History of the anthology project - this call (below) went out in Spring 2017. The book is currently in submission at a number of publishers. Stay tuned.

My name is Kirsten Kaschock and I’m a poet, a novelist, and a professor at Drexel University. My sister Taryn Kaschock Russell is an artist, a choreographer, and the acting director of the dance division at the Juilliard School. We have been emboldened by recent events to ask you for your stories about art.

Recently, the NEA was attacked, again. The American government is telling us that the arts are not valuable, that they are not essential to a living and thriving democracy. We disagree; what’s more, Taryn and I think this misconception is dangerous.

But we also think that discourse about the arts has—in the past few decades—been co-opted by those for whom art seems extraneous, an elite endeavor, decorative rather than necessary. We believe art matters, and not because it can be monetized, and not for its use value to other disciplines or endeavors... but because art saves and changes lives. And not only the life of an individual, but the collaborative existence of whole communities and cultures.

This is about art’s ability to reach across the huge chasms between self and other, and not only to communicate, but to transform. We are gathering together stories about transcendent dance and music and theater performances—and gallery visits and poetry readings—events that altered the way you see and exist in this world. We are seeking testimony.

We’d love for writers to talk music, bankers to talk ballet, musicians to talk sculpture, scientists to talk theater, teachers to talk painting, and dancers to talk poetry. Tell us, in 1000-3000 words, about a *singular* encounter (an opening, a performance, a concert, a reading) with art that altered you. Deeply. If this is criticism, it is the raw kind—the kind where the art you’ve experienced has ripped you open, and you are examining the wound. We are eager for stories from the margins... how art affects lives that other cultural forces can alienate.

Write what critics are told not to write, what is outside and beyond most criticism, what is often held back for balance. Screw balance. Write not just why art matters, but how art *is* matter. 

Forget use: think alchemy.

Readers will know art’s potential to change the planet by its proven ability to profoundly alter those who live on it. 

We are in the process of seeking a publisher. Because we are hoping to include a wide range of unexpected voices, we cannot guarantee publication (although we will be offering payment to the essays that are published in the anthology). Other essays, with the author’s permission, may be featured on the accompanying website. Please contact us with any questions at kkaschock@hotmail.com


This image was created by Alice Klock and we thank her for its use.