EKPHRASIS: Writers Responding to Art

Red Brick Gallery Exhibit

EKPHRASIS: Writers Responding to Art

Weekends from May 31 to June 30

In his second year as Artistic Director of the Red Brick Gallery, acclaimed western Pennsylvania landscape painter Jason Floyd Lewis has curated a season with several collaborations, including this between writers of the Bridge Literary Arts Center and visual artists of Arts Oil City and the region: “Connecting artists with one another and with a greater audience, is one of the most exciting things about what is happening at the Red Brick Gallery.”

Opening on Sunday, June 2 with a poetry reading and wine/cheese reception from 4 to 6 PM is an exhibit featuring fifteen poets and fifteen visual artists from the region, “EKPHRASIS: Writers Responding to Art.” 

Inspired by frequent ARCA poet colleague and long-time Clarion University professor now affiliated with the Bridge Literary Arts Center, Phil Terman said: “The literary landscape between Erie and Pittsburgh is one of Northwest Pennsylvania’s best kept secrets, housing an ever-evolving community of writers inspired by the diverse people, places, and atmosphere of our unique region. The Bridge Literary Arts Center is thrilled for the exceptional opportunity to partner with our area’s inspired visual artists to create what the Greeks called “ekphrasis,” crafting a collaborative work of art.

The Red Brick Gallery poetry reading and reception for the opening of the poetry and art collaborative – EKPHRASIS: Writers responding to Art – is Sunday, June 2 from 4:00 to 6:00 PM – presenting the work of 15 writers responding to 15 visual artists from western Pennsylvania in the RBG Upstairs Gallery.

The June 2nd poetry reading from 4 to 6 PM is a perfect opener for the ARCA concert at 7 PM in Lincoln Hall featuring the powerful self-revelatory lyrics and boundary-breaking bluegrass music of BECKY BULLER and her Band from their newest album – JUBILEE – released on May 17. Becky Buller is an acclaimed national touring Grand Ole Opry and 10-time IBMA singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has written songs for three Grammy award-winning albums. To reserve tickets, call 724-659-3153 or buy online: alleghenyriverstone.org

Concert tickets are Adults $30, Members $25, and Students $5.  To reserve and pay by cash to check at the door, call 724-659-3153 – or buy online here. 

There is no admission for the poetry reading and wine and cheese reception in the Red Brick Upstairs Gallery.

Jason Floyd Lewis said of this celebration of literary and visual arts, “When I began discussing this collaboration with poet Phil Terman of the Bridge Literary Ats Center, I saw it as an opportunity to connect our audience, and our cooperative members at the Red Brick Gallery, with a broader range of artists and writers than ever before. I requested assistance from co-curator Barbara Pierce of Arts Oil City. Bringing her experience with collaboration and arts promotion, she was able to put me in contact with several established regional artists with whom I was not familiar. For example, some members of the Roycroft collective, the Northwest Pennsylvania Artists’ Association, and participants in the artist relocation program in Oil City, have been included in this exhibit.  Thanks to Barbara, we together have collected a distinctive group of artists from all over Northwest Pennsylvania.

The poetry facet adds a unique dimension to the visual arts exhibit. I imagine this will be a new experience for many of our viewers. And what an intimate relationship has been established between two creators!  The process of contemplating another’s artwork and composing a response – and the opportunity to hear a poem written specifically about your own work – this is something special.

I hope this exhibit will foster connectedness and build bonds between the creators, and with our audience. I know it will serve as a celebration of the diverse creative talent that is flourishing in our region!”

Weekends from May 31 to June 30

Weekend RBG hours are: Fridays, 1-6 PM; Saturdays, 11 AM to 7 PM; and Sundays, 12 noon to 5 PM at RBG, 17 Main Street, Foxburg, PA 16036.


Poetry and Art Collaboration

Ekphrasis: Brady Buchanan and Karl Jacobson

Karl Jacobson – Coal Tipple

Buchanan, Brady

Brady Buchanan is a lifelong resident of Venango County. He is active in several writing groups and is a member of the steering committee for The Bridge Literary Arts Center.  His poems have appeared in The Watershed Journal and the North/South Appalachia Anthology. He uses his experiences in the small towns and woods of our region to inspire his work.


Ekphrasis: Raymond Gerrard Bugay and James Stewart

James Stewart – Young Poet

Bugay, Raymond Gerrard

Raymond Gerrard Bugay has written poetry for 45 years under the pen name Girard Tournesol.  He has been published locally, regionally and nationally by the likes of Adelaide Literary Magazine, Tiny Seed, North/South Appalachia, Poets Against Racism & Hate, and Poets Choice Awards. He founded Quimby, Pickford and Cheshire Publishing company, a philanthropic press, with a mission to publish work by local writers at no cost to them. The press has published several books of fiction, nonfiction and poetry.  Raymond is a native of Northwestern Pennsylvania, where he grew up in a small coal town.


