Horizons welcomes the public to its 2018 writers showcase on Tuesday, May 22. Sponsored by the American Writers Museum, 180 North Michigan, the free event will feature original poetry read by homeless shelter-resident authors, most of them mothers and their older children.
The hour-long program will begin at 6:30 p.m. To attend, you must RSVP. Attendees are invited to visit the museum at 6 p.m., prior to the showcase, or for a half hour after the event.
Horizons is grateful to the American Writers Museum (AWM) – Chicago’s newest museum – for generous sponsorship of this year’s showcase. Opened last May, the Loop museum was voted Illinois’ best attraction in a USA Today Readers Choice poll and named one of the world’s 10 best new museums by Fodor’s.
“American writing happens in homeless shelters as surely as it does in any writing classroom,” said AWM President Carey Cranston. “AWM is proud to help celebrate the work of the writers in the Horizons program.”
Horizons is a creative writing outreach program offered at family shelters by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Twice-a-month sessions involve more than 100 people each year. This year’s writers live at three family shelters on Chicago’s South Side: Primo Center for Women and Children, A Safe Haven, and Margaret’s Village.
At the annual showcase, writers read their poems and short essays to an audience that includes their children and friends. The experience is very meaningful, as it becomes clear how important it is for any writer to have an audience listen and appreciate what s/he has to say.
“Everyone has a song to sing,” said Director of Organizing Wayne Richard, pointing to poems and short essays that range from emotional to wistful, hopeful to angry.
A new selection will be published online in CCH’s Horizons Reading Room and in a booklet distributed at the spring showcase.
Wayne launched Horizons in 2007. A CCH organizer since 2000, Wayne first became involved with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless when he participated in an earlier version of the writing program while living at a West Side shelter.
Adler University collaborates with Horizons. Graduate student Ruby Aranki is this year’s program intern, assisting Wayne with outreach. Adler’s art department, led by Dr. Jennifer LaCivita, contributes students’ emphatic art responses to the writer’s work, displaying these at the showcase.
Horizons has been gratefully supported by project-based grants from the Seabury Foundation.
– Anne Bowhay, Media