We are busy with earning a living, getting good grades, anticipating spring break. Awake is another country; yet it’s our job to recognize that country, to realize love of place can be a beginning point, a reflecting back, a map of our longing and hope. – Natalie Goldberg
Where We Live and Love: Writing and Creating About Place is a four-week intensive for writers and artists, exploring the emotional truth of our experiences in the places we spend our lives.
Maybe you’ve been working with daily practice for a while – either in Continuous Practice or elsewhere – and you’re ready to create with more focus, perhaps toward a new project.
Perhaps you want to write an essay or begin a photo project or a drawing series, but don’t know where to begin.
Or you want to ground a work in progress in the details of place.
Perhaps the current political situation has you on edge. President Obama instructed us to teach our children love of country, but how do we get back to loving this land?
Or maybe you’re distracted by social media and the news and simply need to a way to get grounded where you live.
Maybe you feel isolated and long to create in community.
HOW IT WORKS.
Where We Live and Love combines the structure of Jennifer Chenoweth’s XYZ Atlas, with Natalie Goldberg’s writing practice and /or Miksang photography for visual artists.
Chenoweth began XYZ Atlas years ago by asking sixty participants a series of questions about their emotional experiences in Ausitin and then commissioning a design firm to create a corresponding map. YXZ has grown into a city-wide project, culminating in topographical maps charting the emotions of the city’s residents, new artworks by Jen based on the principles of XYZ, and a water performance at the emotional center of Austin, Barton Springs (I’ll share Jen’s work throughout the course.)
Jen is now re-creating the project in other cities and exploring positive ways to put her data to use (as opposed to the way Facebook or retail operations collect and use our data).
She has generously agreed to let us use the newly crafted YXZ questions to guide our creative practice.
Twice a week, you will receive questions from the XYZ Project to guide your work, as well as wisdom from working artists and writers to get you thinking about place, and a few points of about practice and creative process.
By mapping our emotional life in words and images, getting down the sensory details of lived experience, we get grounded in the cities and spaces where we live and love. In our online community, where we share excerpts from our work on a weekly basis, we connect to one another by sharing our deepest moments across time and space.
XYZ invites us to pay attention to pause, to feel, to sense –and most importantly – to be present in the moment and in our bodies so that we can know who we are and where we were the moment of presence washed over us. – Dr. Stephen Caffey
WHAT YOU’LL GET
A structure for working and a focus for your attention.
Practices that help you dive into work without overthinking.
Accountability and Community in our online Forum.
New material for essays, poems, memoirs, photo essays, drawing series, even ideas for choreography and theater.
An opportunity to publish your work during Phase II, a collaborative publication between Creative Mix and The YXZ Atlas. (Details forthcoming)
When, Where, How, and How Much
When: The course begins Monday, April 18th. Lessons with writing prompts are sent via email Monday and Wednesday mornings. On Fridays and throughout the weekend, we share online. The course runs for four weeks.
Investment in your Work: $97, (10% of your fee goes back into the XYZ Atlas project.)
Texts: Writing Down the Bones or True Secret of Writing, by Natalie Goldberg, or Way of Seeing, by Miriam Hall and John McQuade.
About the Instructor:
Saundra Goldman is a writer, art historian, and ethnographer, searching for patterns in artist’s lives and creative work. She is a curator of art and ideas, a mentor, and a teacher. Through her website and blog, her courses, and one-on-one mentoring, Saundra helps women connect the dots of their creative lives and step up with work that speaks to their deepest calling.
Saundra received her PhD in art history from the University of Texas at Austin. In addition to teaching art history courses at UT, the College of Marin, and the Texas Fine Arts Association, she has taught creative writing for the Writers’ League of Texas and The Writing Workshops in Villefavard, France. She has served as teaching assistant and substitute teacher for the beloved international writing teacher, Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing down the Bones, traveling to New Mexico, Italy and France to assist and teach with her. Saundra’s articles, essays, and art reviews have appeared in Art News, New Art Examiner, Art Papers, Theater and Drama Review, the Texas Observe The Rambler, Literary Mama, Brain,Child, Literary Mama, babble.com, and Austin Woman. She also served as art critic for the Austin American-Statesman and the Austin Chronicle.
About Jennifer Chenoweth
Jennifer Chenoweth is a visual artist and entrepreneur. She is the principal of Fisterra Studio, creating contemporary abstract painting and sculpture. Chenoweth studied Painting and Sculpture at the Kansas City Art Institute, has a master’s degree from the “Great Books” program at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, and holds an M.F.A. in Painting from The University of Texas at Austin.
Jen curates an annual group show at her studio and home for the East Austin Studio Tour, hosting thousands of visitors. She was honored as the Featured Artist for the Umlauf Garden Party in 2013. Her art is in the Public Collection at the Houston Hobby Airport and she has shown extensively in Austin, San Antonio, Kansas City, and at art fairs in London, Miami, New York, and Santa Fe.
Using community input to map emotional experiences of residents of Austin, Chenoweth created a mixed-media installation called the “XYZ Atlas: the Hedonic Map of Austin”, which she exhibited at Co-Lab Projects in 2013 and at The University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Psychology in 2014, culminating in an exhibition at the high point of collective experience, Zilker Park in May of 2016.
Jen has received honors for her work from the City of Austin and Giving City. She recently served as the Vice Chair of the Arts Commission, appointed from District 3 to help advocate for creatives in Austin.