It’s been a big year, and despite everything, it’s been a good one for us.
It all started out so hopefully! We were blooming with the BLOOMS Exhibit in February 2020, followed closely by the “Women of Flowers” special exhibit on March 8 for International Women’s Day, and a neighborhood garden walk in partnership with the Garden Club. We had big plans for the rest of the semester—and then, everything changed. But guess what? We just kept going.
We Zoomed into the Future
In a week we put all our classes online via Zoom, and converted our community events, like our Wine, Women, and Words Series, to online sessions as well! We were especially pleased to offer our Community Circles through the first months of the pandemic, giving everyone and anyone a chance to find a human connection in a writing circle every Monday at noon.
We Wrote Our Way to Resiliency
We kept on going over the summer with classes on resiliency and a circle on the work featured in our first Anthology, (a) river rising: Anthology of Women’s Voices (RISE and SHINE edition). Meanwhile, we started work on Vol. II of that anthology, launching the BIRDS and BLOOMS edition on Dec. 7. We also converted the Fall Art Show, ROOTS, to a mostly outdoor event, featuring “Sidewalk Hospitality” and socially distanced programming with our featured artists and writers.
We Honored Women’s Words and Ideas
We were also proud to hold three powerful Roots-themed programs online this fall: The Roots of Racism, The Roots of Antisemitism, and the Roots of the Environmental Movement in Florida featuring a variety of women artists, writers, and community leaders on these important topics. Only time and our concern about Zoom burnout stopped us from a session on The Roots of Sexism and The Roots of Xenophonbia…but we will get to those next year!
We Did It Together, as a Community
Thank you to our featured writers, our featured artists, our Faculty, our Board, and our Advisory Circle members for making this possible. And we’re so proud of the entire Anthology team, who delivered our colorful Anthology just in time for the holidays—including our editors, our interns, our proofreaders, our extraordinary interns, and most especially our editor, Nan Kavanaugh, and designer, Karen Kern. And thanks to all of you, for your support, your purchases, your donations, and your words. We are so grateful to do this good work with you. And here’s how you can get a copy of the Anthology shipped to you. Locally, you can always visit our bookstore partner, San Marco Books and More.
Honoring our Losses, Finding a Way Forward
We were sad that we could not see many of you face to face in our circles, and for the devastation that this pandemic has brought to so many in this world. We despaired at the loss of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and all that their deaths symbolized. It caused us to take a deep look at our own work and ask, how are WE doing? How can WE become an anti-racist organization? We began with our own internal training sessions, trying to get a deeper understanding of the roots of racism even within our own group. It has not been easy. It has been necessary. And the work will continue.
And Now, A Pause
(But Check Out Our 2021 Classes!)
It’s time to pause, to settle into the season, to begin a period of reflection in this season of light and dark, warm and cold. But while you’re at it, do check out our new classes for 2021, based on the theme of BRANCHES. We will be online again, but as always, we’d love to see your face in the circle.
Stay safe. Stay well. Stay grateful. And see you in 2021!