Tag Archives: Tacoma Poet Laureate

Tacoma’s next Poet Laureate is…

13 Apr

2017-2019 Tacoma Poet Laureate Kellie Richardson. Photo by Israel Perez.

The Tacoma Arts Commission has announced the selection of Kellie Richardson as Tacoma’s 2017-2019 Poet Laureate.

Over the next two years, Richardson will participate in and host public poetry readings, workshops and other community events. She will also participate in Tacoma Arts Month each October, and help produce the 2019 Tacoma Poet Laureate Ceremony to announce the next Poet Laureate.

“As Poet Laureate, my priority will be to support the creation of bold spaces that mirror our citizenry,” said Richardson. “I strongly believe in the power of storytelling as a means of healing and, ultimately, a way in which individuals and community find resolution despite trauma, and common ground among bitter rivals.”

As a wrap-up of National Poetry Month, the Tacoma Arts Commission and Tacoma’s current Poet Laureate, Cathy Nguyễn, will host Pass the Torch, a poetry and music event at which Richardson will officially be awarded the title. The free, public event will be held April 29, from 5 – 8 p.m., at the Tacoma Community College Auditorium (Building 2, accessed from South 12th Street and Whitman Street). Free parking is available in Lot G off South 12th Street.

Light refreshments are available from 5 – 6 p.m., with an opportunity for attendees to participate in a hands-on project led by artist Saiyare Refaei. Attendees can also record a poem for inclusion in the Laureate Listening Project reflecting on the personal importance of a particular place in Tacoma. Limited recording spots are available, and can be reserved through Naomi Strom-Avila at (253) 591-5191 or nstrom-avila@cityoftacoma.org.

The main program begins at 6 p.m. and will feature poets Richardson, Nguyễn, Miriam McBride, PaQ’Jon Dickerson, Marquis McCrary, Marcel Augustin, and Baiyinnah Muhammad. These poets will be joined by DJ Smokey Wonder.

The Tacoma Poet Laureate program is sponsored by Click! Cable TV. Pass the Torch is sponsored by Tacoma Community College’s Office of Student Engagement.

Another free, public event focusing on poetry in Tacoma, the Louder Than a Bomb Tacoma Teen Poetry Slam, takes place at 2 p.m. that same day at the Tacoma Community College Student Center (Building 11).

About Kellie Richardson

2017-2019 Tacoma Poet Laureate Kellie Richardson. Photo by Israel Perez.

Kellie Richardson is a writer, artist and educator born and raised in Tacoma, Wash.  Her work explores the intersection of race, class and gender with specific emphasis on themes of love, loss and longing. She employs both classical poetic forms as well as contemporary mediums such as spoken word. Her work is provocative yet accessible, powerful yet vulnerable. In addition to publishing original work, she created the blog, Brown Betty, in 2012. Brown Betty exists to provide armor and inspiration for real life; a place where commerce and community intersect to cultivate healing. The blog explores the complexities of navigating the human experience, and calls its readers to continue to be inspired to endure and overcome barriers to their happiness.

Richardson is particularly inspired and called to explore the experiences of women of color, and the intersectionality of identities. In addition to teaching courses at Pacific Lutheran University, she has provided poetry and writing workshops to students from Bryant Montessori to Tacoma Community College. She has performed pieces for the Tacoma Art Museum, The People’s Assembly, University of Washington Tacoma, Drunken Telegraph, The Tacoma Round, COLORED2017, and many others.

Richardson’s relationship with Tacoma is defined by transitions and metamorphosis as she has moved from student to professor, child to parent, and, the most critical progression, from onlooker to loving actor. She enters this process as a loving actor looking to continue to give to Tacoma through poetry and the gift of storytelling. As Poet Laureate, she will persist in her desire to ensure literary arts are both accessible to, and representative of, the diversity in Tacoma.

We’re on the search for the next Tacoma Poet Laureate

10 Jan
2015-2017 Tacoma Poet Laureate Cathy Nguyen performs at B Sharp.

2015-2017 Tacoma Poet Laureate Cathy Nguyen performs at B Sharp.

