ENGAGEMENT

Writing Across Borders: Akron Opening

Akron, OH

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TRAVELING STANZAS IN AKRON, OHIO

Over three hundred people visited the opening of the Traveling Stanzas: Writing Across Borders exhibit at Summit ArtSpace. Poets and designers mingled with members of the Akron and Kent State University communities and shared their experiences in Traveling Stanzas workshops. Visitors shared in the power that poetry has to create intimate and inclusive spaces for all to tell their stories. 

Opening Reception

Visitors learned about the vibrant North Hill community, heard poems from Akron’s newcomers, contributed to a community poem, and wrote their own poems using texts about immigrant and refugee experiences. 

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Participatory Poetry

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emerge poems created

Visitors to the exhibit created Emerge poems out of texts that allowed them to reflect on and create meaning out of the Writing Across Borders exhibit, such as “The Chatpattey Room: Refugees Creating a Home—and a Business—in the Rust Belt” by Kailey Sherrick, and “From Until the Fulcrum Tips: A Conversation with Rita Dove and Jericho Brown.”

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thread community poems

Visitors to the exhibit participated in creating two Thread community poems: “My Voice” and “Akron.” Read the poems by vising the Thread community poem page below.

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Desman Tucker, a young poet participating in workshops at Urban Vision alongside children of immigrants and refugees, wrote the following poem, after “Dreamers,” by Hafzah Geter:

I often think
people of color
on foreign soil
eat
our dignity
our history
look back and see
victory

thank you!

We are incredibly grateful to everyone who contributed to this exhibit: participants, donors, volunteers, university backers, and community partners. 

Design & Collaboration Process

The Wick Poetry Center staff, working in partnership with Each + Every—a Kent-based design studio made up of Kent State Visual Communication Design alumni—engaged the Kent community throughout the design of the Traveling Stanzas: Writing Across Borders exhibit. The resulting collaboration illustrates the vital partnership between Kent State University and its home city.

design

Kent State Visual Communication Design students, led by Associate Professor Valora Renicker and Assistant Professor Daphne Peters, were involved throughout the environmental design process, informing the exhibition’s layout, materials, and 3D modeling. Under Assistant Professor Christopher Darling and instructor Andrew Fogle, VCD students also created many of the exhibit’s illustrations.

photo and video

Kent State University Teleproductions students Shannon Baranauskas, Jon Cibella, Laura Kotula, and Nathan Tranbarger, a videographer at University Communication and Marketing, created video content alongside Wick Poetry Center teaching artists, highlighting the stories of refugees and immigrants in the Akron community. David and Erin LaBelle worked together to photograph each participant’s portrait with full studio access provided generously by The Exchange House in North Hill, Akron.

fabrication

Kent woodworker Brek Jacobson, of Jacobson Woodworks, planned and created the cube structures for the exhibit. McKay Bricker Framing, located in downtown Kent, crafted custom frames for portraits photographed by David and Erin LaBelle.

Traveling Stanzas community arts projects bring poetry to people’s everyday lives through innovative methods and digital platforms.

All content copyright 2017 Traveling Stanzas
Design and Development by Each + Every

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