Writing From Art:

Poetry, Prose, and the Lyric Essay


Thursday April 6th, 13th, and 20th | 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Please note that this is a 3-session workshop


                                                 Tickets: $30 – includes all three sessions.                                                 


Explore the possibilities of creative writing and develop new connections between visual art and the written word! Led by published poet and scholar Star Black, this 3-session literary workshop will focus on the idea of Ekphrasis, an ancient Greek term meaning “the use of detailed description of a work of visual art as a literary device.”

Inspired by the works featured in Return to a Place By the Sea, participants will generate a series of creative texts detailing their unique experiences of selected works in the exhibition. Poets, writers, and anyone fascinated by the interweaving of art and literature is welcome to attend, no prior writing experience is needed!

Each session will begin in the Library at The Church, meeting from 11:00am – 1:00pm on Thursday, April 6th, 13th, and 20th. During the first session, participants will be guided through an exclusive tour of Return to a Place By the Sea, led by April Gornik, co-founder of The Church and co-curator of the exhibition! All sessions will conclude with a group reading of written texts, sharing thoughts and ideas. As Black says: “Writing from art invites you to look closely at a work of art that you are drawn to and create your own work out of that experience. Much like sketching in front of a painting at The Met, the painting remains there but the sketch is yours.”


Due to the intimate nature of this workshop, the total capacity will be limited to 12 participants. A notebook and pen or pencil are the only required materials for this workshop – these will not be provided.


Star Black

Star Black is a poet, photographer, and visual artist. After arriving in New York City in 1977 as a photographer for United Press International, she went freelance in 1980, photographing for The New York Times, the Museum of Modern Art and other clients while studying poetry at Brooklyn College with John Ashbery and earning an MFA degree in 1984. She is the author of seven books of poems, the most recent being The Popular Vote that addresses the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election. Her collages and artist books have been exhibited at Poets House and The Center for Book Arts. She co-founded the KGB Bar Monday Night Poetry Series in the East Village in 1997, which continues today, and has taught poetry at The New School and Stony Brook University.

Return to a Place by The Sea

Return to A Place By the Sea revisits and recontextualizes the 1999 exhibition A Place By the Sea that celebrated the work and friendship of four African American artists: Nanette Carter (b. 1954), Gregory Coates (b. 1961), Al Loving (1935-2005), and Frank Wimberley (b.1926). Initially organized in 1999 by Jim Richard Wilson at the Rathbone Gallery of the Russell Sage College in Albany, the show traveled to Christine Nienaber Contemporary Art in New York and the Arlene Bujese Gallery in East Hampton. This February, thanks to the combined curation of The Church’s Co-Founder April Gornik and Chief Curator Sara Cochran, we will explore the type of art these artists were making in the 1990s and update this conversation by exploring their more recent work. Our goal is to deepen the understanding of these influential artists, who have only begun to receive international acclaim for their work. The show also delineates a more inclusive history of abstract painting in New York in the late 20th century and looks beyond the historical standard of race and gender. Uniting some works from the original show with recent paintings, works on paper, and sculpture, Return to A Place By the Sea highlights the relevancy of each artist of “The Eastville Four.” Given that for a time, all four artists lived part of the year in the Eastville/ SANS neighborhood to the east of Sag Harbor, this exhibition further honors the tradition of Sag Harbor as a maker’s place of diverse art, industry, and craft practices.


The Church was established in 2019 by artists Eric Fischl and April Gornik. Housed in a deconsecrated 19th century church, its doors were opened in April 2021. Our mission is to foster creativity and to honor the living history of Sag Harbor as a maker village. The East End represents an exceptional artistic legacy, spanning the practices of indigenous art of several centuries ago, Abstract Expressionists of the mid 20th Century, and the many celebrated writers, makers, musicians, and visual artists of the recent past and current moment. Core programming includes visual art exhibitions, concerts and events, educational programming, workshops, lectures, and an artist’s residency.


The Church

48 Madison Street

Sag Harbor, NY 11963 



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