have World-class artists, composers, performers, writers, and experts…right here in Waco and yet there is still a perception that because something is happening in Waco, it’s not quite as good as something presented in a larger or better known city.

I would like to see people who don’t think they care about the arts speak proudly about the vibrant cultural life of our city and relish investing in that and seeing the results, recognizing that it’s an essential part of the healthy growth of our community (just as even non-sports players invest in the important role that sport has in our community).

I would like Waco, with it’s perfect “crossing of the Brazos,” central Texas location to become a flourishing cultural hub for the 21st century – supporting thriving, sustainable, top notch venues and programming across many art forms. Our economic opportunity is not that we are conveniently close to Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and other cultural centers…it is that they are close to us!

Get Involved!

  •  ToteConnect on Facebook and Online to get the latest details, information, and event postings!
  • If you are an artist interested in being featured on the Creative Waco site, connect here!
  • Support arts in Waco and purchase a blank, painted, or fully customized Creative Waco tote!

Be involved with local arts events: attend, bring friends, buy local artwork & publications, share events with others, help promote what is happening, donate to fund-raising initiatives, visit exhibits, make art, inspire others, create community!


Jenuine Poetess August 2014Jenuine Poetess is an artist, visionary, and community organizer. In 2010, she founded In the Words of Womyn (ITWOW)an international, grass-roots, written and spoken-word arts project with chapters throughout Los Angeles, CA; Waco, TX; and Lebanon.  Jenuine is the founder of Waco Poets Society and co-founder of the Central Texas Artist Collective.    She writes, organizes, and creates rooted in the fierce conviction that holding intentional space, access, and opportunity for all people to foster their creative health is a matter of justice and is a vital asset to the sustainable thriving of communities.  She currently lives and poems in Central Texas where she enjoys finding new ways to disrupt the homeostasis of her city.  You can contact her at: jenuinepoetess@gmail.com.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.

 

Art and Community : on Creating Sustainable Community Through Relationships

By Jenuine Poetess

This past Saturday a collection of seven very diverse individuals—some strangers, who had never met each other before—gathered together and shared a meal, poetry, artwork, dialogue, and selves. Why did they meet up? What compelled them to circle around several tables pushed together in the back room of a local family restaurant, Rufi’s Cocina?

Art.

It was art that called us together this weekend. Waco Poets Society Nuestra Voz open mic to be more precise. We gathered around a shared interest in creative expression—both the needing to create and the needing to share. Over home-made nachos and panbazos, we exchanged verses. We also engaged in conversation enriching our expressions with narratives and backstories about grief, struggle, names, hopes, dreams, losses, disabilities, mental health, identities, and much more. Our sharing unified us in resounding, “me toos” of recognition and validation.

You see when we choose to be vulnerable in sharing our stories—in whatever medium they are manifest: word, image, movement, sound, object—we invite others in to our experiences. We are mirrors–where we can see our own radiant reflections in one another. We extend a hand to assist another to cross over, for a moment, into our own shoes. More often than not, what we discover, is a familiar story.

These moments cultivate relationships. We gathered on Saturday as strangers and we departed with hugs and warmth and calling each other by name. We were known by one another. What a remarkably transformative art-work!

ash craig leg kick

(photo credit: JenuineArtworks, at Nuestra Voz open mic, Rufi’s Cocina, October 10, 2015)

When I came to Waco, TX, in 2012 there was not much that I could find in the way of community open mics and arts opportunities. As a result of conversations I had with a handful of writers I met, it became clear that there was a need and desire for regular written and spoken-word arts programming. Because of a relationship I had with someone, they recommended I contact Katie Croft, of the then, Croft Art Gallery on Austin Avenue about the possibility of holding events there. In 2013 I founded Waco Poets Society and began holding open mic and ITWOW writing circle at the gallery weekly. At the end of the year it was time to find a new venue as the gallery was making transitions of it’s own. Through my relationship with Brook Hampton, owner and visionary of Enchanted Cedar, we collaborated to bring open mic to Lorena, Texas, at this most magical tea house. I met and became friends with community organizer, Fernando Arroyo who introduced me to the Art Forum of Waco and later, to Eric Gama, owner of Rufi’s Cocina where we now have monthly open mics. During my monthly Word Around Waco booth at Waco Downtown Farmers’ Market one Saturday I met artists, Angie Veracruz and Steve Veracruz. As we began to talk we formed the beginnings of an inspiring friendship that bloomed into the founding of Central Texas Artist Collective and all the subsequent projects, exhibits, pop-up painting in the park events, and empowering of artists to thrive into their creativity that have transpired since its founding in February 2015. Steve reached out to a new business, Tea 2 Go and we collectively began to collaborate as Angie and Steve curate visual art exhibits in the tea shop and I hold monthly open mic events.

Many of the people who are my creative colleagues are people I read about in the paper and cold called/emailed asking if I could buy them a cup of coffee. I asked if I could sit with them to learn more about the work that they are doing here in Waco and how I could get involved and serve alongside them. Seriously.

We have a lot of conversations and meetings and summits and strategy sessions and consultants around the questions of ushering our city and surrounding areas into prosperity. As long as we couple all of that with seeking out and building up of authentic and intentional relationships—especially with those who have different stories and creative expressions that are unique from ours—then we, as a community, will indeed be on a path toward thriving.

I have such pride and joy looking over the years since I arrived in Texas. I am deeply grateful for the relationships that make so many rich programs possible. It is our collective visioning and volunteering, it is our friendships and conversations, it is our willingness to literally sit down and listen to one another share stories, which is transforming the landscape of our community.

