2013-14 Poet Laureate Dr. Nathan Brown speaking with students at the Writing in Response to Art program.

2013-14 Poet Laureate Dr. Nathan Brown speaking with students at the Writing in Response to Art program.

Chisholm Trail Heritage Center, Duncan |  501(c)(3) Non-profit  |  www.onthechisholmtrail.com

Chisholm Trail Heritage Center’s Writing in Response to Art program has been introducing Oklahoma 6th graders to the art and culture of the Chisholm Trail, the American Cowboy, and the American West for six years.      

With public funding from the Oklahoma Arts Council, Chisholm Trail Heritage Center (CTHC) gives 6th grade writers from Marlow, Duncan, and Empire the opportunity to hone their skills with the 2013-14 Oklahoma Poet Laureate Dr. Nathan Brown.

Students learn to participate in the artistic process by journaling and using other creating writing techniques to prepare for their encounter with CTHC’s art exhibits. Thus critically and creatively prepared, students enter the galleries and find a piece they want to write about.

Students are asked to exercise their imagination by writing poetry or prose about what has just happened or what is about to happen in the piece they’re observing.

From Tyrannosaurus Rexes (Rexi?) stampeding through the plains, to insightful analysis of a cowboy observing a winter sunset, students’ engagement with CTHC art has, according to staff, “enhanced…staff and guests’ perceptions of the works on display.”

Students’ reflections are made available to future visitors in the CTHC gift shop as a mini-magazine.

In conjunction with private and corporate donors, the Oklahoma Arts Council’s funding is essential to this award-winning program and the mini-magazine it produces, which is reproduced and distributed to scholars and donors – expanding the effects of the Oklahoma Arts Council’s funding beyond the students who immediately benefit from the program.

This story celebrates 50 years of the Oklahoma Arts Council and how the state’s investments have positive ripple effects on communities across Oklahoma. See other stories or follow this link for more information.