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Hidden River Arts will host a Live Arts Event on Sunday, July 26 at 2 p.m. at Cavanaugh’s Head House Tavern, 421 South 2nd Street in Philadelphia. We will be celebrating the wrap-up of our summer writers’ workshop, and our workshop members will be offering some readings of their work. We’ll also be celebrating the work of our first Eludia Award winner, Tree Riesener, who will be reading a bit from her winning collection of short stories, Sleepers Awake, which is forthcoming on our Sowilo Press imprint.

We’ll also be having some live music — more details on that as they are available!

We’ve had some wonderful live arts events both at Cavanaugh’s and at other venues around the city. Terrific readings and wonderful musicians, like Rosa Diaz at Live & Lit, or Alex Kruchoski and Zeke Francis, or Teresa McCann. It’s always a joyous event, with a focus on celebrating art and artists.

This event is free and open to the public. Come, and bring friends!

Please join us at our biggest-ever celebration at Hidden River Arts’ 20th anniversary. Tickets are available here.

Twenty years ago, I used a portion of a writing award I won for my own fiction and established an arts organization dedicated helping other writers. The mission, from the very first day, is summed up in our motto: “Dedicated to Serving the Unserved Artist”. We’re committed to finding, supporting and celebrating those outsider artists because there are so many creative people deserving of more recognition and help.

I named the organization Hidden River, after the Schuylkill River, which flows through the Philadelphia region of Pennsylvania, which is my home. “Schuylkill” is Dutch for “Hidden River”. It seemed to perfectly describe our mission, which is to search out and support the hidden creative talent all around us – to celebrate that living, vital, powerful creative force that is the river of talent flowing among us. To support the artists.

This year, Hidden River Arts is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Over those years, we’ve grown steadily. We’ve expanded to become an inter-disciplinary arts organization. What began with one yearly fiction competition, grew to include a yearly full-length playwrighting competition, residency programs, educational outreach, live arts events, gallery events, performances, a first-book competition for women over the age of 40, even production activities. We’ve run a robust internship program, and have watched many of our wonderful interns go on to jobs in publishing, theatre, performance. They’ve established their own literary journals, run their own arts companies, written their own books, taught their own workshops. We now have an independent small press, with several imprints, so that we can offer the possibility of publication to deserving writers struggling for recognition and support. There are other goals and hopes for even more growth as Hidden River moves into its next phase.

In marveling at just how long we’ve been here and at how much we’ve grown, it occurred to me: In all these twenty years, we’ve never once held a fundraiser. Hard to believe, right?

So this year, as we acknowledge this happy anniversary, we’ll be reaching out to the arts community to whom we have been so dedicated, and scheduling some celebrations as well as some fundraisers. We’ll have a local fundraiser in Philadelphia and an online crowd-sourcing fundraiser. We’ve decided to do this because, what also occurred to me is that, with just a bit of help, we could grow our programs bigger and faster, we could bring our workshops, classes and performances to more people, reduce our already-low fees even more. We could travel our programs, build a greater platform for online workshops and classes. The growth that took twenty years could now continue; in fact, we could expand in less time and reach out to support more people. A yearly words and music festival is one of our dreams. A re-established and expanded residency program. More theatrical and film production. More publishing. And always, the core of our mission remains to support the unserved artists among us whose talent and vision make the world a much better place. They are the primordial wellspring from which all of this flows.

So, those who will be in Philadelphia this summer, please join us for our 20th Anniversary celebration and first-ever fundraiser on Sunday, June 7 at 7 p.m. or 9 p.m. It’s going to be a wonderful event. We are gathering at L’Etage, the nightclub above Le Beau Monde, at 624 S. 6th Street, Philadelphia. The evening will include a cabaret performance with (in alphabetical order) Jean Brooks, Leon Carelli, Debra Leigh Scott and Denise Shubin. We’ll also be doing some readings of our award-winners’ work, and perhaps even a bit of reading from some of our many beloved interns! But most of all, it will be a time to gather together with people who love art, music, language and creativity to meet, mingle and celebrate.

To read more about Hidden River programs, please visit our website. To buy tickets for our 20th anniversary event, please click here.

What is the role of the artist during times of social upheaval and tumult? Elie Wiesel said “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” This is even more true, when it comes to the role of the artist in society. The problems of our society are extensive, and the voices of artists – playwrights, poets, musicians, performers – are essential to raising public awareness and giving voice to the issues, raising the call of dissent.

Founding Director of Hidden River Arts, Debra Leigh Scott, has been invited to give a presentation at The Davinci Art Alliance at 704 Catherine Street, Philadelphia, PA, on Thursday, May 21, from 7 to 9 p.m. where she will discuss the importance of activism in the arts.

Since its founding way back in 1931, the Da Vinci Art Alliance has been a dynamic organization presenting artists and their work, focus on community-based arts, cultural and educational dialogue for artists, individuals and families.

Da Vinci currently has over 140 members and holds exhibitions of members’ and non-members’ artwork as well as special events, workshops, performances, poetry readings, and lectures, and keeps its members informed on community events, news and opportunities. The mission of the non-profit artists-run organization is to support its members and to further community-based arts, cultural, and educational exchanges. I am proud to be offering my presentation there, since I’ve been fortunate to work with the many artists of Da Vinci, and admire the work that they do in supporting artists, the life of art, and the community.

