By Megan Alvarez
Saturday, April 1 marks the installation of the month long creative placemaking project “Walk, Read, and Write.”
Designed as a walking gallery, Walk, Read, and Write is placing large-scale visual interpretations of nine pieces of literary work by Allegany County authors in various window displays throughout the surrounding Frostburg campus and community.
“The whole purpose of it, essentially, is to make space for public art in Frostburg and also to acknowledge that public art doesn’t just have to be visual art. It can also be literary art,” says Jennifer Browne, Director of The Center for Literary Arts.
The visual interpretations were created by Susan Dodge’s graphic design students at Frostburg State University. Browne describes, “Several students worked with the same poem, so they could choose whichever one was resonate for them. We might have had for one poem seven or eight different interpretations of it, but we are just doing one of the large print for each work, but then we have secondary or tertiary interpretations of it that we are going to put up through the month.”
With the two furthest installations being no more than a about mile apart, Browne explains, “people can walk from one to the next and read the work, look at the visual art, and, in some way, respond to it.”
If someone feels inclined to respond to a piece, they can do so using designated hashtags on social media. The hashtag for each piece begins with #CLA, for Center for Literary Arts, and ends with the last name of the author. So, if someone happens to be in front of The Center for Literary Arts and wishes to respond to the excerpt from Brad Barkley’s story Jars of Glass, he or she can do so using the hashtag #CLABARKLEY.
Browne elaborated by saying, “I’ve talked to all the authors and they are actually willing to look at what people write and then maybe they will curate some of their responses into the window as well.”
Continuing with the example from Jars of Glass, Browne explains, “if someone wrote something in response to that piece of prose, Brad might look at it and say, ‘oh, that’s really kind of interesting. I’m gonna put this in the window, but I’m also going to write something in reply,’” she chuckles, “so it would give people a reason to loop back by and to see if something else has been added to the window.”
Although the inception of this project stemmed from a conversation between Browne and Kit Pepper, owner of the new business, “Sadie’s,” the project itself was made possible by a Creative Placemaking Grant from The Allegany Arts Council: “she and I had coffee and we were talking about open windows in Frostburg and she threw out the rough working version of this project and then she and I worked together to write the grant for the Arts Council,” commented Browne.
With the hopes of this project being an annual event, Browne adds, “it is a way of getting literary work to people who aren’t necessarily seeking it out.”
The installations will be up through the month of April. Any questions or concerns can be directed to Jennifer Browne at The Center for Literary Arts located at 22 East Main Street in Frostburg.
“The Old Porter Farm” by Ryan Olsen #CLAOLSEN | At the Train Depot
“Love, When it Wounds Again” by Brittany Tabler #CLATABLER | Between Sadie’s and Absolom’s
“After the First Dog” by Nina Forsythe #CLAFORSYTHE | Frostburg Public Library
“The Boxer” by Jody Walker #CLAWALKER | Next to the Frostburg Palace Theatre
Excerpt from Jars of Glass by Brad Barkley #CLABARKLEY | Center for Literary Arts
“Bed Time” by Maggie Pratt #CLAPRATT | Dante’s Bar and Kitchen
“On Roatan” by Patricia Henley #CLAHENLEY | SHiFT Farm-to-Table Eatery
“When Are You Coming Back?” by Jonathan Treece #CLATREECE | Ort Library at FSU
“Lines” by Anthony M. Tagliaferro #CLATAGLIAFERRO | Performing Arts Center FSU