Weekender

‘Intergenerational celebration of women and words’ coming to The Makery in State College

Women storytellers, singers and songwriters are set to share their work at The Makery on Friday during Ladies Open Mic Night.
Women storytellers, singers and songwriters are set to share their work at The Makery on Friday during Ladies Open Mic Night. Centre Daily Times, file

Women’s voices will take the spotlight on Friday when local writing organization Write to Shine hosts Ladies Open Mic Night at The Makery.

The free event is part of First Friday in downtown State College.

“We have singers, songwriters, and we have storytellers,” said Carolyne Meehan, who runs Write to Shine with Katie O’Hara-Krebs. “People are going to be reading poetry, and really what we’re hoping and really what it’s turned into is what we were thinking, an intergenerational celebration of women and words, women in their own words. It’s all original.”

Ladies Open Mic Night — which will include performances by local female musicians and writers — is part of a number of offerings by Write to Shine, which emerged on the State College scene a few years ago. It has multiple layers of programming, including an upcoming Mindful Writing for Teens workshop, a beginners’ ukulele class, ukulele and writing camps this summer, and ongoing Mindfulness Writing and Writers Meetings.

“We’ve always tried to make writing accessible,” Meehan said, “and not this mysterious thing that only ‘writers’ do. We approach it as a really human thing and encourage people to share their stories and tell their stories and to listen to other stories, and really it’s the same approach with music. We’ve been offering some Ukulele 101 classes that have been really popular.”

Another goal of the business is to get people to connect, Meehan said.

“We started it as a writing series at first,” she said. “It was a three-part write, reflect and shine, and it was just the name of the workshop. We found that people just really liked the storytelling aspect of it, and connecting mindfulness to it is something both of us had been working on individually in our own lives, and finding writing in that way was helpful for our own introspection.”

I’ve attended one of the Writers’ Meetings and it was a great time. We all sat around a table, shared a little about ourselves and our interests in writing, and then followed Meehan and O’Hara-Krebs’ lead on a variety of fun writing activities. They were all designed to nurture our creative sensibilities and provide a safe and friendly venue for sharing what we came up with. Honestly, I can’t wait to go back.

Write to Shine started as a heartfelt way to help people dive into their writing as a form of creative expression and self-expression, and also as a way to cultivate people seeing their light and sharing it with the world. Additionally, in a way, each and every offering Write to Shine puts together is a mindfulness practice, a way to align with the stillness, to see the truth, and better see the interconnectedness of all things, including each other.

“Those ladies who did that first workshop with us, they’re some of the same people who meet with us every other Tuesday three years later,” O’Hara-Krebs said. “The feedback and accountability piece is what a lot of people need to keep moving with anything.”

The Ladies Open Mic Night is one of a slew of events The Makery hosts — First Friday or not.

“The Makery is always thrilled to bring our community together on First Fridays,” Makery Owner Amy Frank wrote. “But this one is extra-special. So many talented, local women will share their gifts in a fun, supportive, vibrant space.”

Ladies Open Mic Night starts at 6 p.m. Friday at The Makery, 209 W. Calder Way, State College.

Kevin Briggs is a musician, writer and teacher who performs at venues throughout central Pennsylvania. Contact him at KevinTBriggs@gmail.com
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