Traveling Stanzas

Writing Across Borders
Posted on 01/04/2018


Summit Artspace will host a traveling visual poetry exhibition, featuring works focused on refugee resettlement in Akron, beginning Jan. 19.

"Traveling Stanzas: Writing Across Borders" is a project created by Kent State University's Wick Poetry Center and Visual Communication Design students and alumni. 

The collaborative show will include more than 30 illustrated poems and videos, as well as an interactive component. Visitors can interact with digital tools, which turn their voices into poems that are incorporated into the exhibition.

The goal of the interactive show is to engage participants in a conversation about the experience of the local refugee and immigrant communities.

The Traveling Stanzas project received funding through the Knight Arts Challenge to collaborate with the International Institute of Akron and Akron Public Schools. 

Through this collaboration, the Wick Poetry Center has offered writing workshops to refugee and immigrant children and families, as well as Akron Public Schools students.

"Traveling Stanzas: Writing Across Borders" will feature work by participating members of these communities who submitted a video of an original or published poem in their own language.

Poetry submissions were paired with graphic designs and showcased as public art pieces throughout Akron. 

The Wick Poetry center has also taken the works and turned them into digital exhibits on large touchscreen displays where users can browse poems in different languages.

Through its partnerships with the International Institute, Project Learn and Urban Vision, the Wick Poetry Center developed a method of helping international students learn English through the emotional and meaningful connection of poetry.

A poem written by third-grade student Hai Ni Paw Soe, who was resettled from Myanmar to Akron, will be included in the exhibition. "My Voice" was illustrated by Tong Zhao as part of the Traveling Stanzas project.

Visitors can create their own poems out of inspirational or important cultural texts and print them out as part of the Summit Artspace show. 

"Traveling Stanzas: Writing Across Borders" will run from Jan. 19-Feb. 17 in the main gallery of Summit Artspace, located at 140 E. Market St. in Akron.

The exhibition is free and open to the public. The gallery is open from noon-7 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and noon-5 p.m. on Saturdays.

The gallery will also be open from 5-9 p.m. Feb. 3 for Akron Artwalk and Feb. 15 for 3rd Thursday.

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