WHAM Community Art Center is not just about visual arts, rather the association has been promoting literary art through poetry slams for five years, collaborating with Surprise Arts and Cultural Commission.
WHAM is expanding its literary arts by providing Ottawa University-Arizona with a Little Free Library decorated by WHAM’s Teen Art Club.
Councilwoman Aly Cline is working to get more Little Free Libraries installed throughout the Surprise.
Little Free Libraries are displayed across the nation being provided by volunteer organizations and individuals to the community. The book-sharing boxes of these libraries are open seven days a week, 24 hours a day and are freely accessible to all, removing barriers to book access.
WHAM’s Teen Art Club purchased and decorated a Little Free Library giving it to OUAZ. Connie Whitlock, executive director of WHAM, met with Frank Nainoa, academic dean, and Dennis Tyner, OUAZ president, on July 13 to deliver the Little Free Library at the college.
“WHAM plans to give another Little Free Library to Ottawa this Fall” Whitlock said. “This stimulates the necessity of reading in WHAM’s Teen Art Club.”
Studies have repeatedly shown that books in the hands of children have a meaningful impact on improving literacy.
The more books in or near the home, the more likely a child will learn and love to read. But two out of three children living in poverty have no books to call their own.
Little Free Library equips, educates, and guides volunteer stewards like WHAM to establish these libraries in their communities.
“OUAZ will be utilizing the Little Library in our student union where students eat meals and meet up. We will stock the Little Library with a variety of books and encourage students to read, discuss and share ideas and knowledge with each other based on their reading,” Nainoa said.
WHAM is encouraged that after five years poetry slams are growing, bringing up to 55 people at each event. Poetry Slam is performed the third Friday of every other month from 6 to 8 p.m. at WHAM’s Art Center, 16560 N. Dysart Road,
Poetry Slam “open mic night” is free to the public, and a platform to read their poetry or a published poem. The next poetry slam is at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19.
WHAM’s Little Free Library is located in front of the building placed there for Poetry Books exchange.
The art center expanded literary arts programming to include Write Club. Write Club is a show produced by Jonathon Rios and is finding a home at the WHAM Arts complex.
Rios is from the LA Write Club and aims to develop a Phoenix version. Write Club is three rounds, six writers, two opposing topics (up vs. down, native vs. visitor, beach vs. museum) and seven minutes on the mic.
WHAM’s Write Club training classes are the second and fourth Fridays of the month. Each class is designed to give instruction on how to write and perform a narrative to join in on a quarterly write club competition, or enjoy the readings.
Go to WHAM’s website at wham-art.org, contact Whitlock at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 623-584-8311.
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