Tonawanda News — Writing, that most solitary of arts, ironically seeks community, and writers rely on writer’s groups for advice and response.
The WNY Young Writers’ Studio, recently moved to Kenmore, offers precisely what its name implies: a place for writers in grades 5-12, and their teachers, to convene and learn in a welcoming and comfortable environment, a Delaware Avenue storefront.
The former cellphone store has been converted to a kid-friendly oasis with inspirational quotes on the wall and plenty of space to hone the writing skills. It offers year-long affiliations called fellowships, as well as shorter workshops and teacher training. Costs are flexible.
Founder and director Angela Stockman, a Kenmore resident, is a former teacher, and as a staff developer and independent literacy consultant, knows how to impart the joy of creative writing, for expression and for a career, to novice writers.
“We think of things kids like to do, then fold writing into it,” she said. “If I can help kids see that writing is relevant, it makes it better. It empowers them.”
Thus do obligatory and tiresome assignments, about famous people or how I spent my summer vacation, make way for exciting exploratory projects in which writing is combined with sports or hip-hop music. Thus does the Studio curriculum offer innovative ways to nail down the details of expression.
Now in its sixth year, the studio attracts between 150-200 aspiring writers, teachers and aspiring teachers. Its enrollment includes plenty of people from Kenmore and the Town of Tonawanda, but Stockman lists Hamburg, Orchard Park, Newfane and faraway Ripley, near Fredonia, as writers’ hometowns. A summer program, an “adult writing circle” capped at 10 members, is also available.
Notably, it is a community, what she calls a “sustained writing community,” with more opportunities for feedback in the comprehensive and lengthy time frame.