Upcoming Fall Writing Workshops

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Let’s Talk About It: Understanding Race and Culture Through Portraiture and Writing
Wednesday, September 30, 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM EDT
Cost: Free
Register here

Please join the National Portrait Gallery and DC-based writer Willona Sloan as we engage in creative writing exercises designed to encourage meaningful dialogue around topics that include race and cultural identity. Through guided looking of works of portraiture from the collection of the Portrait Gallery we will write to celebrate and affirm diverse perspectives and identities with the goal of fostering community across cultures. This program is intended for writers of all levels who are 18+.

Virtual Teacher Workshop | Portraits Inspiring Student Writing about Current Events
Session I – Strike a Prose for Teachers
Wednesday, September 16, 2020 3:30 — 5:00pm EST
Cost: Free
Register here
Learn teaching strategies while generating new writing of your own in this creative writing workshop. We will use portraits of social justice activists from the Portrait Gallery’s collection as the inspiration for creative writing that explores current political issues, including the ongoing protests for police reform and racial equity. The workshop will include guided nonfiction and poetry writing exercises.

Virtual Teacher Workshop | Session II – Portraits, Pens & Protests
Wednesday, September 23, 2020 3:30 — 5:00pm EST
Cost: Free
Register here
In this workshop, we will share strategies for using portraits to inspire creative writing about current political events. The workshop will include interactive discussion and mini-writing exercises, designed to help you implement these strategies in your classroom. The workshop will build on Session I but may also be taken as an independent workshop.

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Virtual Writing Hour
Tuesdays, 5:00 – 6:00 PM EST
Cost: Free
Register here
I host a weekly, free virtual writing happy hour on Tuesdays. Please join us whenever you can. We look at one work of art that inspires the writing prompt. You can also work on your own writing during the time.  It’s just a fun way to gather in a collective creative space.

 

Virtual Creative Writing Happy Hour

Load up your cheese plate and join me for a virtual, creative writing hour at the National Portrait Gallery!

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Virtual Writing Happy Hour

Bring your own happy hour beverage of choice and write with us at the Virtual Writing Hour at the National Portrait Gallery. Our goal is to create a virtual space where writers can create, connect, and draw inspiration from the Portrait Gallery’s online exhibitions. We will provide writing prompts, and you are also welcome to bring your own writing project-in-progress. We will write for about 30 minutes and end each session with a brief discussion or reading.

The happy hours will be held on Tuesdays at 5:00 PM, beginning on Tuesday, April 21.  Choose the date you wish to join us. Register here.

Creative Writing Prompt Newsletter

I hope you are well. I am planning to start a weekly newsletter with creative writing prompts for adults and children for the next couple of months, with the goal of inspiring creative writing, reducing anxiety, and providing a little joy! It will also help me to alleviate some of my own anxiousness.

If you want in, please send me your email address at creativegeniusdc@gmail.com or you can send me a DM. If you are already on my mailing list, please email me to let me know that you would like to receive this newsletter.

Take care,
-W

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Strike A Prose Adult Series – Postponed

Who Am I and Who Are We? (creative nonfiction)
This is workshop has been postponed. New date TBD.

What does it mean to be “American” in 2020? In this creative nonfiction workshop, you will draw inspiration from Outwin 2019: American Portraiture Today, which features 50 artists responding to the current political and social context in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. We will employ techniques from fiction and nonfiction writing to explore issues of identity, self-representation, and connectedness, as we tackle exhibition themes such as immigration, race, sexuality, violence, community, and family.


Strike A Prose: Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
This is workshop has been postponed. New date TBD.

In this creative writing workshop, you will develop flash fiction inspired by the short videos in Outwin 2019: American Portraiture Today, which features 50 artists responding to the current political and social context in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. We will watch and discuss videos featured in the exhibition, and practice writing characters, setting, conflict, and action for flash fiction stories that grab readers’ attention.

Strike A Prose: Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
This is workshop has been postponed. New date TBD.

