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Who we are, Where we live Writing Workshops

Facilitator: Cindy Washabaugh

Who I am, Where I live/Who we are, Where we live

Magnolia Clubhouse, Cleveland, Ohio


Community: The Collinwood Neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio This is a multi-faceted program focused on giving voice to both the individual and community identities of residents of the ethnically and racially diverse Collinwood neighborhood on Cleveland’s near east side, where rapid change is now ensuing.

Collinwood History and Rationale for Targeting a Therapeutic Arts Program in this Community

Purpose and Goals

It is thus incredibly important to reach out and reach into this group using the power of poetry to create a context for sharing uniqueness as well as creating a sense of shared identity. A community this long in flux is in need of support: those who have experienced the loss that comes with decline and dissolution as well as those who seek the haven that a new community can ultimately offer need to be grounded, healed, and welcomed to come together. This project provides:

  • Series of 6 two-hour Writing Workshops targeted to attract all members of the community.

  • A culminating 4-hour Artists’ Workshop co-facilitated by a resident visual artist to help participants create graphic representations (“visual poems”) individually and as a group, of their written work.

  • An anthology of student poems and writings.

  • A final community reading event, held at the Arts Collinwood Gallery, where the “visual poems” will be displayed, anthologies will be distributed to participants (and sold to other interested parties) and participants will share their work with other community residents.

Overview of Who we are, Where we live Writing Workshops

Residents will gather at local organizations like Waterloo Arts, The Collinwood Recreation Center and The Slovenian Workmen’s Home, to create poems or other short pieces of creative writing that articulate who they are as unique individuals and to describe their homes and/or neighborhood. Poems of place and identity will be used by the facilitator as springboards for writing and discussion throughout the workshop series. Some questions for writing and discussion might be:

  • The objects we live with can tell much about us—what are some things in your home or room that speak to who you are? Where you’re from?

  • If you left a record of your life for someone 35 years in the future, what are some things you’d like them to know about your life and your home, that are important to who you are?

  • Describe a place that you enjoy visiting in your community. What makes it special to you?

The intentions of these workshops and the program itself are:

  • To deepen a sense of community among diverse residents through workshops and other communal program components.

  • To create a collaborative, language-driven, visual representation of community identity for the Collinwood neighborhood.

  • To connect participants with the intense, distilled language of poetry and provide opportunities for them to understand and integrate its power into their day-to-day lives.

This project will have many facets, drawing together diverse constituents of a diverse neighborhood, and will serve as a vehicle for further understanding of the continually developing identity of this rich and growing community.

Who we are, Where we live Writing Workshops
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