How to attract potential writers
August 23, 2010 10:45 PM   Subscribe

What can we offer to attract locals, part-time locals and/or tourists to our tiny literary arts space?

My colleague and I specialize in recording, editing and publishing memoirs, historical stories, and preservation of SW Florida folklore and recipes.

As native residents, we have sadly witnessed our community devolve to predominantly part-time residents; "snow birds, retirees, and tourists."

We have an opportunity to secure a small 10 x 10 area in cooperation with a visual arts group in a beautiful new retail space with glorious courtyards in the heart of our downtown historic district. Community developers are promoting this space as an "active arts" genre, encouraging local resident as well as visitor participation.

While we envision tourists strolling by to watch visual artists at work, we're not sure how to engage them in our literary arts space.

We have great ideas for the community's monthly "Gallery Walk" (open mic poetry, lyrics, book excerpt readings, live music), but we are somewhat perplexed regarding what we can offer visitors on a daily basis.

Thanks for your suggestions MeFites!
posted by viva viola to Writing & Language (6 answers total)
Do you have pictures of the people whose memoirs you've recorded? Can you play recordings that you've made? I would be happy to stop by a little space which had pictures of people and some short recordings to listen to (using headphones or some sort of directed speakers so as not to create too much noise pollution), and with those two, some collection of excerpts from that person's memoirs, bound together in some sort of laminated "book" which is attached to a podium or something, for longevity in a interactive setting. Some sort of timeline on a wall somewhere could also be useful to give people an idea of what information is your primary concern.

Illustrations for folklore with small captions or actual historical ephemera can draw people into the stories about them. Maybe you could have some collection of mystery objects and have people guess what they are. Maybe you could have one or two more well known Florida-y objects and interact with visitors by giving them the context orally.

Recipes deserve to be blown up to a size readable from a few feet/yards away, possibly with a particularly tasty picture and some information about what makes it particularly SW Florida-y.

Interactive is certainly a little harder--maybe the simplest is to solicit stories from passersby.
posted by that girl at 12:26 AM on August 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Headphones kiosks like you see at Record stores would be great. You could upload all of your audio to a website (or server) and have all the kiosks be directed to that media.

A recording booth/area where people can share their own oral histories and take home a CD afterward.

Annotated listening / storytelling sessions where people can come, sit and listen, and touch artifacts or look at pictures that go with the stories.

A space where people can browse recipes and contribute their own.
posted by jander03 at 4:57 AM on August 24, 2010

What about something like this, adapted for your location and circumstances?
posted by Sara C. at 6:55 AM on August 24, 2010

Is it possible to tie your literary arts endeavors to a cafe in close proximity? Having regular readings at a cafe would be a great draw for tourists and seasonal residents - sit, relax, have a coffee, and listen to the history of Florida. Inexpensive and low-key entertainment.

Advertise readings at the cafe from 2 to 3 pm daily. You could even post what the daily reading is on a folding chalkboard. And it gives you an opportunity to mention where your little kiosk is, and what things you have to offer there.
posted by lizbunny at 7:12 AM on August 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

"snow birds, retirees, and tourists."

There's nothing wrong with that.
I lived in Tampa Bay for 10 years and frequently visit my family down there. I love history and what you guys do sounds like something I would be interested in seeing. Anytime I travel to a new city, the first thing I am interested in are 'history' or 'culture' attractions.

Not all non-residents are void of an interest in local heritage and history.

In fact, retirees would probably love it. I know my Grandfather loved going to History Museums in Florida (like the one in St.Pete and the one in Tampa) when he first moved down.

I think the idea of tying the place in with a cafe is great.

Maybe printing out some brochures and putting them with the others in places such as nearby hotels.
posted by KogeLiz at 8:14 AM on August 24, 2010

Wait, now I'm confused...

title says, "How to attract potential writers"...
posted by KogeLiz at 8:16 AM on August 24, 2010

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