Get Involved:

Jenuine Poetess August 2014Jenuine Poetess is an artist, visionary, and community organizer. In 2010, she founded In the Words of Womyn (ITWOW)an international, grass-roots, written and spoken-word arts project with chapters throughout Los Angeles, CA; Waco, TX; and Lebanon.  Jenuine is the founder of Waco Poets Society and co-founder of the Central Texas Artist Collective.    She writes, organizes, and creates rooted in the fierce conviction that holding intentional space, access, and opportunity for all people to foster their creative health is a matter of justice and is a vital asset to the sustainable thriving of communities.  She currently lives and poems in Central Texas where she enjoys finding new ways to disrupt the homeostasis of her city.  You can contact her at: jenuinepoetess@gmail.com.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.

 

Waco Cultural Arts Festival: Be inspired. Create community.

by Jenuine Poetess

Every year, on the last weekend of September, artists across every genre and medium gather in an expression of creativity the likes of which is rarely beheld in one time and place. 2015 marks the 11th Annual Waco Cultural Arts Festival (WCAF) which encompasses six, yes six, complete festivals in one: MusicFest, {254}DanceFest, WordFest, ScienceFest, Celebration Africa FilmFest, and the original ArtsFest  —  a juried visual arts compendium of high caliber artists from across Texas and beyond!

Each year, the WCAF adds new and exciting featured artists, interactive opportunities, and thrilling installations to the veritable feast of the senses that is each festival. Here I’ll note some of this year’s highlights in the hopes that Waco, McLennan County, and Central Texas will take advantage of this free public festival welcoming all ages to imagine, inspire, and create together!

MusicFest

guitarThe 2015 WCAF MusicFest will feature both locally loved and nationally known musicians on the mainstage Friday, Saturday, and Sunday! Local favorites include, Never Native, The Union Revival, Venus Envy, and MOJO Assassins. Central Texas String Academy and Choral Society will take to the stage Saturday and Sunday. Saturday evening showcases appearances by Joel Laviolette and Rattletree Marimba, Encore!, and Tequila Rock Revolution and Sunday closes out the festival with headliner, Joel McCray Jazz Group. What a diverse musical menu!

{254}DanceFest

dancersEach year the Out on a Limb Dance Company selects outstanding, unique, and “off the grid” dancers from across the country to perform on Waco’s stage. One favorite feature is the {254} Choreography Dance Exchange, a program connecting dancers and choreographers from around Texas and Oklahoma. {254}DanceFest includes free performances, lecture/workshops, dance jams, and classes (for only $5).

WordFest

word festFor the first time ever, WordFest will feature a Texas Commission on the Arts poet, Sarah Cortez. Hailing from Houston, TX this police-officer-turned-poet will present workshops for children and adults alike and will feature a solo reading followed by a Q & A. Other highlights of this year’s event include a 2015 WordFest Anthology reading to kick off the weekend Friday evening, 100Thousand Artists for Change Open Mic on Saturday evening, and a special Her Texas reading and Q & A on Sunday Afternoon. With workshops, panel discussions, Ink Café, community open mics, and local authors selling and signing their works, WordFest is sure to offer something for writers of every age and every genre from poetry to fiction to memoir to post-apocalyptic mayhem!

ScienceFest

science festA recent addition to the WCAF line-up, ScienceFest seeks to reinforce the wisdom that placing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) at the core of learning, cultivates critically and creatively thinking students ready to address the concerns of our community, our environment, and our world! This year’s theme is Robots, Rockets, Critters, & Chemistry and the ScienceFest featured Artist is Steve Veracruz presenting an exhibit on Fibonacci.

Celebration Africa FilmFest

film fest“Designed to showcase the beauty, diversity, and majesty of Africa,” the Celebration Africa FilmFest provides festival attendees the opportunity to not only screen important films, but to engage in community dialogue and conversation around the various issues, concerns, and celebrations portrayed in each film. Together with a number of community organizations FilmFest presents a rich experience of African culture through film and discussion. Friday’s opening reception will be followed by a screening of The First Grader. Among Saturday’s screenings will include, The Forgotten Kingdom.

ArtFest

art festAmong the juried artists who have been carefully selected to exhibit and sell their work throughout the three days of WCAF, there will be a number of artists doing live, interactive, demonstrations of their work. Additionally, there will be a variety of booths where artists of all ages can create a project souvenir to bring home with them. Many surprises and visual delights are in store at the 2015 Waco Cultural Arts Fest.

Details:

When: September 25-27, 2015
Time: Friday 5p – midnight; Saturday 10am-midnight; Sunday 11a-5p
Where: Indian Spring Park & Waco Convention Center
Who: Everyone, all ages
Cost: FREE! (all events, unless noted are FREE. Food and artwork are additional fees per vendor.)
Website: www.wacoartsfest.org


Jenuine Poetess August 2014Jenuine Poetess is an artist, visionary, and community organizer. In 2010, she founded In the Words of Womyn (ITWOW), an international, grass-roots, written and spoken-word arts project with chapters throughout Los Angeles, CA; Waco, TX; and Lebanon.  Jenuine is the founder of Waco Poets Society and co-founder of the Central Texas Artist Collective.    She writes, organizes, and creates rooted in the fierce conviction that holding intentional space, access, and opportunity for all people to foster their creative health is a matter of justice and is a vital asset to the sustainable thriving of communities.  She currently lives and poems in Central Texas where she enjoys finding new ways to disrupt the homeostasis of her city.  You can contact her at: jenuinepoetess@gmail.com.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.

 

An Interview with the Founder of “The Yellow Chair Review”

By Jenuine Poetess

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Sarah Frances Moran, founder & editor Yellow Chair Review, Waco’s own Art & Literary Journal.

