The Persimmon Creek Writers and Artists Residency is pleased to announce its inaugural summer of creative residencies will take place in Arrow Rock in June and July.
The Persimmon Creek Artists and Writers Residency is an initiative designed to bring emerging and established writers, artists and musicians to live and work in the Village of Arrow Rock. The program was established by an advisory board of private citizens, including current and former residents of Arrow Rock, Marshall, and Kansas City, Mo. In addition to hosting creative visitors in the village, the program hopes to introduce the Village of Arrow Rock to a wider national creative audience; recognize the historic presence of African American lives in Arrow Rock; and enrich present-day awareness of these one-time residents.
For nearly 60 years, Arrow Rock has been recognized as National Historic Landmark for its historical importance and the foundational role it played in westward expansion. At one time, the village was also home to a significant African American community consisting of both enslaved and emancipated Black peoples. Today, much of this communitys story remains obscure, but the evidence of its presence is visible in many Arrow Rock landmarks, among them Browns Chapel, the Brown Lodge and Black History Museum, and the stone gutters of Main Street. Alongside its mission to host talented artists and writers, the Persimmon Creek Writers & Artists Residency hopes to reengage with this rich history.
The residency is named in honor of the novel Persimmon Creek, a 1938 publication by Marshall author and native Nellie Page Carter. Designed for young readers across races, the book tells the story of two Black children who visit their grandmother in a settlement near Arrow Rock called Persimmon Creek. It was the first of Carters four novels, and the author based her work on three years of research in Arrow Rock. As a result, Persimmon Creek offers a rare glimpse into the villages historic African American community, and it reflects important Black landmarks, including the local church, school, and a juke-joint in the east end.
Appropriately, guests of the Persimmon Creek Writers and Artists residency will reside in a refurbished cottage at 706 High St., which stands in the footprint of the former parsonage for Browns Chapel Free Will Baptist Church. During their two-week stay, residents will have time and space to themselves to work on creative projects. At the end of each session, residents will discuss their creative work in a presentation open to the people of Arrow Rock and the general public and hosted at the historic Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre.
Save the dates for the first two presentations on the evenings of July 1 and July 16. Tickets will be free and will be available starting next week. Watch this newsletter or the Persimmon Creek Facebook page for details.
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