Emerson College is one of several community organizations participating in ArtWeek Boston, September 25–October 6. ArtWeek is a collection of events and activities that feature the quality and diversity of arts, culture, and creative community in Boston; and is a kick-off to the newly-created Literary Cultural District, the nation's first geographical space highlighting historical places in literary history.
Students, staff, and faculty participating in emersonWRITES, a program in which Emerson Writing, Literature and Publishing students help inner-city high school students improve their writing skills, will offer free creative writing instruction Tuesday, September 29, as part of ArtWeek Boston.
“I've always believed in the power of writing,” said Mary Kovaleski Byrnes, a poet, travel writer, and senior lecturer in Writing, Literature and Publishing, who participates in emersonWRITES. “I know how essential the idea of being a writer can be to a young person’s identity.”
Normally, emersonWRITES is open only to high school students, but it is being offered to the general public during ArtWeek.
emersonWRITES, which launched in 2010, is designed to help high school students improve their general writing skills, prepare for college level writing, or develop a confident voice in creative writing. It gives students an opportunity to expand as writers that they might not otherwise have and provides them with tools and information to attend college.
“Every year, students talk about how amazing it is for them to meet other people like them who also love to write and want writing to be a part of their lives forever,” Kovaleski Byrnes said. “High school can be a tough time—you're trying to figure out who you are and what you want to be—and this program provides a place for students to really own it when they say, ‘I'm a writer.’”
Kovaleski Byrnes is grateful that emersonWRITES is a part of ArtWeek Boston.
“emersonWRITES is very much about Boston and the communities that can be possible in this city if boundaries are broken down,” she said. “It’s especially cool to share some of this community that happens in the emersonWRITES classroom with anyone who wants to come to our session. emersonWRITES is about finding your voice, and we’re excited to bring that spirit of empowerment to ArtWeek.”
Kovaleski Byrnes said she is especially inspired by the emersonWRITES participants’ end-of-the-year showcase, where their work is displayed.
“The Bill Bordy Theater is bursting with energy,” she said. “One year, a student sang. Every year, a student’s poem moves me to tears.”
In addition to emersonWRITES, the College oversees emersonTHEATRE, which focuses on students’ use of theater to explore finding their voice, and emersonPATHWAYS, which was newly launched this year in partnership with seven Boston high schools. Participants learn how to get into and be successful at college through creative writing or theater instruction, along with classroom time.