Wendy Brown-Báez of St. Louis Park has received the 2012 Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, which has enabled her to bring poetry and writing workshops into a series of nonprofits.
The organizations she selected were based on the criteria that her workshop was a complement to their services. She believes that poetry can be a beacon through difficult times.
She said she uses contemporary poetry to jump start the creative process even if the writing is prose because poetry opens hearts and stirs emotions. She has been teaching participants ranging up from age 16 at The Bridge for Youth to septuagenarians at Shingle Creek Commons. She teaches both beginner and advanced writers.
Workshops paid for by the grant and open to the public include Creative Writing Circles at Hennepin County Central Library Tuesday evenings in February and Writing Circles for Healing Thursday evenings in March at Wellstone Center in St. Paul. Details are available at wendybrownbaez.com.
As another vehicle to present poetry to the community, Brown-Báez is curating an art exhibition at Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts in Fridley called Soul Retrieval: Art of Transformation & Healing, with art, poetry and dance. It opens March 9 with an artist reception 6-8 pm at Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts, 6666 E. River Road in Fridley.
Along with poetry scrolls created by Brown-Báez and poet Athena Kildegaard of Morris, Minn., there will be landscapes from Ashley Dull of Minnetonka, allegorical work of artist Julian Coffman of Brooklyn Center and a performance by dancer Amy Sabrina from Sweetgrass Farm in Dalbo, Minn. Other activities include a panel discussion on Art That Heals; movement, art and writing workshops; and a poetry reading.