Jenuine Poetess (JP): Tell me about yourself and how you got into writing.

sara m

(Sarah Frances Moran; photo courtesy SFM)

Sarah Frances Moran (SFM): I’m a native Houstonian. I began seriously writing around the age of fifteen. I always had a love for reading and for song lyrics, and my writing came out of a desire to replicate what I enjoyed and also out of desire to express my feelings. You know fifteen-year-olds have lots of feelings.

Without writing I’d probably be in a bad place. Some people sometimes say that it’s therapy and they’re not completely off base. If I didn’t have this outlet I’d have a stockpile of crazy things stored up in my head.

I always kept my writing to myself or to those closest to me. It never occurred to me to put it out there for the public. I have always attended open mic readings and always sat in the back quietly listening. This past September I attended Waco’s Wordfest and most specifically the 100thousand Artists for Change readings. I met ITWOW ([In The Words of Women) Founder Jenuine [Poetess] at that reading and began attending the ITWOW writing group on Monday nights. That outlet opened the door for me to become comfortable sharing my work. I began participating in open mic readings and also began sending out my work for publication. It’s been a crazy year. I’ve had 57 poems (and counting) published in 34 publications. I’ve even dabbled in some memoir writing and have had a few stories published. It’s been a rollercoaster. This venture into the publishing world fueled my desire to start my own literary arts magazine and that’s how Yellow Chair Review came to be.

I could go on for days about setbacks, but they aren’t important. I think it’s important to be resilient, to look ahead and to focus on goals however small or large they are.

JP: How did you get interested in publishing? Tell us about the journey from idea to where you are now?

SFM: I ran a little literary journal when I was in High School that I would send out via email. It was at the dawn of the internet (giving away my age a bit) before blogs and the boom of the online literary world. It was a small email compiled of writing by friends and acquaintances I’d met online. I was also the editor of the school literary magazine. I’ve always had the desire to do that again, and after sending out my own work to a myriad of places I began seeing patterns of things I wanted to do better. I’m certainly under no illusions that I’ve done anything revolutionary with Yellow Chair Review. I simply wanted to create a space for writers and artists that is diverse and approachable. There’s elitism everywhere, and there’s a ton of elitism in the literary world. I don’t want YCR to ever be that.

So I sat down and wrote the pros and cons of doing this (I’m a serious list maker) and determined the pros outweighed the cons. I wanted to make sure this was something I do properly and do in a way that made folks proud to have their work be a part of it.

JP: Where did the name Yellow Chair Review come from?

yellow chair bannerSFM: A poem of course! I wrote a poem in high school titled Yellow Chair. It’s a strange poem dealing with some heavy stuff I was going through at the time. I had this long list of name options. It was almost the Olive Ridley Review. I love sea turtles. Iva, my partner in life and with the review, preferred Yellow Chair.

JP: How is it going compared to your hopes/expectations?

SFM: It is vastly blasting away my hopes/expectations. I thought I’d have to beg for submissions. I thought it would be a slow progression. It has taken off like a rocket. The submissions have been pouring in, and I’ve had to add staff! I never thought I’d have to ask for help. I could definitely be the one to read all of the submissions and do all the work, but I’ve always wanted YCR to be a space that is prompt. One of the things I hate the most about submitting work is the waiting and waiting and waiting. I don’t want submitters to wait long to hear from us. So I’ve enlisted help so that you get that 1-2 day turn around.

JP: What are some future projects/plans you have for YCR?

SFM: We’ve just added two new features to YCR. We’re going to start accepting submissions of Reviews and we’ll start conducting interviews with contributors. The biggest project I’m planning is a Chapbook contest. I don’t have the details etched out 100% yet. I know for sure I want to do a Poetry Chapbook contest. I’d considered also doing a fiction Chapbook contest too, but I don’t know about it yet. More information about that will hopefully be available by September.

JP: Why is it important to you to create an arts & literary journal? What role does it play in the arts community at large and in Waco?

collage

(visual art by Debangana Banerjee; used with permission here and published in YCR, Issue 3)

SFM: I think it’s important to create space. I’ve read a lot of essays and articles about how there are too many literary journals out there and you shouldn’t add to the pile unless you have something extremely unique to bring to the table. I disagree. I think if you’re staying true to the work, to the contributors and doing your best to promote their writing/art you’re doing a huge service to the literary arts community. So many voices go unheard for so many reasons. So create space that helps voices be heard, and do all you can to get those voices out there.

I don’t know that it’s fully doing this yet, but I want YCR to be a space that can say it harbors voices from all over the world, from all walks of life, from all sorts of ideologies, philosophies, races, sexes, orientations, languages etc. Waco itself is more than the majority we see everywhere. I want those underrepresented voices to give YCR the chance to showcase them. Waco has a rich variety of people. YCR can work as a catalyst for those voices.

JP: How can Waco support your work?

SFM: Submitting! I know there are so many poets, writers, and artists in our community, and I would truly love to see their works in YCR. I would love to be able to say that YCR is supportive of the community it’s created in. I can’t say that though if folks don’t give it the chance! So please submit your writings and visual artwork.

Donating! I hate asking for money, but if anyone out there wants to throw donations our way it would be a huge help. Right now YCR is costing my household money, and I don’t mind but it limits what I can do for our contributors. With donations the Chapbook contests can get kickstarted sooner, and we’ll be able to give more in terms of contest winnings. That’s the hugest monetary goal right now. Getting the funds to publish Chapbooks. (You can donate by visiting YCR’s GoFundMe campaign here!)

Reading! Check out the latest issue of YCR via Issuu here.

JP: What else would you like us to know about your work as a poet and as a publisher?

SFM: That I’m here.   That I plan to keep myself immersed in this community on a local level and on an international level. That all of our words, our creations, our feelings and thoughts are worthy of having space. That I want to do all that I can to offer that space.

Get Involved!

