This weekend, I’m taking twenty of my Creative Writing students to the Kentuck Festival of the Arts in Northport, Alabama to do our usual running around and searching for good stuff to write about. We started going to Kentuck in 2008 and have gone to the festival most years since then. It’s easily one of the highlights of our program.
However, people (even students in other magnets at our school) sometimes ask why Creative Writing students are going to an art festival, a question implying that we’re just goofing off, but there’s a real reason behind our annual trip, which can be summed up in one too-often-used word: inspiration. Writers can learn a great deal from considering works in other artistic genres, and the nearly three-hundred artists who display at Kentuck each year create original works in all manner of styles and using all manner of methods and materials. The festival has everything. I’ve told people before that, if you don’t like any of the art at Kentuck, then you don’t like art. My personal favorites are the metal workers from Sloss Furnace, the letterpress printers, and the Black Warrior Review and Books Arts folks from UA. But what I want for my students to find there are their favorites, the works and artists that wow them.
And then we come home and do our work. The week beforehand is research week, the week after is writing week, and then the articles, which are published on our magnet’s blog newsprung, come in a flurry in November. To read those, you can subscribe to the blog, follow BTW Magnet Creative Writing on Twitter, or Like newsprung on Facebook.