Tag Archives: firefly farms

Sundress Academy for the Arts Announces Feed the Animals! Fundraiser

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Firefly Farms isn’t just home to the Sundress Academy of the Arts; it’s also the home to a herd of animals, including chickens, sheep, and one very photogenic donkey who oversees them all. Your donation of $30, $60, or $90 will help feed a chicken, sheep, or donkey for a whole month!

To donate, go to https://squareup.com/store/sundress-publications/item/feed-the-animals

Every penny of your “feed the animals” donation will go not-so-directly into their mouths in the form of hay, alfalfa, grains, scratch, and other nutritious forage. (They may even pose for a pic in gratitude!) A donation like this also makes a great gift for that person in your life who loves both animals and the arts! And remember, all donations to SAFTA are tax-deductible!

For a limited time only, receive a photo of your less hungry animal! Makes a great holiday gift!

The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is an artists’ residency on a 45-acre farm in Knoxville, Tennessee, that hosts workshops, retreats, and residencies for writers of all genres, visual artists, and more. All are guided by experienced, professional instructors from a variety of creative disciplines who are dedicated to cultivating the arts in East Tennessee.

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SAFTA ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR SPRING WRITER’S COOP RESIDENCIES

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Sundress Academy for the Arts Now Accepting
Spring Writer’s Coop 
Residency Applications 

The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is now accepting applications for short-term writers residencies during the spring residency period for our new Writers Coop during the weeks of January 1st through May 7th. These residencies are designed to give artists time and space to complete their creative projects in a quiet and productive environment.

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SAFTA is located on a working farm that rests on a 45-acre wooded plot in a Tennessee “holler” perfect for hiking, camping, and nature walks. Located less than a half-hour from downtown Knoxville, an exciting and creative city of 200,000 in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, SAFTA is an ideal location for those looking for a rural get-away with access to urban amenities.

 

writer's coop 1The SAFTA Writers Coop is a 10×10′ dry cabin approximately a fourth of a mile from the SAFTA farmhouse. This tiny house is furnished with a single bed, a desk, a wood-burning stove, a deck that looks over the pasture and pond, as well as a personal detached outhouse. While the cabin has neither electricity nor running water, residents will have full access to the amenities at the farmhouse as well as solitude from other residents to write in the rolling hills of East Tennessee.

Each residency costs $150/week and includes your own private dry cabin as well as 24-hour access to the farmhouse amenities.

The application deadline for the spring residency period is rolling. Our application fees have been waived for the spring application period.

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Find out more at www.sundressacademyforthearts.com.

 

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Sundress offers new fellowship donation opportunity


Sundress Academy for the Arts
(SAFTA) is excited to offer a new opportunity for donors and artists to collaborate through our new Fund-a-Fellow program. SAFTA, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, is an artists’ retreat on a 45-acre farm in Knoxville, Tennessee that offers residencies to writers, visual artists, filmmakers, composers, academics, and more. With two residency rooms and a dry cabin on site, we offer a rotating space for nationally recognized and emerging artists in multiple disciplines.

Through this new fellowship program, donors will have the opportunity to allocate their donations toward a specific artist, genre, or vision.

For example, a donor may choose to fund a residency for an artist who is part of a specific marginalized group or an artist who is producing a specific genre of work.

Your tax-deductible donation may be offered to any particular group of artists or writers you wish. Previously funded awards have offered fellowships for people of color, LGBTQIA writers, mothers, Appalachian writers, Tennessee artists, graduate students, women over 40, and more. Upon donation, we will advertise that a new fellowship has been made available and begin accepting applications from artists whose work aligns with your vision. Our staff of editors and qualified outside readers will judge applications.

Donations may come in the following amounts:

A $125 donation covers:

  • 50% of a week-long residency, including lodging, at Firefly Farms in Knoxville, TN.

A $250 donation covers:

  • 100% of a week-long residency, including lodging, at Firefly Farms in Knoxville, TN.

