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Cornish Students Win Centrum Writing Scholarships

Cornish Students Win Centrum Writing Scholarships

: Tim Sircoloumb, Michele Domanowski and Sarah (Ammon) Swinbank. Photo by Mark Bocek.

The Written Word at Cornish: students Michele Domanowski, Sarah Swinbank and Tim Sircoloumb selected for Port Townsend writers’ conference on Centrum scholarships.

In all the visual and performing arts, work is often talked about in terms of “telling a story.” But sometimes “telling a story” is actually telling a story. The art of writing is not a subject area in which a student can get a degree at Cornish, yet there is a great deal of support for the written word at the college. Proof of this is the recent award of three scholarship for promising student writers to study for two weeks this summer in picturesque Port Townsend at the Centrum Writers’ Conference. The students, Michele Domanowski (AR ‘16), Sarah (Ammon) Swinbank (MU ‘14) and Tim Sircoloumb (DE ‘13), study in different areas, but they’ll be coming together as writers.

“Writing, in general, is an essential means of expression and communication for artists in that it helps them present themselves and their work to the world, says Chris Kellett. “Writing, as a literary art, attempts to recreate felt experience and by doing so, brings us closer to an understanding of ourselves and the meaning we seek in our lives.” Dr. Kellett is chair of athe department of humanities and sciences, which oversees the education of Cornish students outside their chosen discipline. As such she has a great interest in the written word at the college.

The full-tuition and board awards are the result of a scholarship competition co-sponsored by the department of humanities and sciences, the office of the president and Centrum Port Townsend Writers’ Conference.  Students nominated by the humanities and sciences faculty were asked to submit writing samples for competitive review and to identify their interest in attending one of two week-long workshops in fiction, poetry or creative non-fiction. “The review committee was highly impressed by the quality of the submissions,” says Chris Kellett, “and regretted that we had only three scholarships to offer. Cornish has more than a few fine wordsmiths!”

The high quality wordsmiths came from almost every department at the college. In addition to the winners, who represent the departments of design, music and art, the review committee gave honorable mentions to students in dance and theater: Cole Bratcher (MU ‘13), Christine Dickson (DA ‘15), Jasmine Gervais (AR ‘14) and Madeline Marchal (TH ‘13).

The breadth of the interests of the winners and honorable mentions is another indication of the emphasis on interdisciplinary work at the college. “The winners selected exemplify the multi-modal talents of many Cornish students,” says Kellett. “While they may be majoring in the visual or performing arts, they bring the same level of passion to the written word.”

The writers’ conference at Centrum has been going strong for coming on 40 years. “Centrum’s literary programming is a rigorous, craft-focused community for writers, editors, translators, and readers working in a variety of styles,” writes Centrum. The Port Townsend Writers’ Conference, it goes on to say, “has been since 1974 at the heart of the thriving Pacific Northwest literary scene. With a focus on community and rigorous attention to craft, the Conference offers morning workshops, afternoon workshops, residencies, guided freewrites, and a vibrant readings and lectures series presented by vital, contemporary writers.”

“Writing is often a solitary and lonely pursuit,” says Chris Kellett. “Centrum provides the opportunity to engage with other writers in order to inspire, motivate and sustain the creative process.”

The Centrum Port Townsend Writers’ Conference runs July 7-21.


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