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Writing OFF the Walls: Creativity in the age of CoVID

‘Writing the Walls’ started 15 years ago when Artistic Director Mara Mills, Studio Theater in Exile, Livia Straus, co-founder Hudson Valley MOCA, and Jo-Ann Brody, HVMOCA staff, decided to enhance the museum exhibitions by inviting poets and playwrights to contribute original works reflective of their interaction with the art. Accepted poems are hung next to the artwork that inspired the written word, visitors to the museum having a chance to see the dialogue between art and word.

Usually there has been a culminating performance, a day at HVMOCA where, moving from art-work to art work, the poets read their works in front of their particular chosen work of art as the audience walks from piece to piece, gaining new insight, energizing the space.

This past year the live performance did not happen. With the pandemic at its height, we took to the waves, posting the 2020 poetry catalogue on-line and offering audio/visuals of the poets  reading their works relating to the 2020 exhibition ‘How We Live’. The ability to hear the poems in the poets’ own voices as often as one would like, the art works as their backdrops, has been a positive result of adapting to the requirements of COVID.

With pandemic strictures still in place, we are launching Writing Off the Walls, an on-line Visual Art and Word event, offering writers a chance to interact with the art works in ‘How We Live: Part II’. While the initial exhibition featured sculpture and video, two-dimensional works have been added, works that speak to challenges we daily face. Writers are to focus on the works new to the exhibition, though dialogue can reference the original sculptures and videos as well.

Beginning May 1, we invite poets and writers to submit works for one or two voices inspired by the art in How We Live: Part II. Works of art incorporated into ‘How We Live: Part II’ can be viewed along with background information on the artists on hudsonvalleymoca.org/current exhibitions as well as in a video walk through of the exhibition or link thru the StudioTheater in Exile website.

June 15: Submission deadline for poems and monologues. A committee of writers, artists, and poets, who will not be submitting works for consideration, will choose work for inclusion. All works are read anonymously.

Click here for link to Artists’ bios and images.

June 25 Notifications of acceptance are sent to all writers.
July 24, 2021: Selected poems/prose/plays are framed and placed on the walls near the work that served as inspiration. The poetry will also be posted as an on-line catalogue at  hudsonvalleymoca.org and Studio Theatre in Exile’s website.

TBA (COVID dependent): Date for live readings and walk through the exhibition. Date is COVID dependent. Depending on the number of submissions, we will schedule 1 or 2 days for the reading and reception.

Hope you will join us for Writing Off the Walls: Creativity in the Age of CoVID
Mara, Livia, and Jo-Ann

Image Credit:Bodoni, Bodoni, Blue Uniform (Tito), 2010; Moris (Israel Meza Moreno), El Dueno de todo, 2020