In this poetry writing workshop, you will draw inspiration from Outwin 2019: American Portraiture Today, which features 50 artists responding to the current political and social context in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. We will discuss how to use works of art to inspire your writing; how to experiment with voice, rhythm, and form; and how to develop poems that communicate a social message, connect with readers, and tell a compelling story.

video: Hugo Crosthwaite, A Portrait of Berenice Sarmiento Chávez

Sip & Write on Tuesday, March 10

Date: Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Time: 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Location: Capitol Cider House, 3930 Georgia Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20011
Cost: $25
Register here

Sip on cider and write!

Ernest Hemingway’s daily writing goal was to start by writing “one true sentence.” In this writing workshop, you will practice writing fearlessly, taking risks, and digging for your own version of truth. Open to writers of all levels. Writing prompts will be provided. You will walk away with three new pieces of writing and some new writing buddies.

Your ticket also includes one pour of cider.

Vision Board Workshop

I had the distinct honor to host a vision board workshop at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art. It was a really beautiful and positive experience for me. Such great creative energy in the room!

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Vision Board Workshop 2

Vision Board Workshop 4

Vision Board Workshop on Jan 18

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Come create your vision for 2020! View and discuss works of art, creative writing, and art making as writer and literary host Willona Sloan leads participants in the creation of vision boards that reflect their personal visions for the future and their visions for the future of Africa.

Date: Saturday, January 18, 2020
Time: 1:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Location: Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, 950 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20560
Cost: FREE
Register here.

Sip & Write at Capitol Cider House on Sept. 17

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Sip on cider and write! In this fun creative writing workshop, we will “write the city” as we celebrate the sights, sounds, tastes and textures of Washington, D.C. You will learn techniques for writing a city as a character as you explore your own experiences in the nation’s capital. You will walk away with three new pieces of writing and some new writing buddies.

Your ticket also includes one pour of cider! Doors open at 6pm. Limited seating available. Full food and drink menus will also be available for purchase.

Date: Tuesday, September 17, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Location: Capitol Cider House, 3930 Georgia Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20011
Cost: $25
Register here.

 

Interview with Arts Territory Exchange

In this interview for the Arts Territory Exchange blog, I discuss art, climate change and my curatorial process for Black Coffee & Vinyl Presents: Ice Culture. Check it out!

Ice Culture : Interview with Willona Sloan
July 22, 2019

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Willona Sloan, curator & managing editor for Black Coffee & Vinyl Presents: Ice Culture. Interview with Gudrun Filipska. 

Firstly, I really enjoyed the ICE CULTURE project and the publication. Have you always had an interest in the polar regions? What instigated the project?

Thank you so much! I have not always had an interest in the polar regions, and my interest in the topic came about only a few years ago. I live in Washington, DC, which does have snow and cold winters, but every year I become extremely upset by cold weather. It wasn’t until I did an artist residency in the Canadian Rockies at the Banff Centre for the Arts that I became remotely interested in the topic. I went in 2013, and then did a second residency there in 2014. That second time, I decided to take a day trip to the Athabasca Glacier, which is part of the Columbia Icefield in the Canadian Rockies.

That trip blew my mind, because I had never been interested in glaciers before and I became mildly obsessed with them afterwards. I visited Iceland, and did some traveling around, and again I visited a glacier. After that, I was officially hooked on the idea of doing some sort of art project related to climate change, and specifically how it affects glaciers.

For the past couple of years, I had been sort of trying to figure out how to make the project work as an idea, but when I landed on the theme of “culture,” it started to make sense for me and I got really excited. The project wasn’t about climate change science, but rather people and culture. People are connected to places, and their cultures are informed by these places.

It started as a question: What would happen to the people and places connected to ice if the ice were to melt?

I really wanted to expand the discussion of climate change as a data-driven conversation or a political conversation. It’s also a personal narrative. I felt that offering narratives that are both informative and creative could be a good way to engage people in these serious environmental issues that affect all of us, regardless of where we live.

Ultimately, I plan to tackle three additional themes with the project, Black Coffee & Vinyl Presents. The next one will be the theme of “city.”

Read the full interview here.