I arrived today at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. We're musicians, visual artists and poets here this time around, with master artists Alice Notley, James Hyde and Robert Dick. Being here is amazing, but the added plus that I wasn't aware of before coming here is the strong emphasis on collaboration and interdisciplinary work. The Center really encourages working across genres and disciplines and their policies reflect that. As residents here, we can attend workshops with any of the master artists, use any of the facilities (I'm thinking right now that I'm definitely going to take advantage of the recording studio, and perhaps the painting studio, too) and even in the way we were introduced to each other. It's different from other residencies I've attended in that we have workshop and in that there are artists in multiple disciplines occupying the same space.
As we took a tour of the grounds, it was amazing to see how we all responded to space. The dance studio is huge, with tall, tall ceilings and one wall of windows looking out into the "forest" (after the northwest, it's hard to conceive of the woods here as a forest, but so it is); the painting studio is all white walls with large louvered windows at the top; the sculpture studio has both interior and exterior spaces; the writing studio is small, intimate, with a large table around which we will be sitting. And there's a pavilion that architecture residents built. We all loved it, but the musicians amongst us oohed and aahed for hours about what an amazing practice space the pavilion would be. When we walked into the library, all the writers gravitated towards the shelves, and the little reading nook up the spiral staircase. The visual artists got very quiet and immediately started circling the painting studio. And when we went into the music studio, the musicians immediately started asking questions about the instruments, and the equipment.
Hysterical. But here we are, artists, relating as artists. Some people are still up, hanging out. I'm here, writing this blog and some have already gone to bed. My first workshop with Alice Notley is not until 1.30pm tomorrow - which means that the morning people and the night people both have a fair advantage. It's all very excitiing.
With this writing, I'm going offline for a week (at the very least) so that I can focus on the manuscript I brought to work on. It's my hope that by the time I leave here I have a solid 60-80 poems in the Kohnjehr Woman series, and that with that, I'll have something to complete before the fall.
What a great transition from my time in the Bay Area. I'm both sad and excited that I'll be going to Minneapolis in the middle of my time here. It almost seems I might be cheating myself of something, but then I think about how amazing it is to be meeting new people and reading from Erzulie's Skirt and I get very, very excited all over again. It is a delicate balance.