dateline: Chicago, April 2009
Creative Chicago Expo 2009 a great success
On Saturday, 4 April e-poets.net enjoyed a remarkable and productive day of networking -- in the business sense -- at the Creative Chicago Expo, convened at the Cultural Center in the Loop. This was the sixth annual Expo held. Reactions from visitors of past Expos suggest that it was also the best-attended, continuing an established growth trend for the Expo. Presenters transected Chicago's creative and cultural communities, representing non-profit arts groups, artists working solo and in partnerships for business, professional organizations, and the commercial goods and services essential to Chicago's creative community.
Literally hundreds of guests visited e-poets' table at the Expo. We send sincere thanks to Barbara Koenen of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs for organizing the Expo. We also thank Danielle Chapman, organizer of the Chicago Publishers' Gallery, for her outreach to us and the rest of the local lit' community, enabling us to share e-poets' story directly with a movitated and interested public. e-poets.net took the opportunity to participate in the Expo to kick off a tenth anniversary celebration of the Book of Voices' first online chapter.
Friends of e-poets.net joined the table. Adam Hart, who recently launched Apparatus, was of great assistance handling the crowds at our table from the early to middle parts of the day. Shelly Nation represented Wordslingers poetry radio, and also volunteered for the middle of the day. Nina Corwin, well-respected Chicago poet and literary curator for Woman Made Gallery, also a recent guest editor for Fifth Wednesday, received e-poets' visitors later in the afternoon. Our team enjoyed excellent conversations with educators, lit' students, and laypeople alike. Since our table was staffed by people with literary interests from broadcasting, e-publishing and traditional publishing, curation, and performance, the e-poets booth had a strong cross-disciplinary buzz surrounding it most of the day.
In a bit of synchronicity, Book of Voices contributors Robert McDonald and Chris Gallinari spontaneously dropped by the e-poets.net booth, and met friends of the site, new and old. A few future contributors to the site also paid our table a visit. So guests at our table were able to hear about e-poets' goals directly from artistic collaborators.
Perhaps our greatest reward was seeing how well the public responded and engaged us when we took our message directly to them. We had lively and constructive conversations with diverse Expo attendees, from performance and hiphop poets to senior university faculty, from casual poetry readers to dramaturgs, from occasional iPod users to recording engineers.
While the economy is definitely flagging, and funds for the arts are in general retreat, we nevertheless see that our arts community responds positively to us and respects our mission. They look forward to what we'll present in the days ahead, as do we. To all our new friends, we pledge our continued dedication to the living language arts, to aural literacy, and to passionate critical and creative exploration of new spoken word.
with gratitude -
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