Homer Alaska - Opinion

Story last updated at 1:22 PM on Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Volunteer's idea blossoms into Creative Communities

By Gail Edgerly

Almost two years ago, a volunteer at Homer Council on the Arts suggested the council invite creative folk to the gallery in the winter to work on their own unfinished arts and craft projects. Everyone has projects that somehow never make it out of the closet. Wouldn't it be great to have a social place to make progress, have fun and be inspired?

I thought: "We have this warm, well-lit space with beautiful art on display and lots of extra room. Why not open it up for regular drop-in adult creative time?"

Already, HCOA wanted to use its gallery space more to generate community-driven ideas for programs and to draw more volunteers and members to the arts organization. The idea was a great fit. And so the Tuesday Salon was born, opening the gallery every Tuesday from 5 to 9 p.m. for adults to tackle those unfinished projects in a fun, social environment.

Creative Communities

Tuesday Salon

Meets weekly on Tuesdays


Meets the second and fourth Mondays

Musicians' Roundtable

Meets the second and fourth Wednesdays

Writers' Refuge

Meets the first and third Mondays

Art City Sings

Meets on the first and third Wednesdays

In time, the Tuesday Salon idea evolved into Creative Communities — several groups for adults to focus on not just arts and crafts, but also theater, music and writing. Now in their second season, Creative Communities exist to support and nurture the creative process during the darkest months of the year (October-April). The communities are Tuesday Salon, TheatreWorks, Musicians' Roundtable, Writers' Refuge and Art City Sings, a casual singing time for those who love to sing just for fun.

Next week on Dec. 6, Tuesday Salon hosts a free "Craft Night for Grown-Ups" to draw more interest in the weekly gathering. The group will supply materials and guidance for three creative projects: to decoupage switchplates, to learn to knit and to make crafty gift tags. The regular Tuesday Salon will resume the following week for those who wish to bring in their own unfinished projects.

TheatreWorks focuses on performance and meets every second and fourth Monday. Over several weeks, the group gathers scripts, casts parts, practices and then performs (scripts in hand) in an occasional public Readers' Theatre. This is a great way for someone who has never performed to get a taste without needing to memorize, and a perfect way for experienced thespians to keep their acting juices flowing through the winter. The last public Readers' Theatre was very entertaining. The next public event is scheduled for Jan. 9. Interested participants can come to any regular group meeting.

The artists at Musicians' Roundtable bring music they are working on, whether a song or a melody, and share it with the group to receive feedback that will help them further develop the song. They meet every second and fourth Wednesday. Musicians' Roundtable is organizing a songwriter's workshop with Robin Hooper to take place March 3-4. They hope to receive grant money from Alaska State Council on the Arts and a sponsorship from a local business in order to make the workshop very accessible.

Writers' Refuge meets year round on the first and third Mondays of the month. It has an established format that gives each person a fixed amount of time to share his or her own writing and then receive constructive feedback from the rest of the group.

Art City Sings meets on the first and third Wednesdays and will focus on holiday songs this month as well as folk songs, rounds and whatever songs are brought to the evening. Instruments are welcome. The group will deliver "Singing Christmas Cards" just before the holiday. If you love to sing carols, join in.

All Creative Communities welcome newcomers. All are free of charge — though donations to support the Homer Council on the Arts are always appreciated. HCOA depends on its members to continue providing quality arts programming to our community.

Creative Communities support the creative process in all of us by giving us a way to stay engaged in our artistic interests and the opportunity to meet new people who share them. Groups meet weekly or biweekly at Homer Council on the Arts' gallery at 355 W. Pioneer in Homer. HCOA supports Creative Communities with help from Alaska State Council on the Arts and the Homer Foundation. Details about Creative Communities are announced regularly on KBBI and listed in the newspaper calendars. For more information, visit www.homerart.org, become a friend on Facebook or call the office at 235-4288. Come on out and join in.

Gail Edgerly is the executive director of the Homer Council on the Arts.