Workshop Descriptions & Bios

Advanced Poetry Intensive  – Floating in the Deep: A Poetry Immersion
Georgia A. Popoff
         Focus is sometimes challenging in the busy lives we lead. Distractions are cunning little demons. In this day-long intensive, we will immerse in our work and benefit from our circle of poets to rejuvenate, reflect, and respond to our muses.
       The morning will be active writing as meditative practice, with time for sharing as well as silence. The afternoon will include revision strategies and a critique workshop in which participants will engage in a collaborative process of mutual growth and support. Poets are invited to bring three pieces from work in progress or orphans that have been abandoned for one reason or another, but it is time to bring them home.
       Laptops and tablets are welcomed, or old school notebooks, for those so inclined. Other supplies should include several different colors of highlighters, a thesaurus (or app), anything you need to spend the day writing while being comfortable.

Mask Art:  The Enlightening Exploration of Self
Jennifer Wortham

" The loving awareness we cherish is not a distant fragrance, a treasure found only after an arduous journey. It is not a treatise we have to fight for or protect. The beauty we long for is already  here."                 Tara Brach
        We begin this workshop by choosing a challenging life event from the past. Through writing prompts and by sharing your birds-eye view of this time in your life, you’ll emerge with a deeper understanding of yourself. This way of seeing can help you to acknowledge the compassion and resilience, agency and other qualities you summoned to navigate a difficult period.
       We will then move to redesigning white paper-mâché masks. An inviting selection of paints, colorful papers, images, and objects will offer choices in your creative expression of self. It may be a place of an inner longing that has never had a voice. You may discover a mask you have continued to wear and no longer need. A third choice could represent your embrace of a quality in yourself you now wish to support. Engaging your eyes, hands and heart voice with the mixed media materials you will have the opportunity to contemplate the true face you wish to welcome into your life. Your finished piece will be a meaningful expression of reference to take home, helping remind you of the depth of spirit that lives within. Material fee $3.00
        Participants are invited to bring a small object of meaning to them for their masks. 

Silk Scarf Monoprinting  - Kathryn Klompas

Participants will need absolutely no experience to print on silk scarves. They will experience achieving a sense of movement and marked repetition of patterns and colors. We will use monotype techniques that inspire the use of  dynamic patterns and colors ranging in intensity and depth. They are encouraged to play, experiment, discover and enjoy this very accessible creative process.  I supply multiple pots of thickened dyes, as well as squeeze bottles and many tools ready to grab and paint with. Each scarf kicks off a new adventure  and offers participants to take home a beautiful one-of-a-kind silk scarf of your own making. Material fee $10

Storytelling From A-Z: Afrofuturism to Zen
Dorothy Randall Gray

                         “To get writing done, one must say no to things no reasonable person could ever
                            turn down."
  Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize Winner for The Hours

“To get writing done, one must say no to things no reasonable person could ever turn down."
                                                                                          Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize Winner for The Hours

       “Your future is behind you – go back and pick it up.”             African Sankofa saying
     Storytelling can motivate, inspire, open minds and share history. Stories invite us to view the measured steps and missteps that shaped us, and the tread marks of those who came before us. This workshop will take you through the pregnant past, the powerful present and possible future. We will use evocative music, African, Asian, and European tales, family memory and myths, ancestral and contemporary tales to create work in any genre that calls you. Your writings may tread towards spoken word, futuristic fairy tales, singular performance or even song.  With mindful intention, and explorations into the elasticity of experience, you will stretch the perceptions of your creativity beyond their limits. This workshop invites you to discover new boundaries, territories of limitlessness, the power, purpose and reclamation of what was, is and can be.


Dorothy Randall Gray
       Writer, artist, motivational speaker, storyteller and bestselling author Dorothy was recently designated L A Poet-in-Residence by the Dept. of Cultural Affairs. She spans the literary globe with poignant poetry, spellbinding stories and captivating humor. Dorothy has shared the dais with the Dalai Lama in India, was a featured poet in Iceland, has danced with tribal boys in the hills of Kerala, and boogeyed with James Baldwin in NYC. She has enthralled audiences from Brooklyn to Bombay in numerous venues - the renowned Nuyorican Poets Café, the World Stage, Women’s Studies Association, Columbia University, and Carnegie Mellon Institute
       A popular teacher and transnational activist Dorothy is author of the bestselling Soul Between The Lines: Freeing Your Creative Spirit Through Writing (Avon/HarperCollins.) Muse Blues, Woman, Fierce With Reality, Family, The Passion Collection, A Taste of Tamarinda, and her latest volume of poetry, Sharing The Same Sky. Her writings have also appeared in many anthologies and periodicals.  She has served as special delegate to the UN, NPR commentator and is presently executive director of Women Writers & Artists Matrix. 
       Her passion for the creative inspired her to establish the Heartland Institute for Transformation, an organization dedicated to utilizing the arts for global healing, social change, and personal empowerment. It has provided educational materials to African schools, facilitated writing workshops for veterans, at-risk youth, juvenile detention facilities, Skid Row populations, post graduate students and professional authors. She believes in changing the world one word at a time and living life fierce with reality.

Kathryn Klompas

My art explores the expressive use of color, mark-making and surface design on paper and textiles, employing printmaking on paper and fabric, stitching and mixed media collage.  Observing patterns, textures and structures through the lens of a camera often influences and informs my art. I shifted from textiles to work on paper, and started Ragged Edge Printmaking Studio. Yet I found myself tearing apart hand pulled prints on rag paper, then stitching them together, merging printing and the love of fiber deep in my soul.  Skills learned from printmaking on paper lead me to  return to working with dyes on  silk fabric employing these same monotype techniques. Inspired by the large dynamic patterns, intense colors, and physical movement used to create large fabric pieces, I began to work with these same dyes , printing on to paper with the use of an etching press.
       I continue to experiment with fresh approaches.  Combining elements with collage has brought me back to my early love of gathering, collecting and assembling works of art.

      Georgia A. Popoff is a community poet, editor, and artist educator. She is the Workshops Coordinator at the YMCA’s Downtown Writers Center in Syracuse, NY, where she also teaches poetry and creative nonfiction. As a consultant, she provides editorial services and book coaching, as well as professional development and writing residencies to schools and community-based organizations.  Her poetry includes Coaxing Nectar From Longing (Hale Mary Press, 1997), The Doom Weaver (Main Strreet Rag Publishers, 2008), and Psalter: The Agnostic’s Book of Common Curiosities (Tiger Bark Press, 2015). She co-authored Our Difficult Sunlight: A Guide to Poetry, Literacy, & Social Justice in Classroom & Community (Teachers & Writers Collaborative, 2011), which was a 2012 NAACP Image Award finalist. In 2011, The Whiskey of Our Discontent: Gwendolyn Brooks as Conscience & Change Agent (co-edited Lansana; Haymarket Books 2011), was a finalist for the Chicago Review of Books Award in Nonfiction. Her fourth collection of poetry, Psychometry, is forthcoming from Tiger Bark Press. 

Jennifer Wortham is a contemporary creative, a writer, mixed media artist and photographer. A Masters in Social Work, she has an active psychotherapy practice in New York City. Along with her clinical training, Jennifer’s lifelong study of the creative arts and her interest in breathe and mindfulness have played a key role in her approach to her workshops over the past 12 years. Inviting participants to engage their senses: the tactile handling objects, making visual choices and using the intuitive sense is one of her great delights. Jennifer is currently working on a memoir about the 5 years she spent working in a busy psychiatric emergency room in a New York Hospital. Her art and photography is regularly posted on Instagram at #jenwortham.