A $500 donation covers:

  • 100% of a week-long residency, including lodging, at Firefly Farms in Knoxville, TN.
  • $250 stipend for travel

A $1,000 donation covers:

  • 100% of a two-week-long residency, including lodging, at Firefly Farms in Knoxville, TN.
  • $500 stipend

As a nonprofit, we rely on the money we draw in from our residency, events, and books to fund our daily operations, but due to the current state of arts funding, the only way for organizations like ours to truly grow and thrive is through the generosity of the public. Donations, community support, and philanthropic patronage help us connect with and support artists and writers. Our efforts have already attracted attention from individuals and organizations in the Knoxville community and beyond, and we hope that you would join them with your financial support.

To learn more about this opportunity, please contact Erin Elizabeth Smith at erin@sundresspublications.com.

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An Interview with Jeb A. Herrin


The Sundress Academy for the Arts’ first writing retreat for veterans and current service members will take place October 7-8 at Firefly Farms. A weekend pass includes one-on-one and group instruction, writing supplies, food, drinks, and all on-site amenities for $75. Tents, sleeping bags, and other camping equipment are available to rent. The event will be open to people of all backgrounds and experience levels. Space at the workshop is limited to 15 people, so reserve your spot today!

On behalf of Sundress, Sean Purio interviewed Jeb A. Herrin, a poet and U.S. Army veteran, who will lead the retreat along with fiction writer and current military service member Jan LaPerle.

Sean Purio: What advice would you give to people making the transition back into the civilian world? If you were to suggest to them a particular book, poetry collection, author, film, what would it be? 

Jeb Herrin: As far as advice, I always make sure I tell my buddies to never go it alone. Even if the transition isn’t a hard one to make, we’ve spent so many years working as part of a team that it doesn’t make sense to try and move back into our old lives on our own. Whether it’s just staying in touch with the friends you served with, reaching back out to the friends you had before you joined, or just making new friends, it’s still good to have someone watching your back.

In regards to recommendations, Yusef Komunyakaa. I love his collection, Dien Cai Dau, but I don’t think there’s a bad Komunyakaa piece.

SP: Is there a particular book, poetry collection, author, or film you would suggest people encounter before going into the armed forces? Why? 

JH: Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried. It sets a realistic precedent of what to expect from military service; not just the job itself, but the diversity of people you meet, and the expectations placed on you by your peers and the civilians who don’t know what it’s like to do the job.

SP: What do you think is the role of cultivating an artistic sensibility—a way of perceiving the world—for those who serve (or have served) in the armed forces?

JH: I think we spend so much of our time in the military looking at things head-on, looking for the best way to overcome obstacles or to accomplish tasks. Looking at these experiences with more of an artistic eye gives us different perspectives by which to judge them, which is really important for our own mental health. Rather than looking back on our time and dwelling on whether we made the “right” choice or the “wrong” choice, we get the opportunity to see more of how our choices affected us on a more personal level. The downside of that is sometimes we get stuck in the bad, and it’s good to have that backup I talked about before to keep us in the good.

SP: It’s a loaded question if ever there was one, but: Why do you write? 

JH: Because it’s fun. It gives me the opportunity to explore ideas, daydreams, storylines that get stuck in my head; not unlike listening to a song because it’s been stuck in your head for the past week. It also gives me the opportunity to read a story that I wish someone else would write.

SP: I’m always curious what books artists are reading. What books have you read recently and what did you find remarkable about them? 

JH: I finally started getting into Brian Turner’s Here, Bullet. I haven’t gotten too far into it yet, mostly because his poems are really visceral and I want to give each of them time to process. I don’t know if this works in with your question, but I’ve also been reading Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series to my son. He’s not quite old enough to get into them on the same level I do, but he keeps bringing the books to me to read for him, so I like to oblige; encourage that spirit of adventure and education that comes with reading. What I really like about Pratchett is his ability to delve into all sorts of different personalities and stories for his characters, and build a real world that mimics our own, while still embracing the wonder and discovery that you get with really good fantasy.

