“Girls Own” their identities in creative nonfiction, screen print collaboration

When it comes to identity, our middle school women own the theme.

At the CYC, we believe the individual’s art joins in conversation with the art around it. In a creative nonfiction project called “Girls Own,” our middle school women allow their identities to interact with one another in both written and visual spaces. In a world where we are so often told how to live and who to be, “Girls Own” shows these young writers taking their identities into their own hands. “Girls Own” is a project including both a written chapbook and a collection of screen prints.

To start, the girls wrote creative nonfiction pieces–personal accounts of their lives and experiences. Spanning a variety of topics, the written pieces encounter both the lighthearted day Ja’Nesha got a new phone and Alanna’s reflection on surviving the death of a loved one. Regardless of subject matter, the CYC students take writing seriously, and the result is rewarding for both writer and reader.

Brett Colley, associate professor of printmaking and drawing at Grand Valley State University, visited the CYC to teach the writers about visualization. Writing is a process of capturing images, after all, so that’s just what the writers did; they drew black and white images to represent an aspect of their personalities conveyed in the writing.

The writers took a field trip to GVSU with Brett Colley to study the screen printing process, and created screen prints of the students’ images. The screen prints are currently on display in Rowster Coffee (the corner of Wealthy and James) until the end of May. Chapbooks, which juxtapose the writing and the images, are available in Rowster for a suggested $5 donation. The screen prints will also be featured in ArtPrize in the fall of 2017.

We’re proud of all the work our artists do at the CYC, and we’re grateful for a community that’s so willing to take part in the discussion our art creates. Please stop by Rowster to check out the display and pick up a chapbook!