  • yellow chair woodenTo learn more about the submission guidelines and schedule, please click here.   To learn more about Sarah and her poetry, please visit her website here. Two blogs to follow are the YCR blog and the Rock the Chair blog, check them out! In September, Sarah will be hosting a workshop on Publishing and Editing at the 2015 WCAF WordFest; join us!
  • WordFest Anthology Call for Submissions – accepting entries of poetry and prose now through August 31, 2015. Please visit here for complete details, entry fees, and submission guidelines.
  • Central Texas Artist Collective is inviting a statement of intent to participate in the 100 Thousand Artists for Change visual exhibit on Saturday September 26, 2015. Details here.

Waco has a rich array of museums, symphony, theater, community band, arts, and cultural activities. To check out the options, please visit Creative Waco!


Jenuine Poetess August 2014Jenuine Poetess is an artist, visionary, and community organizer. In 2010, she founded In the Words of Womyn (ITWOW), an international, grass-roots, written and spoken-word arts project with chapters throughout Los Angeles, CA; Waco, TX; and Lebanon.  Jenuine is the founder of Waco Poets Society and co-founder of the Central Texas Artist Collective.    She writes, organizes, and creates rooted in the fierce conviction that holding intentional space, access, and opportunity for all people to foster their creative health is a matter of justice and is a vital asset to the sustainable thriving of communities.  She currently lives and poems in Central Texas where she enjoys finding new ways to disrupt the homeostasis of her city.  You can contact her at: jenuinepoetess@gmail.com.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

Creating: getting started & moving through dry spells

By Jenuine Poetess

Here at the Act Locally Waco Arts & Culture blog we muse often about events, programs, the value of arts and cultural activities and the inclusion of creative health as a matter of justice along side employment, education, hunger initiatives, and other aspects of cultivating a sustainable community.   Hopefully, something here has inspired some of you to pick up your own instrument, pen, brush, or tool-of-choice to begin making your own art works. For some of us though, it can be difficult to know where to begin, even when we are inspired. And even people who create on a regular basis sometimes find themselves in a dry spell.

In this month’s post I share some of the resources I have turned to through the years to get started or to get through a creative block. I hope you find something here to prime the pump.

Books:

My personal selection of books reflects my primary creative discipline of writing. Recently I’ve started branching out to more visual art mediums as well.

booksThese three books are an excellent starting place for any writer:

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott is a witty, candid, exploration of where to begin and how to continue a healthy writing practice. Lamott assures us that whether we are writing a novel, memoir or multi-volume series, it will be accomplished, one sentence at a time.

Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones works by shaping the person who is the writer. By challenging mental blocks and obstacles, she helps us stretch our imaginations to make space for all of our uncensored thoughts.

Just like athletes must move through the paces of pushups, sprints, and weight-lifting to get ready to perform on the field, strong writers engage in exercises to get ready to perform on the page. Naming the World and A Writer’s Book of Days by Judy Reeves (not pictured) are two excellent sources of varied writing exercises. While what you compose in an exercise may not be a masterpiece, hopefully it will move away the clutter so you can access the real writing gems later.

poetry booksFor those who specifically wish to hone their poetic craft and practice, I highly recommend these three books: Poemcrazy by Susan goldsmith Woolridge, Writing the Life Poetic by Sage Cohen, and Poetry as Spiritual Practice by Robert McDowell as well as an on-line resource Writing from the Soul both website and social media site. If you follow the social media site, new writing prompts are posted in the form of photos every week. From taking a walk, to collecting trinkets, to identifying and practicing technical poetry forms, these resources offer commentary, exercises, and invitations to explore one’s inner and outer worlds in order to enrich one’s poetry pages.

bones of seeingFor those like me who dabble in both writing and visual arts, Natalie Goldberg has a new memoir out, Living Color: Painting, Writing, and the Bones of Seeing complete with full color photos of her visual art works! I can’t wait to dive in and learn more about her practice. Memoirs, biographies, and autobiographies of artists whom you admire are also fantastic resources to learn about practice and process!

art journal workshopAnother possibility is art journaling. There are a myriad of resources out there to help a person get started. This Art Journal guide book by Traci Bunkers, complete with DVD, provides step-by-step directions for how to achieve a variety of mixed-media looks throughout a journal book resulting in a creative collaboration between collage, scrap-booking, writing, and painting. The results are vibrant reflections of one’s own life and journey.

enchanted forestFor those who want to get into visual arts there is a new outpouring of “Grown-up Coloring Books” to enjoy. I recently picked up Joanna Basford’s Enchanted Forest from BookWoman; it was a difficult decision between that and her Secret Garden collection of what she calls, “an inky quest and coloring book.” The pages are filled with intricate patterns and designs, complete with hidden images and themes throughout each book. There are many “Grown Up Coloring Books” which include mandalas, templates to make your own designs, starters for doodling, and even something called, Zentangles—a kind of meditative intentional doodling.

I also included in this photo, a sample of a mandala I found online. Coloring, especially mandalas, is an incredible relaxation creativity exercise.

Local Classes/Resources:

Waco has some wonderful classes available to artists of all ages. For one-time experiences try Practically Pikasso where you can form your own fused glass or mosaic creations, or create custom glaze designs on a vast array of blank pottery shapes.

If you’d like to try your hand at a canvas, check out one of these options:

  • Painting with a Twist guides participants (18+) through a specific project while sipping on a favorite adult beverage (BYOB). Each event offers a specific design, so check out their calendar and pick whichever painting you’d like to try!
  • Paint the Town Waco offers painting guidance for artists of all ages. During the summer classes for kiddos are every Tuesday at the Art Center of Waco.       Adult classes are held periodically at the CAST on Austin Avenue or parties and groups can book the founder & teacher, Sarah Weatherly for private events. To learn more, check out this interview she did with the Art Center of Waco!

