I have a question for you: What do you do when you have a vision with little time to pull it off, not sure who will come, and not sure if it will even work? I’m sure you know the answer…you do it anyway.
God dropped a vision into my spirit recently to bring together 10 authors living in the city of Pittsburgh, along with members of the community, to engage with one another, to learn from one another, and to bless one another. The event was billed as “Building Community through Literary Arts”. I began by reaching out to authors I had met through daily living—on Uber rides, attending bookstore events, and social media.
It was the same with the guests. I just put it out there and got some folks in attendance who were just the right people to be there; even had some young people there! The venue was spot on for how I set up the “Meet the Artist” activity. The idea was to have the authors behind the scenes until everyone had eaten. Then unleash the guests to find the authors using a raffle card showing only pictures of their books. The authors were waiting in two separate areas designated as Author Alley 1 & 2. The guests who participated and filled their card were then put in the raffle drawing for individual gift bags that had been donated by the authors themselves—including tee shirts, mugs, bookmarks, books and more.
Partial list of authors: View the Author Gallery for the complete lineup.
- Devantae Butler (Breakthrough from Isolation to Elevation)
- Kyosho John Morgan Hamilton (Participation)
- Mark Craven (Karyeator)
- Rick Claypool (Leech Girl Lives)
I also invited a visual artist by the name of Tranikka Powell, an incredibly gifted young woman who showcased many of her pieces for the amazement of the guests as part of the “Meet the Artist” raffle. We auctioned off one piece called the “Lion Queen”. What I absolutely love about Tranikka’s work is that there is a life story behind each piece; about family, God, relationships, etc. She also presented us with a live event sketch at the end of the evening.
And there was the hospitality crew: hostess Victoria Dorsett (a local high school student) and caterer Vickey Giddens of Vickey Soul Grill Takeout and Catering in Mckeesport PA, a new startup supported by the Mon Valley Launch Box (a business incubator) and Idea Foundry (a business accelerator). The venue, The Beauty Shoppe Pitt Building, provided support as well with a staff member by the name of Sophia. I loved her spirit as she jumped right in, joined the conversation with the authors, and even helped with the cleanup. A young man by the name of Tacumba Turner was the photographer/videographer. One of the things he did was interview each author separately. (Can’t with to see what he produces!)
The highlight of the evening was the moderated Author Panel Discussion where we dived right into the topic of building community through literary arts. Each author gave a bit of their personal story and their writing testimony. Several moderated questions were presented which made for a dynamic, transparent and authentic discussion. The guest participated by asking their own questions, adding comments, and sharing some of their own personal experiences. Breakthroughs were made, prayers were sent up, and new relationships forged. Everyone contributed to building the community conversation. It was an amazing sight to behold!
The next step in the vision is twofold. First, launch a quarterly series of similar events in 2020 (Feb, May, Aug, Nov). And second, officially launch the “Write Source Community Book Club”, which will include a Facebook community for others to participate. Additional details will follow soon.
“Always do more to SOAR!”