Ekphrasis: Cory Childs and Richard Sayer

Richard Sayer  – Weary Christ

 Childs, Cory

As keen on ekphraksis as ekphrasis, Cory C. Childs is a classically trained composer, poet, writer, and mythical creature comfortably situated in the reposed rural rectitude of Franklin, Pennsylvania.  They spend perhaps too much time with old, spooky books, and fritter away even more translating Ancient Greek with a focus on cosmogonic myth, Orphic and otherwise.  If you’d care to see such pretension on full display, do be sure to dive into my, or rather their, recently self-published first book of all time ever, A Little Orphic Initiation: Three Easy Pieces for Prose, Poetry, and Piano.



Ekphrasis: Cindy Eckert and Andrew Hazelton

Andrew Hazelton – Gliding

Eckert, Cindy

Cindy Eckert is a retired English and Creative Writing teacher of 37 years. She has resided  in Oil City since junior high and enjoys the change of the seasons and the beauty that the Allegheny River and Mountains lend to her life. She is active in the community and serves on the Board of Directors of the Oil City Arts Council, the Grafitti Gallery Committee, and the steering committee of the Bridge Literary Arts Center. She enjoys spending time with her 4 grandchildren, 2 grand dogs, and all things horse. She appreciates that in retirement there is time to wander and wonder and write.



Ekphrasis: Austin Gray and Kathe Umlauf

Kathe Umlauf – Screech Owl

Gray, Austin

Austin Gray is a writer and a musician. He currently works at a small local newspaper, but someday dreams of being able to live off of his writing. He holds a BA in Music Performance with a focus in Creative Writing from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. His work has been published in “Every Day Fiction” and “Rock, Scissors, Paper” as well as in “The Wordsmiths,” a novel released by Hollow Oak Press, a local press based in Oil City where he is also a Layout Editor.



Ekphrasis: Aster Grim and Marcy Hall

Marcy Hall – World Bearing Turtle

Grim, Aster

Aster Grim is a writer and visual artist hailing from Orlando, Florida. While they’ve been creating and putting stories to paper since they could hold a crayon over construction paper, poetry is a newer love that they are thrilled to explore in tandem with our region’s brilliant artists. Aster’s biggest influences and inspirations are fairy tales, mythological stories, and Japanese anime, and they’re awestruck by this region’s beauty and talent. They hold a degree in Media Studies with a focus in Screenwriting from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a Master’s in Communication from Queens University of Charlotte.


Ekphrasis: Bryon Hoot and Keith Hileman

Keith Hileman – Autumn

Hoot, Byron

Byron Hoot was born and raised in Appalachia.  Left.  And returned. Lives in The Wilds of Pennsylvania.  Retired.  He is a nemophilist:  One who is fond of forests or forest scenery. A haunter of the woods. Someone who regularly spends time in a particular place.This is not escapism.  It is in the tradition of Thoreau, Leopold, Berry and others who see our humanness in our response to the land.  How we treat the land as a reflection of how we treat ourselves and others.  The responsibilities inherent from our first to our last breath.  The privilege of being alive.  So he writes of what he knows in hope of a “new heaven and earth” where we can be the brothers and sisters we are.


Ekphrasis: Tracy Lander-Garrett and Jamie Hunt

Jamie Hunt – October Sunrise with Fog Rolling Downstream

Lander-Garrett, Tracey

Tracey Lander-Garrett holds an MFA in Poetry from Brooklyn College and a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Connecticut. After thirteen years of teaching college English in NYC, Tracey moved to Central Texas where she taught Creative Writing for Austin Public Library. She has had poetry and prose published in Mid-America Poetry ReviewBrooklyn Review, and Connotation Press, and she is the author of a supernatural suspense series. A collection of poems, titled Making Out at the Buddhist Monastery awaits publication by Dr. Cicero Books. Tracey now lives in Oil City, PA with her husband and four cats.


Ekphrasis: Garth Porter and Mary Hamilton

Mary Hamilton – Journey

Porter, Garth

Garth Porter is a truck driver from Western Pennsylvania.


Ekphrasis: John Miller and Greg Clary

Greg Clary – Bashful Cow

John Miller

From 1985-1995 John V. Miller was one of a half-dozen core members of The Binghamton Community Poets, a New York State Council on The Arts (NYSCA) funded organization which served to bring live poetry, fiction, and musical performances to Binghamton, New York. During those years John worked in a variety of capacities ranging from contacting and contracting performers to promoting and advertising events to filling out annual reports. From 1996-2022 John served as a board member for the Clarion County Arts Council in Clarion, Pennsylvania, promoting a wide-ranging array of artistic events. John is a writer and his works have appeared in numerous literary publications. His poetry, fiction and essays have been published in: ‘The Academic and Arts Press of Colorado’, ‘Concourse’, ‘Fell Swoop’, Mesechabe’, ‘Sprout’, ‘Wail’, ‘The Oil City Review’, and ‘The New England Café Review’. He has authored several chap books, short story collections, and two unpublished novels. His short story collection, ‘What Else Do You Want’, was published by Lavender Ink Publishers, New Orleans, and is available through them or through Amazon.


