UNION — What are the memories, stories and traditions that make our community home? What landmarks, customs, sights and sounds connect us with family, friends and neighbors, while highlighting our unique experience and identity? Sometimes, you’ve just got to write it down.
The Union County Carnegie Library, 318 East South Street, Union, will host the “Communal Pen” Writing Workshop this Saturday (October 6) from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. The workshop is being held in conjunction with the Smithson Museum’s “Museum on Main Street” traveling exhibition “Crossroads: Change in Rural America” which is currently on display at the library. The exhibit, which will be at the library through October 21, explores how how rural American communities changed in the 20th century, and examines how America’s small towns continue to creatively focus on new opportunities for growth and development.
A press release announcing the workshop, states that in” the Communal Pen workshop, we will write to celebrate and explore our connections to place and community. Often, it is in our written words that memory lives. The writing process can itself help us to awaken and preserve thoughts and traditions, offering insight, understanding and respect to present and future generations. This three-hour writing workshop draws inspiration from the Smithsonian exhibit Crossroads: Change in Rural America as a springboard for igniting our own stories, giving voice to our shared and individual experience of place.”
The press release states that the workshop “is offered by the South Carolina Arts Commission, in partnership with the South Carolina Humanities Council, in conjunction with the traveling Smithsonian exhibition, Crossroads: Change in Rural America. Crossroads is presented through the Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program as part of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. MoMS provides access to the Smithsonian for small-town America through museum exhibitions, research, educational resources, and programming. Communal Pen is developed through the SC Arts Commission’s place-based initiative, the Art of Community: Rural SC, a new framework for engagement, learning, and action in rural communities. The writing workshops are coordinated through the SCAC’s Folklife & Traditional Arts and Community Arts Development programs, with generous support from the SC Humanities Council.”
It states that “no previous experience necessary! We invite participants to view the exhibit before the workshop, and to pay special attention to those images and ideas that are most relatable you. On the day of the workshop, please bring a photo and/or object that has special meaning for you. This item will be used during a writing exercise. “
Who We Are
The press release also provides the following information on the members of Communal Pen.
Communal Pen coordinator Laura Marcus Green is Folklife & Traditional Arts Program Director at the South Carolina Arts Commission, where she manages several grant and award programs, and at the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum, where she develops programming in conjunction with folklife exhibitions. She holds a Ph.D. in Folklore from Indiana University and an M.A. in Folklore/Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. Selected prior positions include Community Engagement Coordinator for the Museum of International Folk Art’s Gallery of Conscience, and work as a folklife field-worker and researcher, writer, curator and consultant for the Louisiana Division of the Arts Folklife Program, the South Carolina Arts Commission, the Iowa Arts Council, New Mexico Arts, and the Idaho Commission on the Arts, among others.
Deeply rooted in South Carolina, Communal Pen co-facilitator, Eboni Ramm fell in love with the arts at a young age and was encouraged throughout her youth to express herself. Today, she is a gifted vocalist known for her special blend of timeless jazz classics with a pinch of poetry. Ramm resides in Columbia, South Carolina where she conducts jazz poetry workshops in schools, libraries, and various learning centers. She serves her community as Richland County Library’s Literary Resident and as a teaching artist with ARTS ACCESS South Carolina and Youth Corps. She is a featured musician on SC-ETV’s education web portal, knowitall.org. Her publication Within His Star: The Story of Levi Pearson celebrates the ancestor who added strength to the unprecedented Brown vs. The Board of Education case. Learn more at www.EboniRamm.com.
Communal Pen co-facilitator Michelle Ross is a folklorist and adjunct faculty in anthropology at the University of South Carolina Sumter. She holds an M.A. from the Folk Studies and Anthropology Department at Western Kentucky University. Ross embraces stories of all kinds. She helped establish the SC Center for Oral Narrative, through which she has co-created several writing workshops. Ross also works with the Mothers of Angels in telling and writing about grief from the death of a child, and has worked with veterans in telling and writing their stories. Her work has been published in The North Carolina Folklore Journal and an anthology of mother-in-law essays titled His Mother!; her poetry has appeared in Sandhill and The Petigru Review. For the past five years, she has been working on telling her Pontian Greek family’s refugee story, her most important project to date.
Communal Pen is free and open to the public. Please register online at: https://schumanities.org/projects/crossroads-change-in-rural-america/communalpen/ or by calling 803-771-2477, to reserve your spot.
Space is limited; registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
Walk-in registration is welcome, as space permits.
For more information about the Communal Pen Writing Workshop, the Crossroads: Change in Rural America exhibit, and the services and programs of the Union County Carnegie Library call 864-427-7140.