Speaking of the Art Center of Waco, they offer classes for kiddos throughout the year. Resident ceramics artist, Jonathan Martin offers occasional adult ceramics classes as well. For more information contact the Art Center of Waco.

McLennan Community College offers a wide variety of arts classes through their Community Continuing Education program. Once you get to the site, click on the upcoming season’s program for a listing of available classes. I’ve seen anything from quilting to ceramics to photography to tango listed at quite reasonable prices for multi-session classes. It’s a great way to learn new skills and meet new friends who are learning too!

Finally, another wonderful resource is the Central Texas Artist Collective. Most recently they have been holding a series of pop-up painting in the park sessions—these are impromptu gatherings of artists of every level and ability getting together to paint, enjoy each other’s company, exchange ideas and technique, and build community through art. Supplies are usually provided and donations are always appreciated. Follow them on Facebook and/or Twitter to stay informed about upcoming events.

I hope you have now been both inspired and motivated to get out there…or stay in and create. Please share in the comments classes you’ve taken, books you’ve read, and volumes that are must-have resources on your shelves! I can’t wait to hear about what helps you get started or what gets you through your creative deserts!


Jenuine Poetess August 2014Jenuine Poetess is an artist, visionary, and community organizer. In 2010, she founded In the Words of Womyn (ITWOW), an international, grass-roots, written and spoken-word arts project with chapters throughout Los Angeles, CA; Waco, TX; and Lebanon.  Jenuine is the founder of Waco Poets Society and co-founder of the Central Texas Artist Collective.    She writes, organizes, and creates rooted in the fierce conviction that holding intentional space, access, and opportunity for all people to foster their creative health is a matter of justice and is a vital asset to the sustainable thriving of communities.  She currently lives and poems in Central Texas where she enjoys finding new ways to disrupt the homeostasis of her city.  You can contact her at: jenuinepoetess@gmail.com

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis: Art is Long, Life is Short

By Jenuine Poetess

 Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

I first heard those words in my high school Latin class many…many moons ago. Art is long, life is short. We were translating phrases, classic wisdoms and warnings like, Cave Canem! “Beware of Dog!” or Caveat Emptor! “Let the buyer beware!” At the time, they didn’t hold much water for me; I was just glad for short translations!

poseidon

(the Faun; statue in a private home in Pompeii, Italy)

Earlier this month I gathered with 100 other artists and poets in Salerno, Italy, for the inaugural 100Thousand Artists for Change World Conference. We converged on this glorious Mediterranean city for 8 days to discuss the role, the responsibility, and the resource of art in furthering missions of peace, justice, and sustainability in our communities world-wide. Indeed I learned a great deal from my journey and the relationships forged during that time. More broadly than my own personal process, I’ve come away with an even deeper, more pressing urgency regarding the importance of art.

I had the remarkable opportunity to spend a day in Pompeii. The ruins of this city, more than any other I have experienced, moved me in profound ways. (For those unfamiliar with the history of Pompeii, this site is an excellent resource). What especially struck me was the pristine preservation of art–as a result of the city being buried in volcanic ash and debris–paintings, sculptures, frescos, and mosaics have withstood time in radiant resilience.

pompeii

(frescoes and mosaic altar inside wealthy Pompeii home)

My fingers gingerly traced the still-vibrant work of another’s hands, over two millennia ago. I was scolded, in Italian. But for a moment, a sacred second, across time and space I connected with another artist. I was humbled. Not by the scolding. By the enormity of art. It is so much more vast than you or I or Waco or Texas or the US or even all of the world. Art is both this very moment and all of eternity. A poem, a song, a painting, a photo, a sculpture, a dance, an installation, a mural, a mosaic—all of it is a mere breath of time, one pulsing beat of the heart. What inspires us to document that moment, above so many others? What moved us to immortalize that person, that sentiment, that truth out of the myriad experienced across the span of life? Why capture it at all?

Ask any artist why art matters and for as many people you interview, you may have that many answers. We create art to make statements, to make movements, to make emotions, to make changes, to make revolution, to make beauty, to make love.

Kiss poem

(poetry by Italian poet, Alfonso Gatto, installed by Salerno Artist, Pino Green)

Singular individuals create, sometimes collaborate. What we make is personal, intimately, privately, personal. And often so very public and political. It is said, what a skillful artist creates is both personal and universal; all at once. That creation is a signature of a specific person and yet, accessible from every angle, age, belief, generation, language, culture, identity, and experience. That is the grail after which we—sometimes obsessively—strive: universality.

But why? What does it matter if someone creates or does not? If it is personal or universal? Wouldn’t we be just fine without art?

(An exquisitely delicious and stunning butter cookie from Compañía de Café in San Fernando, CA)

(An exquisitely delicious and stunning butter cookie from Compañía de Café in San Fernando, CA)

Consider music, the way it moves the body, the soul. Have you ever had a poignant moment connected with music? Have you ever designed a soundtrack to your life or a particular season? Think about the countless photos—yes even selfies—snapped with a camera or phone. Do you realize you are creating art? What about those drawings made by little ones tacked to refrigerator doors and cubical walls? Or the texture and hue of that wool you knitted into a scarf to hold Winter’s winds at bay? Remember that moment, bigger than your being, when words became insufficient to articulate all that needed to be expressed? Or the way the curve and tangle of that gnarled old Oak, caught your breath, in that particular instant. What about that time that you met one who stirred places long dormant within you, and poetry, unexpected, flowed forth from your unassuming pen?

