By Danielle Haynes
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — Project 308 Gallery in North Tonawanda is expanding its cultural offerings this week with a series of writing workshops held by fledgling screenwriter and North Tonawanda native Steven Kochems.
The 2005 North Tonawanda High School graduate has been living in Fresno, Calif., since graduating from State University of New York at Oswego in 2011. While screenwriting is his main interest, he said he welcomes writers of all genres to the four-day workshop from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
“I think I’ll be able to make it beneficial to anybody who wants to get better as a writer in general,” Kochems said. “No matter what you’re writing you’re telling a story to a certain extent. You’re trying to get an aesthetic reaction from the reader, whether it’s journalism or poetry.”
He said he plans to cap the class at around 15 students, though if more sign up, he’ll bring in an assistant to help out. He’s encouraging anyone who has the slightest interest in writing as a career or even hobby to take part.
“I just hope people aren’t too timid to come in and talk about (their writing) or think they can’t do it cause it’s just not true,” Kochems said. “I know the exact feeling of being somebody from a small town who doesn’t think they” have what it takes.
Natalie Brown, owner of the gallery, said she was encouraged to bring Kochems in to teach at the gallery because she’d like for more people to be interested in writing.
From painting and sculpture to dancing and now writing, the gallery is bent on offering just about all the arts at its Oliver Street location.
“We’re a little unconventional but I want all types of art forms and writing’s just another one of those,” Brown said.
“As long as your arm works and your eyes work to some extent you can write,” Kochems added. “It’s just a matter of having the willpower and the desire to do it.
“If nothing else, it’s a good forum for (people) to meet other writers. If you want to be a writer, you can never have enough friends that are writers.”
The four-day workshop costs $30, though Brown said customers could pay $10 per day if they can’t make it to every session.IF YOU GO • WHAT: Writing workshop by Steven Kochems • WHEN: 6:30 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday • WHERE: Project 308 Gallery, 308 Oliver St., North Tonawanda • COST: $30 for all four days or $10 per day • MORE INFORMATION: Call the gallery at 523-0068 Contact features editor Danielle Haynes at 693-1000, ext. 4116.