Writing Workshop Series

February 2–23, 2019 12pm–2pm

*Registration is currently full for weeks 3 and 4 of this workshop* Creative writing workshop drawing inspiration from artworks in Citizen Salon Saturdays, February 2, 9, 16, 23 TO REGISTER CLICK HERE 12:00 – 2:00 PM WHO: Open to the public, RSVP requested. These workshops are facilitated by Julian Shendelman (, a local writer and a Contributing Editor in Penn’s Office of University Communications. WHAT: In this four-week workshop series, participants will engage with a diverse set of artworks to produce creative writing for personal growth and public engagement. While full attendance is recommended, each workshop is designed to stand on its own, allowing for four unique opportunities to participate and create. In addition to reflective writing, participants will be challenged to respond to directed prompts, revise and improve their work, and consider contributing completed writings to the Gallery’s public blog. Citizen Salon is a crowd-sourced exhibition in which curation becomes an act of listening to an expansive community. To mark the Arthur Ross Gallery’s 35th Anniversary, we invited our audience members to partner with us by selecting artworks to be included in the exhibition. Responses came from voices across the spectrum of the Arthur Ross Gallery’s audience – art historians and faculty from other humanities disciplines, scientist, practicing artists, and multi-faceted individuals from Philadelphia and beyond. WHERE: 220 South 34th St. (between Walnut and Spruce Streets.) The Arthur Ross Gallery is located on the University of Pennsylvania campus in the Fisher Fine Arts Library building (the historic Frank Furness building). The entrance is accessible from College Hall Green, or directly from 34th Street. The nearest parking garage is located on 34th St. and Ludlow St. Hourly on-street kiosk parking is available around the University of Pennsylvania campus. WHEN: Saturdays, February 2, 9, 16, and 23, from 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM WHY: Because art gives us the opportunity to slow down and reflect. Because writing helps us understand art. Because art and writing both help us understand ourselves. HOW: There is a short flight of stairs leading to the main entrance of the Fisher Fine Arts Library. A ramp entrance is located on the Spruce Street side of the building and requires key-card access. Please call 978-504-1786 if you need assistance with this entrance. A men’s bathroom is located on the first floor of the building, and women’s bathrooms are located on the basement and second floors—both accessible via elevator. Single-stall gender neutral bathrooms are located in the Duhring Wing, accessible via key card. Please let our facilitator or staff know if you need access to this wing. We request that you refrain from wearing heavy perfumes or colognes out of consideration for those with chemical sensitivities. This is an LGBTQ-affirming event. This is a free workshop thanks to funding from the University of Pennsylvania Office of the Provost. WEEK 1: February 2, 2019: Place Good scene-setting is a crucial element in good writing across all genres. Scene-setting involves not just locating the physical site of the story, but also the era, culture, and ground rules (as in science-fiction) that create the scaffolding on which the story is hung. Recommended, but optional, readings: Excerpt from Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? Pg. 13-25: Jeanette Winterson’s signature dense prose describes a childhood in Manchester. “Full Gospel”, The Best Creative Nonfiction Vol 1, Pg. 85-87: This flash piece manages to situate the reader in a church in just 3 pages. “A Small Place”, Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction, Pg. 257-264: Jamaica Kincaid explores the phenomenon of tourism in her country of origin using the 2nd person. The Beautifully Worthless by Ali Liebegott: A road-trip story about a queer waitress who burns out and skips town with her dalmation, told in letters, poems, and vignettes. WEEK 2: February 9, 2019: People, birds & beasts Good characterization is a crucial element in good writing across all genres and species. Recommended, but optional, readings: Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, Pg. 71-80: Audre Lorde writes about coming of age and the sensuality of her mother’s cooking implements. “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”, Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction, Pg. 290-298 : EJ Levy examines her family’s eating habits. Pretty Much Dead by Daphne Gottlieb: The author gives an insider’s perspective on life as a social worker in San Francisco. WEEK 3: February 16, 2019: Sky The sky is a site of extreme contrasts: cold and hot airstreams, the absence and abundance of light, the predictable and the unknowable, the beautiful and the dangerous, serenity and chaos. Recommended, but not required, readings: The Ice Storm by Rick Moody: A tragicomic novel about the complications of family life in the 70s, set over a stormy weekend in suburban Connecticut. A Series of Un/Natural/Disasters by Cheena Marie Lo: Experimental poetry about systemic inequality in the face of “natural” disasters like Hurricane Katrina. WEEK 4: February 23, 2019: Body & Spirit The body and the spirit are sites of connection and disconnection; with the concrete world around us, and the spiritual world inside us and beyond. Recommended, but optional, readings: Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg The Writing Life by Annie Dillard