Art is everywhere and in everything. In the magnificence of creation, in the hues of our skin, in the ache of our tragedies.spider web

Art invites us to indulge in sensual pleasures sating taste, touch, sight, sound, scents. Art asks questions we cannot bear to utter. Art shows us what and how the world could be. Art holds up an unapologetic mirror reminding us, teaching us who we are. Art is a timeless narrative, telling our stories long after our echoes have subsided into the earth. Art is a tool to heal, to listen, to understand, to become.

In a magnificent project by Janice Lee, she calls for #finalpoems asking poets for their last words to an ending world.

Why?

Lee writes:

“Because one yet wants to believe that poetry can still be about the catastrophe and beauty of one’s own heart, and the generous giving away of those words to another.

If the world were to end next week, what is the final poem you write, the final poem you give away generously, treacherously, genuinely, fearfully, necessarily, beautifully?

That tomorrow it may very well all end, and we would know to bear the pain as the day rose and broke.

That the present is undying yet death awaits us all.

That words can still connect and touch, that we still know how to offer to others a piece of our soul.

That space yet expands and we know when to keep breathing and when to stop.

That poetry can yet be given and received, from one human being to another.”

(detail of a painting I purchased in Istanbul, Turkey, outside the Blue Mosque)

(detail of a painting I purchased in Istanbul, Turkey, outside the Blue Mosque)

I consider the works of art preserved by a volcano that destroyed an entire city in 79 AD. I awe and wonder how inside that moment of agony and death, art endured–audaciously, vibrantly, resiliently.

 

 

 


Jenuine Poetess August 2014Jenuine Poetess is an artist, visionary, and community organizer. In 2010, she founded In the Words of Womyn (ITWOW), an international, grass-roots, written and spoken-word arts project with chapters throughout Los Angeles, CA; Waco, TX; and Lebanon.  Jenuine is the founder of Waco Poets Society and co-founder of the Central Texas Artist Collective.    She writes, organizes, and creates rooted in the fierce conviction that holding intentional space, access, and opportunity for all people to foster their creative health is a matter of justice and is a vital asset to the sustainable thriving of communities.  She currently lives and poems in Central Texas where she enjoys finding new ways to disrupt the homeostasis of her city.  You can contact her at: jenuinepoetess@gmail.com.

 

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.

 

Open Mic : On why holding space matters

by Jenuine Poetess

It is easy to feel lost and betrayed in a world of increasing alienation, where greed, injustice, and dull materialism obscure the underlying dream of life. There is a path the soul would have us take and a unique way of seeing the world it would have us awaken to. There is a music and rhythm in the body and a song in the soul; both an inner vitality and an instinctive connection to the divine that is the inborn source of great imagination and creativity,” mythologist Michael Meade writes. Rooted in this very conviction, Waco Poets Society holds space for every voice to share its story, song, poem, rhythm, and truths via regular open mic events throughout the city.

Nuestra voz

(Nuestra Voz open mic @ Art Forum Back Patio, Saturday May 9, 2015)

There is something uniquely transformative, when a collection of people—across so many cultures, beliefs, ages, disabilities, life-practices, genders, abilities, talents, genres, styles, and languages—gather together to share with to one another. Assumptions, prejudices, walls begin to crumble as we listen to each other. We begin hearing pieces of our own stories, nestled within the harmonies and poetics of another. We recognize parts of ourselves in the mirrors our creative expressions are for one another.

don't have to agreeThe extraordinary thing is that regardless of all the things that might divide us, within the space of an open mic, we respect and honor the expression. We don’t all have to agree on the content, but we hold space for one another acknowledging that every person has authority over their own truth. While Waco Poets Society is committed to holding an uncensored space, their one caveat is that hate speech of any kind—toward self or others—is not welcome because it is not a productive part of cultivating authentic community.

Beyond Waco Poets Society, other individuals and grass-roots initiatives are beginning to bloom throughout this city. Organized by Saddiq Granger, a new gathering called Minority Report is an open-to-all talking circle safe space where everyone is invited to share their stories of minority experiences or being marginalized in any setting due to a specific difference…and it’s a potluck!

minority report

(Minority Report talking circle & potluck at the CAST, March 2015)

It is vital to the thriving of our community that such spaces continue and multiply. There is no such thing as too many spaces for creative and authentic expressions of personal truths! These circles and conversations and open mic gatherings and dialogues are what allow us to give one another agency. To affirm that Yes! our stories, our experiences matter. To step for a moment into another’s shoes and feel the challenges of the path they walk daily. To deepen our mindfulness and broaden our compassion. This is how our city will flourish. This is how we will continue growing into the community where everyone is welcome, celebrated, and honored for exactly who they are. Of course we don’t all have to believe or live or practice or speak or dress or express in the same ways. How bland would life be if that were the case!

Open mic and creative talking circles give us the opportunity to practice being curious about the truths of others. We hold space for people to be nourished and inspired by the collective creativity exchanged. Artists are allowed to practice new styles and voices and expressions while sorting out their own true identity. We have grace for the mistakes, stutters, and stumbles because we celebrate the fact that all of us, not just our art works, are rough drafts. We challenge one another as those more experienced nudge those of us just starting out into enriched becoming. Across generations and cultures and languages and beliefs and genders and identities relationships are formed. And those relationships, transform individuals, transform neighborhoods, transform cities, transform nations.

