Summit participants discuss how to promote literary arts

Promoters, public school officials, writers and others seek to make Hagerstown a center for medium

July 21, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION |
  • Scot Slaby, the new lead literary arts teacher at The Barbara Ingram School for the Arts said Thursday that there is no reason why Hagerstown can't be a center for literary arts.
Herald-Mail file photo

For a stretch of Maryland from Bethesda to Frostburg, there is no center to celebrate the literary arts, according to Scot Slaby, the new lead literary arts teacher at The Barbara Ingram School for the Arts.

Slaby said he sees no reason why such a center can't open in Hagerstown.

"The sky's the limit," Slaby said Wednesday night as literary art promoters, public school officials, writers and others gathered at the school on Potomac Street in downtown Hagerstown to explore how to develop the literary arts in the area.

Plans are for literary arts to be part of the curriculum this fall at the Ingram school, where Slaby will teach poetry and fiction.

Slaby and others talked about how to expand the literary arts across the region, such as through a festival.

One of the people participating in a panel discussion at the summit was Hope Maxwell-Snyder, a novelist and poet from Shepherdstown, W.Va.

Maxwell-Snyder told the approximately 50 people in attendance how she started a poetry festival in her backyard.

Now the Sotto Voce Poetry Festival is a large event, and Shepherd University has helped with it, she said.

Maxwell-Snyder said she would like to see the Hagerstown community become involved in the event.

Those attending the summit heard how entities such as the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts have worked to promote literary arts, and how Frederick, Md., has promoted the art form.

Amy Hunt, an educator at the museum, said part of the museum's mission is to include events focusing on literary arts, and it has hosted events such as author readings.

 In Frederick, Md., organizers have offered Frederick Reads, a collaborative effort among public libraries and local organizations to foster a love of reading within the community.

Elizabeth Cromwell, committee chairwoman for the event, said organizers were concerned about a low book-reading rate among some adults.

 After the summit was opened to questions from the audience, a woman asked if Slaby plans to teach script writing at the school.  He said that was a possibility.


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