After spending the summer reading dozens of essays, all meaningful and some breathtaking, Taryn and I chose 30 pieces for inclusion in the anthology. From September through the beginning of November, I went back and forth with writers on a first editing pass before I put a package of essays and author bios for submission to publishers. The anthology proposal with sample essays is currently in submission at several presses. Stay tuned for news.

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The extended deadline for ART IS MATTER is midnight on June 21st. The solstice. Please send us a 1-3K personal tale of how a singular encounter with a work of art or a performance changed you.

We have been profoundly moved by many of these stories and are looking forward to putting together an anthology that communicates the work art does in our lives... and the work it manifests in us.  FULL CALL HERE.

With great appreciation, Taryn and Kirsten

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After seeing the budget numbers (again) this week - and their message of that art is not essential to a thriving world - Taryn and I have decided to extend the deadline for ART IS MATTER until June 21st... the summer solstice. We AIM to create an anthology that touches on the unquantifiable ways art impacts individuals - and by extension - communities and countries. Please share this call for personal essays (1-3K) about a singular experience with art that changed the way you perceive or exist on this planet. We are particularly interested in essays on theater and the fine arts... although all arts are welcome, as are writers from any and all backgrounds. We are going wide and deep with this call. Thank you for contributing and sharing! We will be making decisions in early July. The work we have seen so far has heartened us. So much so that we are considering continuing with the project beyond a single anthology. Stay tuned. Art does matter. Is matter. Thank you!     -Taryn and Kirsten

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Hello all!

After almost a month, we have received dozens of submissions--but Taryn and I could use your help to reach more eyes.

For our proposed anthology--about singular art experiences/performances/encounters that have changed how people both see and exist in the world--we are reaching far and wide and deep. We'd love contributions from writers, dancers, artists, but also friends (scientists, lawyers, doctors, yogis, students) who know the worth of art... whose lives have been altered by it.

Please help us.

The full call is below.

You might never have written an essay like this before (we haven't seen many around). That’s okay with us. We are looking for a wide range of voices from citizens of all walks of life. The only qualification needed is an experience with art that changed you. If you lack the time to write but know others who might be inspired by this call: please forward this site to friends AND/OR link to our facebook/instagram page in your social media. You can help us expand the scope of this project greatly. We want a wide range of (perhaps) unexpected voices writing about art beyond the writer's personal expertise or training. 

We are convinced that this is sorely needed: a passionate accounting of art's impact across borders of all kinds (especially the border between self and other). We are reaching across one such border right now... please reach back in any way that seems right.

I’ve been an editor of an online review journal (thINKing DANCE) for the past five years, and in that capacity (and in my day job as a writing professor) have learned to shepherd strong ideas into stronger writing. Taryn and I are committed to spending the time needed with our contributors (of all backgrounds) to find all the stories entrusted to us (by dancers, scientists, politicians, lawyers, sculptors, etc.) their best means of expression. We are also eager for stories from the margins... how art affects lives that other cultural forces can alienate.

Please send us your story by May 31st, and please (if you could) share our call throughout your networks. We want to create the kind of democratically-sourced and moving testimony that we can put in the hands of policy-makers and administrators at all of our institutions to say to them “Art doesn’t just matter: it *is* matter. It changes lives.” 

And then convince them.

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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 associate 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

You can submit here. We are looking forward to your words.

Deadline: June 21th, 2017

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