Call to Artists for 2017-2019 Tacoma Poet Laureate

Application Deadline: February 27, 2017, 11:59 PM

Stipend: $4,000

Eligibility:

  • Must live in Pierce County and be actively engaged in Tacoma’s creative community
  • Practicing artist, dedicated to producing poetry (in any form, genre, or style) on a regular basis
  • 18 years or older
  • Not a previous Tacoma Poet Laureate title holder
  • Not a current Tacoma Arts Commission member, City Council member, City of Tacoma staff member, or Tacoma Poet Laureate selection panel member

Opportunity

The Tacoma Arts Commission announces the seventh annual Tacoma Poet Laureate competition, the winner of which will be named Tacoma Poet Laureate for 2017-2019.

The Tacoma Poet Laureate will hold the title for a period of two years, from May 2017 to April 2019, and receive a stipend of $4,000. The individual will actively contribute to and advance Tacoma’s literary community in meaningful ways through readings, performances, workshops, presentations, publications and/or special projects; participate in Tacoma Arts Month each October; and help produce the 2019 Tacoma Poet Laureate ceremony to announce the next Poet Laureate.

In keeping with the City of Tacoma’s Equity and Empowerment Initiative, the Tacoma Poet Laureate should actively strive to engage the breadth of Tacoma’s citizenry, expanding access to the literary arts to underserved/underrepresented audiences including people of different races/ethnicities, ages, sexual orientation and identity, ability, and income.

People who are members of historically disenfranchised racial, ethnic, cultural, and other identity groups are encouraged to apply.

Current Tacoma Poet Laureate Cathy Nguyen will curate and host a poetry event at which the winner of this year’s Poet Laureate competition will be awarded. The event is will be held on Saturday, April 29, 6 PM. The event location will be announced.

Duties

The artist selected as Tacoma Poet Laureate must be willing and able to:

  • Offer a minimum of two free public workshops in Tacoma each year relating to poetry (four workshops total.)
  • Actively contribute to and advance Tacoma’s literary community in meaningful ways through readings, performances, workshops, presentations, publications, special projects, etc. as negotiated with the City’s Arts Program staff.
  • Participate in Tacoma Arts Month programming each October.
  • Competently handle administrative duties including being the point of contact for all programming inquiries from the public, managing a schedule, arranging details for programs, and coordinating press releases with City’s Arts Program staff.
  • Help produce, with the assistance of the City of Tacoma’s Arts Program, an event in Tacoma in April 2019 to announce the winner of the 2019-2021 Tacoma Poet Laureate program.

How to Apply

Visit www.cityoftacoma.org/artsopps for all the details and apply at https://tacomaarts.submittable.com/submit.

Questions?

Contact Naomi Strom-Avila at nstrom-avila@cityoftacoma.org or (253) 591-5191.

True Grit

28 Oct

True Grit FLYERPresented by Tacoma Poet Laureate, Cathy Nguyen, and Associated Ministries intake specialist, Raphael Hartman, you are invited to True Grit, a dynamic evening of art and conversation.

Date: Thursday, November 19
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Washington State History Museum, 1911 Pacific Avenue
Cost: Free, donations accepted

True Grit is an art benefit show that will capture the stories of six youth from the greater Puget Sound area and exhibit honest photography of local, makeshift spaces of refuge for youth on the streets. Through documentary and poetry, True Grit will explore the stories of Tacoma and Seattle youth and young adults who have experienced homelessness and will host a diverse panel of youth, advocates, and service providers to dialogue around the ways in which Pierce County can support youth and young adults in housing, education, and self-actualization.

The event is free and open to the public. Donations will be collected at the event and will be given to a local organization, to be revealed on the evening of the show and which will be selected by our youth interviewees. Don’t miss out on a powerful experience where advocates and community members can envision a world where all youth have safe, supportive housing and opportunities to succeed.

True Grit is supported through sponsorship by and partnership with the Tacoma Arts Commission, the Washington State History Museum, and Pacific Lutheran University.

Announcing Tacoma’s next Poet Laureate…

15 Apr Cathy Nguyen

The Tacoma Arts Commission is pleased to announce the selection of Cathy Nguyen as Tacoma’s 2015-2017 Poet Laureate.