Get Involved:

  • New Open Mic collaboration between Waco Poets Society, Central Texas Artist Collective, & Tea2Go Waco every 3rd Thursday beginning May 21st @ 7pm with a kick-off event featuring singer/song-writer Katie Stewart. CTAC will be curating a monthly visual arts exhibit which will open each month at open mic. FREE ~ please purchase drinks to support this new local business!
  • Nuestra Voz open mic @ Art Forum of Waco May 23, 2015 at 7pm. Theme for this event is Grief & Loss. This will be a safe space for remembering, honoring, reflecting on expressions of who and what has been lost. This is a potluck event; bring a main, side, dessert dish or drink to share. FREE ~ $3 donations appreciated & shared with Art Forum.
  • Keep up with the next Minority Report circle & potluck by visiting & liking their social media page at: facebook.com/MinorityReportWaco

National Poetry Month: Why Poetry Matters

By Jenuine Poetess

every poet

(magnetic poetry & photo by Jenuine Poetess)

April is many things to many people. For some, April is about Autism Awareness & Advocacy. For others April shines a light on the presence of Child Abuse and how to prevent violence against youth in their homes. Some people celebrate their pets in April, other people honor the Earth, still others may go fly a kite. Here at the Arts & Culture blog, we’re celebrating Poetry! Among the myriad of causes, April is National Poetry Month. Established in 1996 by the American Academy of Poets, National Poetry Month strives to not only draw attention to poets and their works but also to inspire others to try their hand at writing verse. Poet Maureen Thorson is credited with initiating the NaPoWriMo challenge in 2003 in which participants endeavor to write 30 poems in 30 days throughout the month of April. If you are feeling ambitious, it’s not too late in the month to begin; check out the NaPoWriMo website for daily prompts and tips!

her ancient

(magnetic poetry & photo by Jenuine Poetess)

As a poet, sometimes I forget that for many people, poetry serves little to no purpose in their daily lives. Actually, this is quite a shocking realization for me to remember. I’ve been writing poems, in some form, since I was a little girl. I was a non-committal open mic attendee for many years after college and wrote every now and then when I was so moved. It wasn’t until I began attending weekly open mics and womyn’s writing circle at Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural in Sylmar, CA in 2009 that I finally claimed my identity as Poet and began seriously practicing the written and spoken-word arts. I quickly found poetry to be my new way of life. I relished the rebellion of breaking grammar rules to arrange words on the page, without a care for punctuation or use of articles. Words themselves became the adornments of my expressions. Pure. Undiluted. Raw. Within this realm of reckless, wild, word-play, I found my own voice. I have known no other liberation so exhilarating as beholding the reflection of myself in the words I have poured upon my pages. I am certainly not the first, no the last to embark on this journey of self-knowing via pen and paper. Science fiction author, Octavia Estelle Butler affirms, “Every story I write, creates me. I write to create myself.”

luis

(photo credit: Luis J. Rodriguez)

Poet W. B. Yeats asserts, “out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry.” It is from within that quarrel with one’s self, that the truest aspects of our soul remain refined, after everything else has burned away. For most poets I know and by whom I am inspired, we write to shed light on truth with very little interest in keeping ourselves or others comfortable. The visceral art of poetry is to be unsilent, to provoke, to protest, to be—unflinching and unapologetic. It is up to the reader to divine meaning, to interpret call to action, to take away value.

royal

(photo credit: Jenuine Poetess)

Without hesitation or embellishment I candidly admit that poetry has saved my life on countless occasions. Whether it is the catharsis of purging my turmoil, heartache, outrage, or euphoria onto the page; or the validation of listening or reading others’ words putting into language thoughts, feelings, moments I too have experienced; or the deep joy of witnessing another come into bloom, finding their own voice and raising the volume to speak, with authority, their truths; writing has saved and changed my life. Mine is not the only testament to this fact. From youth and adults in correctional facilities, to those doing the work in therapy sessions, to cancer patients working through their mortality, to the grieving remembering their loved ones lost, to hearts pounding in love and desire, to joyful wonder captured spontaneous, people world-wide speak fluently the language of poetry.

NV January

(Nuestra Voz open mic @ Art Forum of Waco — January 2015)

Historically, poetry has been a dangerous occupation getting writers excommunicated at best and executed at worst. We have been outcast and exiled, tortured and isolated, we have been misunderstood and hated since the dawn of poetry. I promise you, it is not for the faint-of-heart. Poetry is born out of marrow and mire. It is a Phoenix rising again and again out of the ashes of our souls, the glowing remnants of what has been destroyed. Poetry is our rebirth. We write to know ourselves and we share to know each other. This is how we build community, through our creative expressions. Through speaking our truths. Through listening, with intention, to what each other is saying—deep within our words.

I do not write because it is nice or fun.   Poetry is not a hobby or leisure activity. Poetry is among my personal hierarchy of needs. I must write. When my words are quiet, I feel it; I know it is a grave vital sign of my distress. Poetry is my compass and my map. Poetry is my truest mirror showing me unedited reflections of myself. Poetry is my measure and my portion. Poetry is both a part of me, and something entirely beyond me, all at once.

Get Involved!

  • penneyWaco Poets Society hosts an open mic every 2nd & 4th Saturday at the Art Forum of Waco, 7pm and welcomes the sharing of poems, songs, stories, spoken-word, reflections, jokes, and more!
  • Challenge yourself to write 30 poems in 30 days—yes! haiku count! J
  • Attend readings at the Austin International Poetry Festival featuring Nikki Giovanni April 9th-12th
  • Attend Waco’s Annual WordFest, a part of the Waco Cultural Arts Festival in September 2015
  • Stop by the Waco Poets Society booth any 2nd Saturday at the Waco Downtown Farmers’ Market to try your hand on our vintage typewriter or to play with magnetic words

Resources:

These are some of my go-to resources for practicing, contemplating, and exploring the written & spoken-word arts.

