Art for Impact: How We Got Here

Planning for our annual Writers Conference began with us thinking about how art impacts our world. We thought about what it means to put our writing into the world, how art transforms our stories and the stories of people we love. We thought about how art creates community; how it fosters relationships, challenges assumptions, and provokes conversations.   

We learned about Patricia Streeper’s work and thought about how she was using her art to educate us all about women who've made unmistakable impacts in history. We know some of the names, like Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Harriet Tubman. But others we might not: Edna Lewis, Makota Fujishiro Huthwaite, Ruth Wilson Gilmore. And the founder of Johnson County Library, Kay Robeson (portrait shown here). 

Then our librarian Helen found the book Creative Acts for Curious People: How to Think, Create, and Lead in Unconventional Ways. This book is full of 2-3 page scenarios and exercises that ask questions, challenge assumptions, and inspire new ways of thinking. We immediately knew we wanted everyone to have this book.  

And then, the rest started to come together: Sarah Stein Greenburg of the Stanford Design School and editor of Curious Acts for Curious People, agreed to join our faculty. So did Anne-Marie Oomen, who just published an award-winning memoir and is currently at work on an ekphrastic project with a renowned artist. So did Brendan Kiely, whose most recent book challenges us to think and act differently.  

Jim Cosgrove, a beloved children's entertainer and author whose first book for adults, Ripple: A Long, Strange Search for A Killer has topped the holds list for months, agreed to teach. So did Jessica ConoleyEthan ZolotarJustin Nogy, and many other talented, passionate writers. We’re so excited to introduce you to each faculty member and presenter, and we’ll be doing so right in this very space. So come back often!