Thursday, September 20, 2012
The Fusebox Art and Word Series readings may get loud or a little untraditional, but according to the series’ creator Aubrey Lenahan, that’s the point.
“These readings aren’t quiet,” she said. “With this series I wanted to take what is normally seen as static low-level energy and allow the reading to be something that’s vital and brimming with energy.”
Unlike typical readings that are usually held in an auditorium, college campus or bookstore, when she started the series Lenahan was intentional about pairing written word with visual art by holding the readings at local art galleries. She also works carefully to pair local and regional writers who are producing modern, high-quality work with other writers from different regions. For her, the combination can be electric, hence the name Fusebox.
“With this I really want to feature writers doing something contemporary and interesting that maybe defies the tradition of writing,” she said. “Here in Chattanooga we have great events like Meacham Writers Conference and the Conference on Southern Literature that cover the traditions of writing, but I just wanted to do something different.”
A poet, adjunct professor at UTC and freelance writer, Lenahan is new to the Scenic City and decided to move to Chattanooga because she was attracted to the city’s arts and revitalization efforts and the university’s writing program.
“This city has a real feeling about it,” she said. “This place felt like something was happening here. It has a great arts culture and an energy behind retaining that culture.”
When she officially relocated to the city, Lenahan noticed that there was a true writing community here in Chattanooga with some great existing programs, but she felt she could bring something a little different to the table. In some ways, she said, the series is even a little bit self-serving.
“Personally, as a writer, I need to be around other writers and hear writers read their work,” she said. “I also wanted a chance to introduce writers who are engaging with ideas and language in contemporary ways that we haven’t seen before this moment in time.”
A second component of the Fusebox series is the opportunity it provides for artists, writers, readers and interesting people to gather and spend time together in an engaging way. After the readings, Lenahan said she always invites people to go out for drinks and encourages people to stick around and talk to the visiting writers.
“If you can get through about 20 minutes of cleaning up and chitchat, there’s always an open invitation for people to come out for dinner and drinks,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to meet new people and talk to visiting writers one-on-one.”
The series is free to attendees and so far Lenahan said writers have paid their own way to come and participate in the readings. In the future, she said she hopes to secure funding for the project that will enable more writers to come to the city and present their work.
For more information about the series visit www.facebook.com/FUSEBOXseries or contact Lenahan directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.