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Third Street Writers awarded grant from the Festival of Arts

Third Street Writers has been awarded a grant from the Festival of Arts Foundation for its upcoming ekphrastic writing project, “Art Inscribed: Writing Inspired by the 2022 FOA Fine Art Show.”

“Ekphrastic writing involves writing a story or poem in response to a work of visual art,” said Third Street President Amy Dechary. “It’s been our longtime goal to bridge the literary arts with the outstanding visual arts showcased at the Festival. We’re honored and grateful to receive this grant so we can collaborate with local artists and share this exciting writing genre with the public.” 

The FOA Foundation, which operates independently from the Festival of Arts, awards annual grants to local nonprofit arts organizations. To date, the Festival of Arts along with the Foundation have awarded nearly $3 million in grants to the art community in Laguna Beach.

Third Street Writers group

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Courtesy of Third Street Writers

Members of Third Street Writers view the Festival of Arts 2022 “Fresh Faces” exhibition featuring new exhibiting artists at the FOA South Gallery: (L-R) Cecile Sarruf, Amy Dechary, Dennis Piszkiewicz, Jennifer Griffiths, Steve Fayne, Linda Winslow, Gina Harlow, Miranda McPhee, Jackie Bayless and Theresa Keegan.

Partnering with artists exhibiting at this summer’s festival, Third Street members will view fine art pieces at the FOA and write short stories, essays and poetry inspired by those works. Selected works will be published in a chapbook and featured at a public reading and celebration on the Festival grounds on Sunday, Aug. 14 from 12:30-2:30 p.m. All proceeds from the sale of the chapbook will be donated to The Artists Fund.

“Our members have always been inspired by art,” said Rina Palumbo, vice president of Third Street Writers. “In Laguna, we are surrounded by amazing artistic creations, so it only makes sense that we honor their craft with our own.”

This March, the organization teamed up with Bryan Heggie, manager of the LCAD Gallery, to host a shared writing session and open mic in which participants wrote about the Gallery’s Syd Mead Progressions exhibition. “The goal for this creative collaboration was to bring together different forms of artistic expression, and to inspire the writers and audience with the physical artwork displayed,” said Heggie. “It was truly inspiring to work together in such a dynamic creative environment.” 

In 2018, Third Street members contributed to Laguna Literary Laureate Suzanne Redfearn’s “The Laguna Beach Anthology of Poetry and Short Fiction,” a collection of written responses inspired by Laguna Beach photographer Jeff Rovner’s “Yongon Monastery Myanmar.” 

Third Street kicked off its exploration of ekphrastic writing on Monday, June 6, with a virtual workshop hosted by Lorette C. Luzajic, the Toronto-based editor of The Ekphrastic Review and author of numerous ekphrastic poetry collections, the most recently, “Pretty Time Machine: Ekphrastic Prose Poetry.” In the workshop, Luzajic led participants through an overview of ekphrastic writing, guided them along different forms and approaches to ekphrasis and suggested points of entry and connection between the written word and creative visual expression. 

“We can’t wait to apply our new understandings of ekphrastic writing to the works being exhibited at this summer’s FOA,” said Dechary. 

Founded in 2015, the Third Street Writers is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to fostering the growth of the writing community in Laguna Beach through weekly workshops, reading events and publications such as its multi-volume Beach Reads anthology and last year’s Stu News Laguna column, “From Laguna with Love.” 

For more information, contact Amy Dechary at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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