Our new project, Songs & Stories of East Lawrence, celebrates the vibrant mosaic of this neighborhood’s diverse communities, histories, flora and fauna, and stories. Launching in 2020, and funded by a grant from Rebuilding East Ninth Street, our project encompasses a series of writing, singing, and story mapping workshops, plus a Wild East Lawrence walk, collaborative song-writing, publication of an anthology of our stories, and a book launch concert.
About the Project
“Songs & Stories of East Lawrence” draws on creating and holding brave spaces for people to sing together, write their truths, and listen to one another, all geared toward greater unity without diminishing any individual voices. Writing and singing together can help people better hear themselves and witness each other’s most vital stories; such a process can begin to bridge polarized pockets of the community and to heal fractured community identities. Because humans and human settlements are part of ecosystems, our project also incorporates the watersheds of East Lawrence, which give us an ecological window into the land formations, waterways, and other environmental dimensions of this particular place. Participants can better contextualize their own turning points and experiences – in writing, discussions, and getting to know each other – through learning about this place’s ecosystem now and in the past.
How to Participate
The workshops, open to up to 25 people age 10 and up regardless of writing or musical experience, will be held:
- Workshop #1, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Feb. 29, Cider Gallery
- Workshop #2, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Mar. 14, Cider Gallery
- Wild East Lawrence Walk (optional and open to the public) with Ken Lassman, 2-3:30 p.m., April 14, meet by gazebo at South Park
- Concert, reading & book launch 2-4 p.m., May 10, Cider Gallery
Preference will be given to current East Lawrence residents or people with strong ties to the neighborhood. Participants must commit to attend both workshop sessions.
While the workshops are free, pre-registration is required. Please sign up on Eventbrite here. Your free ticket is for both workshops
Additionally, the Rebuilding East Ninth Street resident specialists — the elders of the neighborhood, and other artists funded by the grant are invited to contribute their stories to the anthology. Please be in touch with Caryn at Carynmirriamgoldberg@gmail.com for more information.
While this project is led by Kelley Hunt and Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, we are happy to also include Kim Murphree, Al Berman, and Ken Lassman. Here’s a bit on each of us:
Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate, a long-time educator and community arts facilitator, and the author of over 20 books of fiction, poetry, and memoir. See more here.
Kelley Hunt is an international touring artist with six critically-acclaimed CDs. Both of us have substantial experience in community-based arts projects. See more here.
Kim Murphree, our project assistant, is helped with community outreach and marketing. A mainstay in the local entertainment industry, Kim is a music producer and performer (including being lead singer in The Quake), voice talent for local radio, and an experienced event planner and emcee.
Ken Lassman, who is leading the Wild East Lawrence walk and assisting with book production and mapping our stories, is the author of Wild Douglas County and Seasons & Cycles of the Kansas Area Watershed, and the weekly Kaw Valley Almanac, a website focused on what’s happening in the natural world each week.
We are immensely grateful to all the businesses and organizations that are making this possible:
- Rebuilding East Ninth Street, and its funding partners: ArtPlace, Lawrence Arts Center, and the East Lawrence Neighborhood Association.
- Cider Gallery and Jennifer Burkhead for donating the meeting space for our workshops and book launch concert.
- The Merc Coop for donating lunch and treats for our workshops.