Over the next two years, Nguyen will participate in and host public poetry readings, workshops and other community events. She will also participate in Tacoma Arts Month each October, and help produce the 2017 Tacoma Poet Laureate Ceremony to announce the next Poet Laureate.

“The Poet Laureate is an artist and activist who works both to amplify the literary voices of underrepresented community members and to enhance the shared written and oral narratives of the Tacoma community,” said Nguyen. “It’s necessary to me that social justice and equity are at the center of all that I do and create which, in the community context, means raising social consciousness, building civic advocacy, and engaging community members in shared learning and teaching through poetry and other forms of creative expression.”

As a wrap-up of National Poetry Month, the Tacoma Arts Commission and Tacoma’s current Poet Laureate, Lucas Smiraldo, will host a poetry and music event at which Nguyen will officially be awarded the title. The free, public event will be held Friday, May 1, from 6 – 8:30 p. m. at B Sharp Coffee House (706 Court C in downtown Tacoma). Featured poets will include Nguyen, Smiraldo, 2011-2013 Tacoma Poet Laureate Josie Emmons Turner, 2010-2011 Tacoma Poet Laureate Tammy Robacker, 2009-2010 Tacoma Poet Laureate Antonio Edwards, Jr., and 2008-2009 Tacoma Poet Laureate William Kupinse. These poets and others will be joined by musicians Terry O’Hara and Bronson Bragg, vocalist Kathryn Burke, and there will be music compositions by Gregory Youtz.

Cathy Nguyen is an “artivist” who seeks to promote social equity and youth leadership through creative expression and community organization. A resident of Tacoma since 2010, Nguyen has worked to infuse the arts in a variety of human service and grassroots contexts.

In 2012, Nguyen created and coordinated “The RIOT”, a first-ever teen poetry/hip-hop program at STAR Center. In the years that followed, Nguyen worked to draw on and capture the voices of queer youth and young adults through a variety of arts, violence prevention, and leadership development programming at Oasis Youth Center. Currently, Nguyen integrates creative expression with youth and community development as a teen support group facilitator at BRIDGES, a center for grieving youth and their families, and as an organizer of Tacoma Stands Up, a grassroots initiative calling for an end to police brutality and social injustice through peaceful organization, where she has led Tacoma-wide rallies and arts events focused on community-building and social justice advocacy.

Fourth episode of Tacoma’s own ‘artTown’ TV show now available

31 Mar
Stan Shaw and Michael Sullivan discuss Samuel Dashiell Hammett’s The Flitcraft Parable

Stan Shaw and Michael Sullivan discuss Samuel Dashiell Hammett’s The Flitcraft Parable

The City of Tacoma’s Media and Communications Office – in partnership with its Community and Economic Development Department’s Arts Program – has begun airing a new episode of “artTown,” a cultural documentary-style TV initiative exploring Tacoma’s emergence as a major creative hub in the Pacific Northwest.

Tacoma Symphony Orchestra music director Sarah Ioannides

Tacoma Symphony Orchestra music director Sarah Ioannides

In this episode:

  • Get to know music director Sarah Ioannides and learn how her past experience is influencing her work with the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra
  • Tacoma Poet Laureate Lucas Smiraldo explores our history and future at the Chinese Reconciliation Park
  • Historian Michael Sullivan and graphic artist Stan Shaw take an in-depth look at Samuel Dashiell Hammett’s The Flitcraft Parable and how it was influenced by Hammett’s time in Tacoma
  • Pianist Kim Davenport finds inspiration and contemplation at Thea’s Park
  • The 6th Avenue Yarn Bomber, Russell Valentine, Gwen Demarest, and Roberta Lowes give us a humorous look at knitting culture in Tacoma
Stan Shaw illustrates Samuel Dashiell Hammett’s The Flitcraft Parable

Stan Shaw illustrates Samuel Dashiell Hammett’s The Flitcraft Parable

Launched in October 2013, the series features diverse perspectives on a variety of creative disciplines. Offering a more holistic look at creativity in Tacoma, “artTown” stretches beyond what people might traditionally think of as “creative” – such as fine art, music or dance – to spotlight other creative areas of interest that have flourished in Tacoma like food, fashion, innovative education practices, architecture and more.