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Jeb A. Herrin was a medic with the 3rd Infantry Division during Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn. He earned his BA in English and MFA in Poetry from the University of Tennessee, where he was the 2016 winner of the John C. Hodges Award for Creative Writing for Poetry. His work can be found in Political Punch and O-Dark-Thirty. Jeb has future plans of blending the world of composition with creative writing as well as finding ways to make the voice of the veteran heard. He lives in Knoxville with his wife, son, and two dogs.

Sean Purio is an active-duty officer working toward his PhD in Creative Writing. He lives in Knoxville, Tennessee.

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Sundress Academy for the Arts Announces Writing Retreat for Veterans


Sundress Academy for the Arts is excited to announce its first writing retreat for veterans on October 7-8, 2017. This two-day retreat at SAFTA’s Firefly Farms is for military veterans and current service members and will be a space for creativity, writing exercises, discussions on ways to write about trauma, advice on publishing, and more. This weekend will be an opportunity to express shared experiences and learn to write your story for a non-military audience.

A weekend pass includes one-on-one and group instruction, writing supplies, food, drinks, and all on-site amenities for $75. Tents, sleeping bags, and other camping equipment are available to rent.

The event will be open to people of all backgrounds and experience levels and will provide an opportunity to work with talented, published fiction writers and poets, including Jeb A. Herrin and Jan LaPerle.

Herrin

Jeb A. Herrin was a medic with the 3rd Infantry Division during Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn. He earned his BA in English and MFA in Poetry from the University of Tennessee, where he was the 2016 winner of the John C. Hodges Award for Creative Writing for Poetry. His work can be found in Political Punch and O-Dark-Thirty. Jeb has future plans of blending the world of composition with creative writing as well as finding ways to make the voice of the veteran heard. He lives in Knoxville with his wife, son, and two dogs.

 

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Jan LaPerle lives in East Tennessee with her husband, Clay Matthews, and daughter, Winnie. She has published a book of poetry, It Would Be Quiet (Prime Mincer Press, 2013), an e-chap of flash fiction, Hush (Sundress Publications, 2012), a story in verse, A Pretty Place To Mourn (BlazeVOX, 2014), and several other stories and poems, and in 2014 she won an individual artist grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission. LaPerle was on Active Duty at Fort Campbell for three years and has spent 12 years as an Army Reservist, most recently as a Career Counselor.

 

Space at this workshop is limited to 15 people, so reserve your place today.

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Sundress Academy for the Arts Presents Form in Fiction: A Workshop

Join us for an exciting writing workshop, “Form in Fiction: How to Use Form to Your Advantage,” which focuses on the ways we can use form to help generate new works of fiction with our own Katherine Bell. This workshop will run from 1PM to 4PM on Saturday, September 9th, 2017 at Firefly Farms, the home of the Sundress Academy for the Arts.

In this workshop, participants will look at a variety of formal short stories, including epistolary stories, fragmented or braided stories, and “unusual” point-of-view-driven stories, to see how the authors work within and beyond their chosen forms to craft successful and impactful short stories. Workshop participants will generate their own short stories inspired by the formal work we’ll encounter and share their work in a creative environment. We will use this workshop to create new work and celebrate the joy of creating while under constraint.

Katherine Bell

Katherine Bell is the current Writer-in-Residence at the Sundress Academy for the Arts in Knoxville, Tennessee. Originally from Frederick, Maryland, she earned her MFA from Eastern Washington University in 2017 and has been published in The Fem, Welter Literary Journal, Connotation Press, and others.

Tickets are $25 or $15 for students, and include instruction, snacks, and drinks.

Reserve your space today!

 

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Meet Our New Reading Series Coordinator: Brynn Martin

As a born-and-raised Kansan, nothing could have prepared me for a rainy-evening drive down curving Tennessee roads to a little house in a holler just outside of Knoxville.

