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Art Writing Symposium

Name, Claim, Proclaim 

Saturday, November 14th, 2020

10am - 4pm


10:00-10:30 Central Time


10:30-11:30 Central Time

Healing and the Artistic Voice

Maria Hamilton Abegunde

Maria Hamilton Abegunde is the Founding Director of the Graduate Mentoring Center at Indiana University. Abegunde is a memory keeper, poet, writer, ancestral priest in the Yoruba Orisa tradition, a doula, and a Reiki Master. Her research and creative work approach the Earth and human bodies as sites of memory, and always with the understanding that memory never dies, is subversive, and can be recovered to transform transgenerational trauma and pain into peace and power.  She will lead the first AWS session, which will focus on healing and developing the artists' voice, two fundamental tools for healing the past and present, and that will benefit us as we move forward into the future.


11:40-12:40 Central Time

Written about/Writing about

Artist Omari Booker and journalist/critic Erica Ciccarone will be interviewed by writer and entrepreneur Ashey Lawal, founder and editor of Urbaanite. 

Booker, a graduate of TSU, is a painter and activist who approaches art as therapy, creating work that communicates an intrinsic ability to be free. His work has been displayed in the Frist Art Museum and written about in the Nashville Scene, Number Inc., The Contributor and WPLN News. Ciccarone is the culture editor of the Nashville Scene, and has published art criticism in Burnaway, Number Inc., Nashville Arts Magazine and The Contributor along with creating the NEA funded WeHome podcast. This session will give participants of the symposium the opportunity to learn about the business of writing about art from both sides. Booker and Ciccarone plan to discuss how they have built a professional relationship through their work — how Ciccarone approaches writing a story, and how Booker has learned to interact with the press professionally. 

11:40-12:40 Central Time

TSU Art Collection Lesson Planning for Educators

TSU Art and Artifact Collection provides work as the base for writing;  four images will be provided with their historic significance and backstories. Participants will collaborate with facilitators to design lesson plans to be used in a classroom setting as a teaching tool, K-12 Lesson plan provided after the session. 




1:15-2:15 Central Time

Poetry and Protest

Tia Smedley

Want to make a difference through words and stand up for what is right? Welcome to Poetry and Protest, led by spoken word artist Tia Smedley. Poetry is a popular art form for protest and rallies, making the reader aware of incongruities that are affecting communities and the world. TiaSmedley, local spoken word artist and performer, will lead us through Poetry and Protest. She will begin with a screening of her choreopoem, then take us through her process of storyboarding, writing, collaborating, and editing. She will lead participants through a writing exercise that will emphasize ways to infuse imagery and art into poetry of protest.


2:30-3:30 Central Time 

Art for Liberation

Bobbi Negrón

Bobbi Negrón is the art teacher at Paragon Mills Elementary School in Nashville, TN. She co-founded Workers Dignity a member-run non-profit that fights for the rights of workers in Nashville and is an active DJ on Radio Dignidad, 104.1fm. As part of her creative process,, she allows projects to flow in and out of her art classroom that are connected to social justice issues. She says “As a Puerto Rican my work and teaching is reflective of someone who is living in the diaspora because my family uprooted to the states and that experience has molded my art teaching and being dedicated to an anticolonialism, anticapitalist, and anti-imperialism movements.” In this session,, Bobbi will lead participants through her process of writing towards specific social justice topics that she is passionate about and will guide them through creating a sign work of their own that expresses a call for justice in an issue close to their own heart


Reflections/ Question and Answer


Closing Remarks/ Announcements

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