Ekphrastic poetry, visual art exhibit starts today at Arts Center

Submitted photo Pictured is “Window Vines” “photographed by metro artist Laura Migliorino.

MARSHALL — A new exhibit at the Arts Center starts today and people are being asked to take an active role.

The Marshall Area Fine Arts Council is inviting the public — adults, college students and students in grades 6-12 — to look at two photos and express their reaction to the depictions in the form of a poem.

“This is the first time we’re doing this,” said Jan Loft, the MAFAC president. “You don’t have to describe the art, but write down how it inspires you.”

Loft emphasized that this isn’t a contest, just a fun way to add to the experience of art.

There is a name for writing about art — ekphrastic writing, which is a Greek word, but popularized by the Romans, according to a news release from MAFAC.

Artist Laura Migliorino, an Anoka-Ramsey Community College art instructor, will exhibit her photography at the MAFAC Arts Center today through March 29. The exhibit is called “Absentia: Abandoned Past,” which “explores spaces in a state of abandonment or unexpected departure, creating a feeling of being animated and inhabited, but absent at the same time,” according to the artist.

Two of Migliorino’s photographs were selected as inspiration for people to write their first poem or their 200th poem.

Loft said she has never written a poem but she looked at the photograph of a staircase in an abandoned house and thought of “the birthday parties that were there or other events — what’s the story in that house?”

The photo depicts a staircase with a broom leaning against a door so Loft wrote a poem she called “Timesweep.” It’s about “different kind of steps. Steps coming down because it’s Christmas morning or she’s coming down in her first pair of heels because it’s prom.”

The other photograph shows vines creeping in an abandoned house.

“You can do one or the other or both,” said Loft. A separate entry form must accompany each entry.

Poems should be submitted by March 8. People can go to the website, mafac.net and click on Ekphrastic Poetry/Exhibit for more information. Click on rules and entry form and submit the poem(s) by email to MAFAC mafac.arts@gmail.com or mail it in to MAFAC, PO Box 531, Marshall, MN 56258 or dropped off at the Arts Center, 109 N. 3rd, Marshall.

The submitted poems will be on display in the art gallery where they will add to the exhibit experience.

“People might say, ‘I never would have thought of that’ or ‘that poem reflects just exactly how I feel,'” Loft said.

Loft hopes people will come to the artist reception on March 23 at which time the artist can meet the poets. The reception is from 2-4 p.m. at the Arts Center.

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