I’d been invited to a SAFTA workshop by Luci Brown, who I met and became friends with through our MFA program at the University of Tennessee. I was new to the state, new to graduate school, and aching for more friends, so I agreed to tag along. I’d heard something about Sundress and a farm from other people in the program, but it wasn’t until we pulled up to the property that I started to get it. I was charmed by the rain-soaked leaves covering the paving stones that lead to the front porch and even more enchanted with what was inside the house – a cozy living room full of other writers excited to talk about craft and generous enough to provide me, a newbie to poetry, with feedback on my work.

The weekly workshop was the gateway to my time with SAFTA and has remained a consistent part of my weekly schedule. Even so, it was the people who kept me coming back and who pulled me further in to the community of writers connected to Sundress. I got involved in Stirring as a guest editor, with Firefly Farms as a diligent-if-untrained farmhand and professional ATV driver, and I’m thrilled to now serve as SAFTA’s reading series Coordinator.

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I fell into indifference with poetry in high school because of AP English classes, but that indifference was transformed into adoration when, during my senior year, a teacher introduced me to spoken word. My commitment to poetry and writing has snowballed since then, becoming a Bachelor’s degree in English and then a Master’s in poetry. My studies informed my desire to make poetry more accessible to a broader audience; poetry is dreamy and I want to share it with everyone. Through my work with SAFTA, I hope to do just that.

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When I’m not hanging out with my SAFTA pals or attempting to write poetry, I’m with my cat, Luna, who is objectively the most beautiful cat there’s ever been. I also enjoy painting, watching Game of Thrones and Parks and Recreation, witty banter, and pretending to know things about interior design and tequila.

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Brynn Martin is a Kansas native living in Knoxville, where she recently received her MFA in poetry from the University of Tennessee. Her poetry has appeared in Public Pool and Contrary Magazine. She loves ee cummings and cats almost equally.

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Open Residencies at Sundress Academy for the Arts

The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is now accepting applications for short-term artists’ residencies in creative writing, visual art, film/theater, music, and more. These residencies are designed to give artists time and space to complete their creative projects in a quiet and productive environment. But don’t just take it from us. Here’s what some past residents have to say:

11698677_512522998894869_6646147797608453617_nA rooster crows. A donkey brays. The ducks and chickens come to greet you at the fence of their coop as you make your way to the wooded path in the foothills for a good midmorning run. These are truly generous and kind people and I cannot wait to go back and do it all over again.”

-Carlo Matos, Chicago, IL

“The SAFTA residency was perfect for me. Time, quiet, and a comfortable setting in the inspired countryside around Knoxville provided all the elements I needed to get a lot of work done. “

-Amy Sayre Baptista, Chicago, IL

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“It is so obvious to anyone visiting for the first time that Firefly Farms is a labor of love. In a week’s time, I was able to finish my first book manuscript and produce a chapbook’s worth of new work. And I haven’t even mentioned the incredible people, yet! The energy of the SAFTA team is inspiring and contagious.”

-Sara Biggs Chaney, White River Junction, VT

“It would be impossible to say all the good things I’d like to say about SAFTA, and my time at Firefly Farms. If you are looking to get away from it all, yet still feel connected to a larger community, then a residency at Firefly is the way to go. I had the solitude and resources (Wi-Fi, computers, printers, a huge library) to ge10641064_381197612027409_6423684484817063294_nt a lot of writing and reading done, yet was still invited to participate in
regular poetry workshops, a science fiction writing workshop, a grindhouse movie shoot, as well as SAFTA-sponsored readings. My time spent was hugely rewarding both in terms of work accomplished, as well as new friends made.”

-Michael Albright, Pittsburgh, PA
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“My week at SAFTA was a perfect opportunity to focus on a complicated work-in-progress. The ‘holler’ is quiet, lovely, and mysterious. And the SAFTA community is incredibly welcoming and completely inspiring. Who says being an artist has to be a lonely endeavor? I left SAFTA inspired and excited to continue my work, having made a lot of progress, and having made new connections with a whole new group of fellow travelers on this narrow path strewn with words.”

