New Illuminations 2017 begins!
I am at Logan Airport at a standing desk near the Air France gate.
My art supply laden bags are checked and heading towards the plane.
I am, as you might expect, over the moon with excitement and nervous.
And a little bit scared.
New Illuminations has come so far already, from the first residency in November 2016 with a month-long exhibit in Gyumri to this moment, en route to teach two workshops to 30 women. New Illuminations has been supported by a hearty network of people dedicated to empowering women in a place where opportunity is slim.
I will be posting from Yerevan and Gyumri during the next month, likely once a week, with photos of the places I visit, the women I interview, and the workshops I teach. If you want to see more images, please find me on Instagram.
If you are reading this in your email, you are one of the many robust supporters of New Illuminations. You have helped me take this project so far. There are so many ways for us to use our money in the world right now, so much need in so many places. I thank you for putting your trust in this project and supporting the work of bring art to a dark corner of the world.
Thank you for your words of encouragement and your prayers.
They mean the world to me.
Thank you for your donations of money and art supplies.
They both allow for a bigger circle of influence with the women and teens of Gyumri, Armenia.
I will keep you posted.
Greetings from Gyumri.
The weather is fair and bright on November 1, the cold has arrived and the leaves have quickly turned golden. I have a morning off to write and rest. This afternoon I will attend the writing class of one my students, with her teacher who I interviewed last year. In that interview, we exchanged ideas about using poetry in our writing classes. Today, I look forward to writing under her leadership.
I have completed the first workshop with my advanced artists of New Illuminations.
11 women returned, of the 15 we had last year. Due to family cares and scheduling, three were not able to join us. One empty seat was taken by the director of the facility where the workshop is held, and this added a richness delivered by Satenik’s buoyant creative appetite. The workshop exceeded my expectations. New skills were acquired, existing skills were improved upon, and the depth of sharing and connection among all of us grew stronger every day.
Sona Andreasyan captured the advanced workshop in images, which are reflective of her experience of the workshop, more layered and colorful than I have ever seen before. I hope you enjoy these views of the workshop.
If you are in the Berkshires, don’t forget about Sam Lardner and his band Barcelona at the Barn in South Egremont, 7 PM, on Thursday, November 2. Sam is donating the proceeds from CD sales that evening to New Illuminations. I hope you can attend; the music will warm your soul.
Much love from Gyumri!
All of the images included in this gallery are made by Sona Andreasyan, a photographer and musicologist, who lives here in Gyumri, and teaches at the KASA Foundation.