‘Ekphrastic’ event to mix poetry and art | out and about


SARANAC LAKE – NorthWind Fine Arts and the Saranac Hotel present “Poetry Meets Art” from 6-8 p.m. Friday in the Great Lobby of the Saranac Hotel located at 100 Main Street in Saranac Lake.

The free event is an evening of poetry readings by local poets—— Nan Scheffel Morse, Jim Bourey, Sylvia Karman, Saikat Chakraborty, Roger Mitchell, and Craig Milewski—and a new art exhibit by NorthWind artists – Shawn Halperin, Damon Hartman, Catherine Hartung, Russ Hartung, Heidi Gutersloh, Mary Woodcock Johnson, Catharine Moore, Lee Ann Sporn and Susan Whiteman.


Ekphrasis means “description” in Greek.

An ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art, according to the Poetry Foundation.

“In 2015, I was reading a New York Times article about an ekphrastic exercise the Metropolitan Museum of Art was doing with a group of poets,” said Whiteman, president of the NorthWinds Fine Arts Gallery.

“They were asking poets to perform paintings that were at the Met and had a poetry reading that night. I said, ‘You know what, why not do this the gallery, but why not make it a collaborative event with poets, and living artists, and we have living poets among us, why not make something collaborative? »


NorthWind Fine Arts held its first Poetry Meets Art event in 2016.

“Poets and artists, they’re paired in the fall,” Whiteman said.

“Each pair decides what they want to work on. So there is no theme, in particular, other than poetry and art. It gives freshness to the event.”

Each time a poet speaks and reads his new poem, it is on a totally different subject than the poet who preceded him.

“It’s really a lot of fun because you never know what’s going to happen,” Whiteman said.

“Thus, poets and artists work together for several months. They exchange ideas about each other. The poets see the artist. Artists discover poetry. Everything is fine-tuned along the way, and everyone makes a final decision by the end of February.


Whiteman, who works in oils, pastels and watercolors, was paired with poet Sylvia Karman.

Whiteman has been a member of the Northwind Fine Arts Gallery since 2014.

She is one of the area’s plein air painters and also works in her local studio.

She has been a juror at many outdoor festivals across New York City and spends most of her summers performing at these events.

“Our Little Town,” his Saranac Lake pastel, won 1st place in the 2019 Adirondack Artists Guild annual competition.

She is a jury member of the Pastel Society of America. His oil and pastel works have been shown in galleries in New York State and other parts of the Northeast; she has had numerous featured solo exhibitions and has taught classes at the Wild Center and View in Old Forge.

Karman is a novelist and poet who divides her time between the Adirondacks and central Maryland, according to her website.

Her work has been published in literary journals, such as Delmarva Review and Blueline, and on various platforms, including Writing the Land. Karman has been a featured artist and guest reader for numerous literary and environmental events, such as MoCoUnderground Reading Series, Scheherazade Project #101Nights, and the Northeast Wilderness Trust Spring Speaker Series.


In the past, the event was held at the gallery located at 85 Main Street in Saranac Lake.

“They were well attended,” Whiteman said.

“But we felt we wanted to expand the event this year, and the Saranac Hotel was very interested in partnering with us. When we met Katie Welsh and Jacob Kipping at the Saranac Hotel, they wanted to have her in the Great Hall.

“They decided it was really going to be something they wanted to do, and we started planning the event.”

There will be a cash bar and the Hotel Saranac is preparing a special menu of tapas and drinks.

“The chef is supposed to come up with a drink and tapas menu that has something to do with poets and poetry,” Whiteman said.

“It will be quite fun. We are on schedule to do it again next year with them.”

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