-Jennifer McCharren, Montgomery, AL

Each residency costs $250/week, which includes a room of one’s own, access to our communal kitchen, bathroom, office, and living space, plus wireless internet and cable. There may be some scholarships and financial assistance for those with large scale financial hardship; please indicate this in your application if you feel you qualify.

For spring residencies, we are offering one 100% scholarship and one 50%-off scholarship for a week-long residency for LGBTQ-identified applicants. For summer residencies, we are offering one 100% scholarship and one 50%-off scholarship for a week-long residency for a writer or artist of color.  If you are applying for either of these scholarships, please note this in your cover letter.

The length of a residency can run from one to week to two months. We are currently accepting applications for:

Spring Residencies (February 1st to May 29th)

Summer Residencies (May 30th – August 28th)

Our deadline for fall residencies is rolling (query for available dates). The deadline for spring residencies is November 15th, 2015 and for summer residencies it is March 15th, 2016.

Apply today!

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SAFTA Presents.. Monsterworks: A Writing Workshop on Revision

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Sundress Academy for the Arts is holding a new writing workshop in February for both beginning and advanced writers. Hosted by Sundress Publications authors Sarah Ann Winn and M. Mack, “Monsterworks: Hybrid Genres and Revision” focuses on creatively revising unfinished work and promises to send participants home with more than a few Franken-pieces to be proud of.

The success of this workshop depends on how much “body” you bring to work with and how creative you are with slicing up your work and reinventing it! Besides bringing some writing in need of revision and re-imagining, the only requirements for this workshop is that participants bring a journal, pen, scissors, glue/tape. Creativity is also a plus, but if you lack that or lack pages of your own writing to work with, there will be plenty of spare parts to go around.

Sarah Ann Winn lives in Fairfax Virginia. Her poems have appeared or will appear in Bayou Magazine, [d]ecember, Massachusetts Review, Quarterly West, and RHINO among others. Her chapbook, Portage, is forthcoming from Sundress Publications this winter. Her life as a poet-free-range-librarian-workshop-leader is a hybrid work in progress.

M. Mack is a genderqueer poet, editor, and fiber artist in Virginia. Mack is the author of the chapbooks Traveling (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2015) and Imaginary Kansas (dancing girl press, 2015). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Fence, Gargoyle, Menacing Hedge, Finery, The Queer South (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2014), and elsewhere. Mack holds an MFA from George Mason University and is a founding co-editor of Gazing Grain Press, an explicitly inclusive feminist chapbook press. Theater of Parts is hir debut collection and will be released in 2016 from Sundress Publications.

This workshop is for writers of any genre or experience level who want to have fun with words and see their writing in a new light. Monsterworks will cost $25 to attend. Paying early is always recommended to reserve a spot, as they will start to fill up the closer it gets to the event. It will The workshop will be on Saturday, February 7, from 1PM – 4PM at Firefly Farms located at 195 Tobby Hollow Lane, Knoxville TN 37931.

Sign up at the SAFTA website or our online store!

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Jewelry-Making and Product Photography Workshop

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Sundress Academy for the Arts will host their second Crafting for the Holidays workshop. This year’s event will include jewelry-making and product photography workshop led by University of Tennessee lecturers Carrie Sheffield and T.A. Noonan on December 6, 2014 from 1PM-4 PM at Firefly Farms (195 Tobby Hollow Ln. Knoxville, TN 37931).

Participants will practice several fundamental techniques used to produce earrings and pendants, perfect for holiday gift giving, and learn how to take photos for online galleries and marketplaces.

All jewelry-making materials will be provided, and tools will be available for use during the workshop. Bringing a digital camera to use during the photography workshop is recommended.

All participants will be able to take home what they make!

The workshop cost is $25 and can be purchased online at: http://mkt.com/sundress-publications/crafting-for-the-holidays-workshop

Hurry! Space is extremely limited.

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