Online viewing:

Watch “artTown” anytime at cityoftacoma.org/artTown.

Tacoma Poet Laureate Lucas Smiraldo at the Chinese Reconciliation Park

Tacoma Poet Laureate Lucas Smiraldo at the Chinese Reconciliation Park

TV Tacoma air times:

Mondays at noon
Tuesdays at 1 a.m.
Wednesdays at 8 a.m.
Thursdays at 6 p.m.
Fridays at 8 p.m.
Saturdays at 5 p.m.
Sundays at 5 a.m.

TV Tacoma is aired on both the Click! and Comcast Cable systems. On Click!, TV Tacoma can be seen on Channel 12 within Tacoma City limits and in Pierce County, with the exception of University Place, where TV Tacoma can be found on Channel 21. On Comcast, TV Tacoma can be seen on Channel 12 within Tacoma city limits and on Channel 21 in Pierce County. TV Tacoma is not on the Comcast system in University Place, but is accessible anywhere on the Internet at tvtacoma.com.

Future episodes will be produced in part based on some of the audience feedback culled via social media, email at maria.lee@cityoftacoma.org or phone at (253) 591-2054.

Will you be the next Tacoma Poet Laureate?

21 Jan

The Tacoma Arts Commission is now accepting applications for the sixth annual Tacoma Poet Laureate program. The application deadline is 5 p.m. on Monday, March 2, 2015.

The individual selected as Tacoma Poet Laureate will hold the title for two years – from May 2015 to April 2017 – and receive a $2,000 stipend for advancing and actively contributing to Tacoma’s literary community in meaningful ways through readings, performances, workshops, presentations, publications and/or special projects. This individual will also participate in Tacoma Arts Month each October and help produce the 2017 Tacoma Poet Laureate ceremony announcing the next Tacoma Poet Laureate.

“The Tacoma Poet Laureate program showcases local talent and provides access to the literary arts throughout our city and beyond,” said Tacoma Arts Administrator Amy McBride. “We are excited to see how the next poet laureate continues to engage the diversity of Tacoma’s citizenry.”

Eligibility extends to literary artists who live in Pierce County and are actively engaged in Tacoma’s creative community. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and practicing artists, dedicated to producing poetry in any form, genre or style on a regular basis. Other eligibility requirements apply.

Applicants are encouraged to attend a free workshop on Wednesday, Feb. 11, 5:30 – 7 p.m., at the Tacoma Municipal Building (747 Market St., 9th floor, Visibility Center). The workshop will address questions about the application and selection process. Current poet laureate Lucas Smiraldo and former poet laureates Josie Emmons Turner and William Kupinse will talk about their experiences and how they each addressed the community engagement aspect of the position. Attendees are encouraged, but not required, to bring a piece of their own poetry to share at the end of the workshop.

The Tacoma Arts Commission and Smiraldo will host a poetry event at which the winner of this year’s Poet Laureate competition will officially be awarded the title. The free, public event will be held Friday, May 1, from 6 – 8:30 p. m. at the B Sharp Coffee House (706 Court C in downtown Tacoma).

The application and information about the Tacoma Poet Laureate program, which was founded in 2008 by Urban Grace Church and transitioned to the City of Tacoma’s Arts Program in 2011, are available at cityoftacoma.org/poet.

Introducing the ‘Laureate Listening Project’

24 Jul
Tacoma Poet Laureate Lucas Smiraldo. Photo by Jesse Michener

Tacoma Poet Laureate Lucas Smiraldo. Photo by Jesse Michener

Tacoma Poet Laureate Lucas Smiraldo has partnered with the City of Tacoma and The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation to launch the Laureate Listening Project, an interactive audio anthology website where recorded oral poetry from members of the region will be mapped to provide a permanent record of the lives, ideas, concerns, and celebrations of a diverse community through the vehicle of poetry.

Endangered Languages and Cultural Heritage audio map.

Endangered Languages and Cultural Heritage audio map.

Are you curious about what an ‘interactive audio anthology website’ looks like? Here’s an example of a similar audio mapping website that highlights endangered languages around the world.