Please join us at the Alliance. For those who are not in Philadelphia, Debra will be developing the program and offering the presentation in an online format – so stay tuned!

For those who have submitted their fiction and drama to the last cycle of our awards, we wanted to let you know that we are still working through the manuscripts in order to announce the semi-finalists, finalists and winners. Please bear with us as we do some final read-throughs and additional discussion. We give each submission a minimum of three readings, and have been doing even more readings in our culling process this year. LOTS of strong submissions. So, thank you all for sharing your wonderful work with us. Please subscribe to this page, or bookmark the blog, so that you can be notified when we make our announcements.

We’re pleased to announce that Hidden River Arts has joined forces with several other women-owned arts organizations: Naked Feet Productions and Angel Pirate Productions, as well as an as-yet un-named organization (as enthusiastic, creative personalities, it is sometimes really hard to settle on just one name for your efforts!) We have several goals: First, to create a vibrant and fertile community of women theatre artists in the Philadelphia region in Pennsylvaia, for the purpose of creating and co-creating theatre. We also want to provide a platform for readings, workshops and other development opportunities for work already in process. Ultimately, we want to co-produce theatre pieces, first in the region, then on the road.

Our second goal is to create a national network of women-run theatre organizations for the purpose of collaboration, providing women artists a network and a national platform.

Finally, the third goal is to create an international network of women-run theatre organizations for the same reasons.

In addition to creating this expansive network for women theatre artists, we are open to partnering with other arts organizations – poetry groups, visual arts groups, music groups – that are women-run.

So, our first act is to now place a call for women playwrights and theatre professionals in the Philadelphia region of PA: “The Bridge” will be a project produced by several arts organizations, including Angel Pirate, Naked Feet Productions and Hidden River Arts, with the goal of gathering a diverse group of women (all ages, all races, all sexual orientations – an “all-in” celebration of women!) for the purpose of creating collaborative theatre pieces. We’ll be scheduling a series of developmental workshops, public readings, and ultimately, a Fringe 2015 production constructed of some of the more developed pieces. Our first gathering will be on Saturday, April 4. Anyone interested in taking part should email debraleighscott@gmail.com for additional information.

Once we know how many people are coming, we’ll decide on venue and time. Even if you can’t make April 4 but are interested, please email so we can get you onto our list of wonderful women.

And, of course, in keeping with goals #2 and #3, if you are a woman theatre artist, a theatre arts organization, or any discipline of woman-run arts organization, please get in touch and we’ll begin the conversation, the mailing list and put our “virtual” heads together to decide the next few steps of this venture!

The most recent round of our Eludia Award has been finalized.

WINNER:
McAlinden, Orla, The Accidental Wife and Other Stories WINNER (KILDARE, IRELAND)

FINALISTS:
Bolkvadze, Tamar, Fireweed (ANCHORAGE ALASKA)
Day, Diana, Metal and Bone (stories) (CALIFORNIA)
Ehtesham-Zadeh, Susan, American Moon (GEORGIA)
Normandin, Ricki, Island Rules (CANADA)
Turner-Yamamoto, Judith, Garden of the Dead (CINCINNATI OHIO)

The winning manuscript will be published on our Sowilo Press imprint. The prize also includes $1000 and ten copies of the completed book.

We’d like to congratulate Orla McAlinden, and to express our deep appreciation and gratitude to all our writers. The wellspring of talent we’ve been blessed to experience is truly astonishing.

Be sure to check back for our interview of Orla, and for further updates.

Greetings to all our Hidden River Artists! We’d like to announce that, after months of manuscript reading, our semi-finalists have been chosen for this most recent round of our Eludia Award. The Eludia Award is offered to a woman writer, age 40 or older, for her first book-length work of fiction – either a novel or a collection of stories. Guidelines and further information about the Eludia Award can be found here.

We were blessed this year with truly wonderful work from women writers living and writing in the U.S., Canada, France, England, Ireland, and Australia. Our sincere thanks go to ALL writers who have shared their work with us. We honor and celebrate you all.

Our semi-finalists are posted below. Our readers will be meeting again over the course of the next two weeks, to read and review once again, in order to announce the finalists. Please stay tuned to this page for updates!

Semi-finalists

Bohrer, Susan, Thy Neighbor’s Life
Bolkvadze, Tamar, Fireweed
Cochrell, Christie, Nude Against the Light
Cullity, Jocelyn, Mutiny
Day, Diana, Metal and Bone (stories)
Demme, Nancy, Ravenmocker
Downey, MJ, The Naturalist’s Book
Ehtesham-Zadeh, Susan, American Moon
Jennings, Nicola, Everything She Ever Wanted
Lautze, Tempa, Grievous Matters
Leary, Jan English, Eunuchs
McAlinden, Orla, The Accidental Wife and Other Stories
McClure, Meg, Rue – Twelve Stories
Methvin, TJ, Entanglements, A Compilation
Normandin, Ricki, Island Rules
Nye, N., Turtleback
O’Dell, Celeste, The Bridegroom and Other Elkhorn Stories
Peck, Marcia, Water Music
Polk, Victoria, The Blue Masque
Randolph, Anne, The Sweet Not Enough
Simic-Bentley, Silvana, Stored Memories
Smedman, Lorna, Moss
Turner-Yamamoto, Judith, Garden of the Dead

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