Ekphrasis: Barbara Rumore and C J Hurley

C J Hurley – River Alph

Rumore, Barbara

Barbara retired from public health nursing administration and moved to Vieques, PR where she lived for 13 years. A native of Oil City, she settled in Franklin upon her return to NW PA.   Barbara’s avocation for fitness became a career teaching fitness which shifted to swim instructor. The world around her,  poetry, and  life experiences are her inspiration. She is a member of Poets Against Racism and Hate and The Bridge Literary Arts Center.  She’s had poems published in the Bridge Literary Arts Journal.  Watching her parents volunteer has been her guide for volunteering throughout her life.


Ekphrasis: Deborah Sarbin and Rafi Perez

Rafi Perez – Source of Happiness

Sarbin, Deborah

Deborah Sarbin writes from Clarion, Pennsylvania, where she teaches at PennWest-Clarion  University. Her poetry has appeared in Pandemic Evolution: Poets Respond to the Art of Matthew Wolfe, Maya’s Micros, Tiny Seed Literary Journal’s blog, The Bridge Literary Journal, and The Watershed Journal. Her collaborative work has included reading her poetry with singing ensemble Alium Spiritum’s “I’ll Fly Away” performance in Brookville, July 2022. She has participated in an online Renshi poetry group since 2018. Travel and her two cats help provide inspiration, as do long walks on local Rails-to-Trails.


Ekphrasis: Juanita Smart and Anne Cutri

Anne Cutri – Sun Drenched Vineyard

Smart, Juanita

Juanita has published her work in About Place Journal, River Heron Review, San Pedro River Review, and Rise Up Review, among others.  She finds nourishment and joy in the company of other writers and nature lovers, and drafts her best ideas for poems while exploring local Pennsylvania game lands with her galumphing dogs, Gabe and Wilson.


Ekphrasis: Phil Terman and Mike Hoover

Mike Hoover – One of the Apples

Terman, Philip

Philip Terman’s books include This Crazy Devotion (Broadstone), Our Portion: New and Selected Poems (Autumn House) and, as co-translator, Tango Beneath a Narrow Ceiling: The Selected poems of Riad Saleh Hussein (Bitter Oleander).  A selection of his poems, My Dear Friend Kafka (Nimwa Press, Damascus) was translated into Arabic by Saleh Razzouk.  His poems and essays appear in many journals and anthologies, such as Poetry Magazine, The Kenyon Review, Poetry International, The Sun, The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish Poetry, and Extraordinary Rendition: American Writers on Palestine. He directs The Bridge Literary Arts Center, a regional writer’s organization in western, PA, and is co- curator the Jewish Poetry Reading Series, sponsored by the Jewish Community Center of Buffalo. Terman conducts poetry workshops and coaches writing hither and yon. He’s collaborated with composers, visual artists, and performs his poetry with the jazz band Catro.


Ekphrasis: Patricia Thrushart and Julia McCray

Julia McCray – Peekaboo Moon

Thrushart, Patricia

Patricia Thrushart writes poetry and biographies from her home in the Pennsylvania Wilds. Her fifth and latest book of poems, Goddesses I Have Known, was put out by QPC Publishing with proceeds benefiting a local domestic violence shelter. Patricia’s poems have been published in numerous journals. She is co-editor of the blog and anthology series for North/South Appalachia and co-founder of the group Poets Against Racism & Hate USA. In 2021 her work was chosen for an award-winning anthology of Ohio Appalachian voices, I Thought I Heard a Cardinal Sing. She’s had poems included in the “Women of Appalachia Speaks” series. Her narrative nonfiction book, Cursed: The Life and Tragic Death of Marion Alsobrook Stahlman, was published in December 2021 by Adelaide Books.


There is no admission for the exhibit opening.  For those wishing to attend the concerts, you may call for reservations to (724) 659-3153 to pay cash or check at the door, or pay by credit card and buy online here.

And while at the RBG, be sure to save time to shop for that special gift from the first floor offerings of talented Cooperative Artists from the region.

While in Foxburg, enjoy a walk along the Allegheny River trail or rent bicycles or enjoy a pontoon ride with Foxburg Tours in the morning or early afternoon!  Have lunch at the Allegheny Grille with seating overlooking the Allegheny River, or for more casual fare, at Foxburg Pizza with salads, sandwiches and pizza.


Save time to savor a gourmet coffee and hand made chocolate at Divani Chocolatier and Barrista   and enjoy wine tasting or enjoying wine flights on the newly remodeled patio at Foxburg Wine Cellars.

Make a weekend of it and spend the night in Foxburg in the lovely Foxburg Inn

Or if the Foxburg Inn is sold out, stay up the river at the Emlenton bed and breakfast, The Barnard House.

The 2023 season Red Brick Gallery and Gift Shop hours are Fridays 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM, Saturdays 11:00 PM –7:00 PM, and Sundays 12:00 noon – 5:00 PM.