Smiraldo will work with various nonprofit and cultural organizations to encourage people from of all backgrounds to share their poetry about places and spaces in Tacoma and around the world. Audio recordings of these poems, centered on the “spirit of place” theme, will be edited and placed on a Google map website so users can search by a particular poet or location and listen to work inspired by the site. Some recordings will be accompanied by soundscapes and music created by composers and sound artists.

Individuals who are interested in sharing their short spoken works can contact Smiraldo at vanillasoul@clear.net for further information and to schedule a recording session.

Smiraldo is also leading a team of poets as an artist in residence for the Race and Pedagogy National Conference at the University of Puget Sound this September. Poets and other artists will function as creative journalists to document ideas, challenges and solutions to address the topic of education in a dynamic and changing America. He plans to include audio pieces collected from conference participants in the Laureate Listening Project.

Funding for the Laureate Listening Project is made possible by a Spark Grant from The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation. Mapping capability is made possible by the City of Tacoma. The Tacoma Poet Laureate position is appointed and administered by the Tacoma Arts Commission. Information about the Tacoma Poet Laureate program is available on the Tacoma Arts Commission website.

PrintThe Greater Tacoma Community Foundation was created to help build a stronger future for the Pierce County region. For over 33 years, the Community Foundation has partnered with generous individuals, families, community leaders, nonprofit organizations and others to strengthen the community through powerful and rewarding giving. Building a thriving, engaged, and caring community is central to its mission. In 2013, the Spark Grants program was launched to provide $1,500 micro-grants to support everyday people who want to spark positive change in their neighborhood. More information is available at gtcf.org/sparkgrants.

There’s a new poet laureate in town

12 Apr

 

The Tacoma Arts Commission is pleased to announce the selection of Lucas Smiraldo as Tacoma’s 2013-2015 poet laureate.

Over the next two years, Smiraldo will participate in and host public poetry readings, workshops and other community events. He will also participate in Art at Work: Tacoma Arts Month each November, and will help produce the 2015 Tacoma Poet Laureate Ceremony to announce the next poet laureate.

Lucas Smiraldo performs at the Art Slam. Photo by Jason Ganwich.

Lucas Smiraldo performs at the Art Slam. Photo by Jason Ganwich.

“My Tacoma experience has introduced me to a marvelous, rich community of grassroots, literary, academic, bilingual, hip hop, socially engaged, irreverent and compelling poets and word artisans who often change a room, or a mind, or a point of view with their work,” said Smiraldo. “I want to offer people of wildly divergent backgrounds a chance to savor poetry, write it, exchange it, and share it in community. The past four poet laureates have set an incredibly durable foundation for this honor, and I am deeply grateful to them for their gifts and for establishing such a passionate legacy of service.”

In conjunction with National Poetry Month, the Tacoma Arts Commission and Tacoma’s current poet laureate, Josie Emmons Turner, will host a poetry reading event at which Smiraldo will officially be awarded the title. The free, public event will be held Tuesday, April 23, from 6 – 7:30 p. m. at the Tacoma Public Library’s main branch (1102 Tacoma Ave. S in downtown Tacoma). Featured poets will include Smiraldo, Emmons Turner, Tammy Robacker, William Kupinse, and Michael Magee.

Smiraldo is a Pacific Northwest writer, performing poet and twelve-time produced playwright. His performance credits include opening poet at Def Poetry Jam’s College Tour, featured poet at the National Black Pilot’s Conference, commissioned performances at the Tacoma Art Museum and the Museum of Glass, and featured poet during Seattle’s Hip Hop Awards. He has recently joined forces with master griot and kora player, Foday Musa Suso, to present a unique performance of spoken word, song, and social and political narrative.

Smiraldo received the Tacoma Arts Commission’s Arts Projects funding in 2010 and Tacoma Artists Initiative Program funding in 2008 to create two spoken word projects combining film and music. In 2010, he created an original touring work in affiliation with collaborating writers, entitled “Eleven Days in the Life of Dr. King,” which explored Dr. King’s life through 12 original spoken works put to stage with music and choreography.  Smiraldo recently completed a new touring play with co-writer April Nyquist in affiliation with the Broadway Center titled “The Bridges: A Civil Rights Journey.”

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