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Street Level

Summertime workshops spark a hot mess of creativity


Summer is the season for vacations, relaxation and general fun in the sun, or so the brochure tells us. The hot months don't have to be spent just lazing about, however, because Cleveland is positively smoking with educational summertime programs, and Fresh Water is burning things up with this enticing workshop roundup, with everything from creating mysterious accordion books and building video games to snapping out flash fiction.

Literary Cleveland is ready to nurture another round of readers and writers via its third annual Cleveland Inkubator festival. Sponsored by the Cleveland Public Library (CPL), the writerly extravaganza offers a week's worth (July 24-July 29) of book exchanges, readings and social events, topped by a day-long literary conference hosted by CPL.
 
Kicking off the fun is a glorious triple threat of music, poetry and conversation with Janice Lowe, author of Leaving CLE: Poems of Nomadic Dispersal. Lowe, a composer, poet and performer of music text hybrids, will "play" her work with a full band, tracing a black family's migration to and from the North Coast.  Enjoy Lowe's groove-infused poetry July 24 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Bop Stop.
 
Finishing off Lit Cleveland's big week is a free literary conference at CPL, featuring a keynote reading with noted local author Dan Chaon. Workshops on flash fiction, poetry, public speaking and zine creation round out a fruitful day of programming for adults and teenagers alike.
 
CPL's creative streak continues with five summer coding camps where participants can build their own video game from the first pixel on up. CPL's Walz, Langston Hughes, Jefferson, Hough and Harvard-Lee branches host the four-day camps aimed at students ages 10 to 18.
 
Using the Scratch computer program, workshop attendees dream up interactive stories, games and animations, combining these ideas into a working game. During the week's final session, newbie designers will share their work with friends, family and gamers the world over at CPL's TechCentral technology and learning center. Scratch, maintained by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab, has resulted in over 23 million projects thus far. Cleveland's innovative young people have an opportunity to add to that figure.
 
Learn more or register for the program here.
 
The papermaking, bookbinding and letterpress experts at The Morgan Conservatory (1754 E. 47th St.) are presenting a series of in-house "book arts" programs from July 29 to August 13. Book art is a type of bookmaking that combines interdisciplinary modern art forms to change a book's form or function.
 
Conservatory events follow the art form to the letter, beginning July 29 with a paste paper class taught by book artist and curator Maria Pisano. Paste paper has been used throughout history by bookbinders, as well as by creatives to decorate walls and ceilings. The two-day workshop investigates the versatility of paste paper and culminates with participants making a sample book of their designs.
 
Additional conservatory programming in August touches on "accordion books" and Japanese bookbinding. Visit the conservatory website for more information.  

Read more articles by Douglas J. Guth.

Douglas J. Guth is a Cleveland Heights-based freelance writer and journalist. In addition to Fresh Water, his work has been published by Midwest Energy News, Kaleidoscope Magazine and Think, the alumni publication of Case Western Reserve University. A die-hard Cleveland sports fan, he also writes for the cynically named (yet humorously written) blog Cleveland Sports Torture.   
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