Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Create a Local Gallery as Part of the National Gallery of Writing

Why a National Day on Writing?

In light of the significance of writing in our national life, to draw attention to the remarkable variety of writing we engage in, and to help writers from all walks of life recognize how important writing is to their lives, October 20, 2009, will be celebrated as The National Day on Writing. The National Day on Writing will:

* celebrate the foundational place of writing in Americans' personal, professional, and civic lives.
* point to the importance of writing instruction and practice at every grade level, for every student and in every subject area from preschool through university. (See The Genteel Unteaching of America’s Poor.)
* emphasize the lifelong process of learning to write and composing for different audiences, purposes, and occasions.
* recognize the scope and range of writing done by the American people and others.
* honor the use of the full range of media for composing.
* encourage Americans to write and enjoy and learn from the writing of others.

What is the National Gallery of Writing?

The National Gallery will be a digital archive of compositions accessible to all through a free, searchable website—a living archive of thousands of examples of writing from across the United States.

* Each writer of any age or occupation will be able to submit one composition.
* Writers will include with their composition information about themselves and the reasons they selected and submitted it to the Gallery.
* All sorts of compositions will be accepted, including (but not limited to) electronic presentations, blog posts, documentary clips, poetry readings, “how to” directions, short stories, memos.
* On October 20, 2009, the National Day on Writing, the Gallery will be unveiled for readers.

The National Gallery features three types of display spaces all curated and collected in a variety of galleries:

* The Gallery of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).
* The Galleries of National Partners curated by groups as diverse as Google, the Newseum, Sesame Street’s Electric Company, and the National Science Teachers Association.
* The Galleries of Local Partners curated by groups as diverse as a local Girl Scout troop; a town such as Augusta, Arkansas; a community college course; a bridge club; a city such as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; a writers group, and local business.

Become a Local Partner

Local partners can be any group, including a family, a few good friends, a club or church group, a class, a school, a workplace group, or an entire city who wants to see their work collected together inside the National Gallery. Every local partner needs one key person: a Curator who applies for local partner status and agrees to review all work submitted before it is published. You can see the existing local galleries here.

The Role of a Curator

The Curator is essentially the filter for the Gallery. While all Gallery Curators will be encouraged to be broad-minded and inclusive, they retain the authority to allow pieces to appear in a gallery or not (note: some writing not chosen from a Local Partner or National Partner Gallery will be referred to NCTE for possible inclusion in the Gallery of the National Council of Teachers of English). Curators will have access to online tools that allow them to "feature" a select number of pieces within their Gallery for a period of time. If a Local Partner Curator anticipates a heavy review load, she or he can recruit assistants who will also have access to review tools. Curators will be responsible for completing a review and triggering a review response email within one month of receipt of each submission.

Some members of the local gallery will need to assume certain roles: curator/writing assistant, October 20th event planner, publicity, fun and camaraderie organizer.

Why Should I Consider Starting a Local Partner Gallery for My Group?

For many good reasons:

* It is a way to help your group think more deeply about how, why, when, and where they write, and share ideas or information that is important to them.
* It can evoke pride, or at least a strong bond, as you see what others post to your Local Gallery.
* It can help you sharpen your own thinking about writing and improve as a writer.
* It can broaden your awareness of the perceptions and talents of others—discoveries that are often hidden in everyday writing.

Getting Started

The first thing a prospective local gallery will want to do is hold an organizational meeting. At the this first meeting, they’ll want to:

* Set a name, theme, and brief description of their Gallery.
* Set a timeline for what they want to accomplish.
* Think about creating a blog or email list or phone tree to communicate among the organizers and members.

Name a curator and maybe assistant curator(s).

* Decide who will apply for the local gallery and when.
* If there is/are an assistant curator(s), the curators will want to to discuss how they’ll handle distribution of submissions/load balancing. The curators will need to develop guidelines for reviewing submissions. See NCTE’s guidelines as a model.
* Check out the information for curators as the gallery develops.
* Use the NCTE NING Group for curators to stay in touch with other sites and gather ideas for their site.

Develop a basic PR outreach strategy

* Use the NCTE model to prepare a press release to announce the gallery once it has been approved.
* Decide on the best places to send the release.
* Make a plan for getting members to write for the gallery.
* Write Letters to local media editors;
* Focus media outreach to TV, Radio

Schedule a follow-up meeting to

* Focus on implementing decisions made at first meeting,
* Provide examples of writing that might be submitted to their gallery.
* Talk about ways of celebrating accomplishments of gallery organizers and participants.
* Make a plan for celebrating their group’s participation in the National Gallery of Writing on the National Day on Writing, October 20, 2009.

Guidelines for Choosing the Writing to be Included

While all writers should be able to express themselves and their point of view, certain kinds of writing simply do not belong in the National Gallery of Writing. Therefore, you may not post or link to writing that:

* is obscene, pornographic, or sexually explicit
* depicts graphic or gratuitous violence
* makes threats of any kind or that intimidates, harasses, or bullies anyone
* is derogatory, demeaning, malicious, defamatory, abusive, or hateful

Prohibition of Unlawful or Harmful Content

Although as the host of the National Gallery, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) is not responsible for the conduct of writers who post here, we want the National Gallery to be a safe and educative site on the Internet. Therefore, in posting to the Gallery, you may not:

* violate any local, state, national, or international law or post any writing that would encourage or provide instructions for a criminal offense
* impersonate any person or entity or otherwise misrepresent yourself, your age, or your affiliation with any person or entity
* make available any unauthorized advertising, promotional materials, "junk mail," "spam," "chain letters," "pyramid schemes," or any other form of solicitation
* All writing submitted to the National Gallery or any Local or Partner Gallery will be reviewed "as is" and will not be modified or amended during the review process.


Recruiting Other Groups

If you’d like to recruit local galleries in your area you can contact groups and invite them to organize and you can volunteer to make a presentation to those groups on why and how to set up a local gallery.

* If the groups are already formally organized groups (e.g. a Boy Scout Troop), you can contact the president or group leader to invite them to organize.
* If the groups are not formally organized (e.g., staff and customers of a local business), look for a leader to get things going. That leader would have these attributes: interested in the project, well-organized, energetic, socially committed, might have a role like newsletter editor.
* You may also want to look for helpers in organizing a local group like local librarians or teachers.
* Think about contacting Americorps, sports organizations, Key Clubs, student clubs and NCTE student affiliates, high tech companies, film Schools or media projects, screen writers guild, Best Buy, Target
* Invite these groups to join together on October 20th for a celebration of the writing on the gallery.

Ideas for Celebrating the National Day on Writing

Host a Family Writing Night.
Students could showcase work using poster sessions, computer lab presentations, etc.
To promote the local celebration, the Partner could run a series of personalized ads including:
Hold a Back-to-School Writing Celebration Night.
Hold a Gallery Open House.
Conduct a Spoken Word/Poetry Slam Celebration.
Hold a Writers’ Showcase or “Composition of the Day” leading up to the National Day.
Invite well-known local/regional writers to share their writing processes and samples of their work at school or local group events.
Create a thematic writing event that focuses on a specific cause—this could include showcase chalk art, people writing on post-its or cut outs that could be posted on a wall or public display, graffiti art, letters to the military, writing about trauma or loss, etc.
Hold a write-in.

Suggestions for where to hold Celebrations and Events:

Senior Citizen Halls/Residences
Coffee Shops
Boys and Girls Clubs
Scout Meetings
Parent/Teacher Nights
Tech Showcases
Back to School Nights or Parent Open-Houses
Community Festivals or Events
Book Club Meetings

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