Visitors to Summit Artspace’s upcoming show, “Traveling Stanzas: Writing Across Borders,” will experience the lives and hopes of refugee and immigrant community members through poetry and other media with the ability to join the conversation by way of technology.
The interactive exhibit was created by the Wick Poetry Center of Kent State University and will run Jan. 19 to Feb. 17 at the main gallery of Summit Artspace on East Market, 140 E. Market St. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
The traveling digital exhibit features more than 30 illustrated poems and videos that showcase refugee resettlement in Akron area communities. At the heart of the exhibit is an interactive touchscreen experience, allowing visitors to browse content and become poets themselves.
The goal of the Traveling Stanzas program is to bring poetry to everyday lives by fostering meaningful conversations and encouraging new voices, according to David Hassler, director of the Wick Poetry Center, one of the premier university poetry centers in the country.
An outcome of Traveling Stanzas is engagement in a national civic dialogue that promotes cultural understanding and empathy through the intimate and inclusive voice of poetry, said Hassler, who is an award-winning poet.
When visitors interact with digital creative tools such as Emerge, Thread and other technology applications, their voices will be incorporated into the exhibit in a variety of ways—from a scrolling group poem to posted and printed decorated cards.
Traveling Stanzas has partnered with Kent State Visual Communication Design students and alumni, and the Kent-based design studio, Each + Every, to create a modular environmental design that can adapt to unique environments.
Launched in 2009 as a collaboration between the Wick Center and university design students, Traveling Stanzas began as a project that paired poems generated in community writing workshops with graphic designs and disseminated the artwork on public transportation throughout Northeast Ohio.
With a major grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, teaching artists from the Wick Poetry Center have engaged refugee and immigrant populations in the Akron community in a cross-cultural, intergenerational conversation through poetry and graphic design.
Traveling Stanzas has exhibited in locations around the world and has brought poetry to people’s everyday lives in a number of different environments, from education, healthcare, libraries, parks and museums, to agencies for refugee and immigrant populations, senior centers and veteran’s organizations.
Summit Artspace’s main gallery is open Thursdays and Fridays, noon to 7 p.m.; and Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Additional hours are 5 to 9 p.m. during the Feb. 3rd Artwalk and Feb. 15 for 3rd Thursday.
For info, visit www.summitartspace.org, or find the organization on Facebook, Twitter @AkronAreaArts, Instagram and Snapchat, or call (330) 376-8480.