JBU's Writing and Arts Festival Welcomes Acclaimed Artists

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Dr. Jacob Stratman, JBU’s associate professor of English, introduces a guest artist to last year’s Giving Voice Festival. This year, the festival welcomes keynote speaker Marilyn Nelson, musician Betty Soo and more to JBU’s main campus.

SILOAM SPRINGS, ARK. (Sept. 13, 2016) – John Brown University’s Giving Voice, the annual festival of writing and the arts, welcomes acclaimed poet Marilyn Nelson, novelist Gina Ochsner, essayist Chris Hoke and singer/songwriter Betty Soo from Wednesday, Sept. 21 to Friday, Sept. 23. The artists will share their work and conduct workshops during the festival.

“My favorite part of the festival is meeting the writers,” Dr. Jessica Wilson, associate professor of creative writing and coordinator of Giving Voice, said. “These are world-renowned, highly acclaimed writers who want to give their gifts to others and pass forward the blessings they have received. It is inspiring to hear their work and their stories!”

The festival begins on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 5:00 p.m. with a book signing by our writers at the Siloam Springs Public Library and continues with an opening convocation featuring keynote speaker Marilyn Nelson and music by Betty Soo on Thursday, Sept. 22 at 10:30 a.m. in the Cathedral of the Ozarks.

Other festivities on Thursday include master workshops for JBU students taught by guest artists. The day’s events will close with a reading in Simmons Great Hall A and C at 6 p.m. where all of the guest artists will share their work and a 7:30 p.m. concert by Betty Soo. This event is free and open to the public.

On Friday, over 200 high school students from Northwest Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri will attend workshops taught by the guest artists and JBU faculty. Each student will be able to select two workshops from a wide range of topics including poetry, nonfiction, songwriting, calligraphy, theater, stop motion film and screen printing.

“I want our high school attendees to devote a few hours to their creative sides – to explore and experiment,” said Dr. Brad Gambill, head of the department of English and Giving Voice workshop facilitator. “They have something to express, and they have permission to do so here on the JBU campus. For our JBU students, I want them to be exposed to great writers and musicians who encourage them and remind them that they too were novices at one point.”

For more information about the event, visit jbu.edu/giving_voice.

John Brown University is a leading private Christian university, training students to honor God and serve others since 1919. Arkansas’ top ranked regional university (U.S. News Best Colleges, 2017), JBU enrolls more than 2,600 students from 40 states and 37 countries in its traditional undergraduate, graduate, degree completion and concurrent education programs. JBU offers more than 39 majors, with top programs including business administration, graphic design, engineering, construction management, counseling, teacher education and nursing.


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