  • NaPoWriMo – prompts and tips for writing 30 poems in 30 days of April
  • Poem Crazy: freeing your life with words – by Susan G. Wooldridge
  • Poetry as Spiritual Practice: using Poetry in Your Daily Rituals, Aspirations, and Intentions – by Robert McDowell
  • Writing the Life Poetic: An Invitation to Read and Write Poetry – by Sage Cohen
  • Skipping Stones is a rich multicultural literary and arts magazine for children and youth

    Jenuine Poetess August 2014Jenuine Poetess is an artist, visionary, and community organizer. In 2010, she founded In the Words of Womyn (ITWOW), an international, grass-roots, written and spoken-word arts project with chapters throughout Los Angeles; Waco, TX; and Lebanon. ITWOW empowers womyn of all ages to give sound to our story and volume to our voice.HOT~ITWOW writing circle meets Mondays from 6-7:45pm at the Art Forum of Waco beginning February 2, 2015.  Jenuine also founded Waco Poets Society which sponsors a local open mic venue in Sanger Heights.  Meeting every 2nd & 4th Saturday at the Art Forum of Waco Nuestra Voz Open Mic invites community to share poems, songs, stories, spoken-word, and other creative expressions!  In 2015, Jenuine along with a number of other artists creating and residing in Waco, co-founded the Central Texas Artist Collective (click link to learn more and get involved).  You can contact her at: jenuinepoetess@gmail.com.

Art on Elm: East Waco’s Neighborhood Arts Block Party

by Jenuine Poetess

squigglesSince 2011, East Waco has partnered with NeighborWorks Waco to host an annual block party complete with music, visual art exhibit, artisan booths, and food vendors known as, Art on Elm. This celebration of community and creative expression was born out of a question of how to rekindle the sparks from a once-thriving area of Waco’s Downtown. Consultants were brought in to evaluate the neighborhood, its history, and the needs of the community. Out of those conversations and brainstorms, Art on Elm was born.

boy in T-shirt

Young volunteer

Art on Elm features an exhibit of visual arts submitted by artists across many disciplines who are living and creating in Waco. On an outdoor stage musicians from around Central Texas set the tone for community celebration as the street, closed to vehicle traffic, fills with neighbors dancing, laughing, and singing together. The aroma of fresh food cooking wafts across the blocks from local food vendors creating a feast for all senses! (The last day to submit artwork, musical feature, food or artisan vendor is TODAY, March 11, 2015! Click here for details).

picture of city

Mural by Art on Elm youth.

A key component of Art on Elm is empowering youth.  You people get involved both as volunteers…and as artists.  This event is an opportunity for neighbors from all across McLennan county, Central Texas, and even out-of-state to gather, celebrate the talent and value of creative expression and to be reminded of what rich resources Wacoans have to offer one another.

splash partyThis year’s event will be held on Saturday April 11, 2015 from 10am-3pm. The event is FREE and open to the public of all ages. You will want to bring cash for food and art purchases. If you’re interested in a sneak peek at the art exhibit, join Art On Elm on Friday April 10th for the Splash of Color Preview Party. Click here for ticket information.

Get Involved in Art on Elm!

  • Calling volunteers of all ages for Art On Elm! Jobs could include children’s activities, directing traffic, handing out flyers, working in the exhibition or helping with music. If you would like more information about being a volunteer please contact us at volunteer@artonelmavenue.com.
  • Call for submissions (visual arts, vendors, musicians) ends TODAY MARCH 11, 2015!! Click here for guidelines to submit.
  • Come to the event on April 11, 2015 and bring your friends, family, and neighbors!

Upcoming Arts & Culture Events:

  • nuestra vozWaco Poets Society’s Nuestra Voz/Our Voice hosts an Abilities & Mental Health Awareness and Solidarity Open Mic on Saturday March 14, 2015 at 7pm at the Art Forum of Waco (1826 Morrow Ave). This event is FREE ($3 suggested donation) and open to people of all ages, abilities, genres, languages, styles, identities, and cultures.
  • Waco Poets Society will host a Pop-up Writing Circle before open mic on the 14th, beginning at 6pm at the Art Forum. Prompt, paper, and pens will be available—come ready to write and discuss! This is a casual, affirming, collaborative, creative space.
  • In the Words of Womyn weekly writing circle continues on Mondays from 6-7:30pm at the Art Forum of Waco—open to all who live as and identify as womyn. This space is for the practice, discussion, and exploration of the written & spoken-word arts. All genre writers welcome!
  • BIRDS Exhibit will begin accepting submissions of art works across any discipline on March 27, 2015 for exhibit at the Art Forum of Waco from April 25th through June 13th. All ages, all media welcome! For more information please click here.
  • every heroWaco McLennan Library is holding a Writing & Art Contest for young artists ages 5-17. Deadline March 20, 2015. Please click here for full submission guidelines. (every hero)

Have an arts and/or cultural event you’d like to share with the community or a project we should know about? Please contact Jenuine Poetess at jenuinepoetess@gmail.com.

(Photo credits: All photos courtesy of NeighborWorks Waco, used with permission)


 

Jenuine Poetess August 2014Jenuine Poetess is an artist, visionary, and community organizer. In 2010, she founded In the Words of Womyn (ITWOW), an international, grass-roots, written and spoken-word arts project with chapters throughout Los Angeles; Waco, TX; and Lebanon. ITWOW empowers womyn of all ages to give sound to our story and volume to our voice.HOT~ITWOW writing circle meets Mondays from 6-7:45pm at the Art Forum of Waco beginning February 2, 2015.  Jenuine also founded Waco Poets Society which sponsors a local open mic venue in Sanger Heights.  Meeting every 2nd & 4th Saturday at the Art Forum of Waco Nuestra Voz Open Mic invites community to share poems, songs, stories, spoken-word, and other creative expressions!  In 2015, Jenuine along with a number of other artists creating and residing in Waco, co-founded the Central Texas Artist Collective (click link to learn more and get involved).  You can contact her at: jenuinepoetess@gmail.com.