As a kid I remember each new school year would start with sharpened #2 pencils in hand and a brand new black-and-white composition book open and ready for the first assignment… how to make my trips to the community pool or fishing for shiners in the pond at the local park sound inspiring.
It was always a challenge. But it also signaled the start of a new and exciting adventure. It is much the same here at The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center. Our summer was filled with workshops and readings, bringing together writers, artists, and musicians from all over the world. New partnerships were formed and the resulting opportunities from these alliances will be seen over the months and years to come. The month of August was dedicated to tying up loose ends in our move back to the Philipse Manor train station, in the continual pursuit of organizing and increasing the efficiency of the office, and in dreaming and planning for the year ahead.
We have such wonderful plans for the fall. This year we will be offering over 41 different workshops and classes from September through December – more than double offered at the Writers’ Center at any given time – as well as 10 readings featuring contemporary writers from the Hudson Valley and surrounding areas, a Pulitzer Prize nominee, and a Nobel Peace Prize winner! And a major highlight of the fall season will be our annual fundraiser, Havana-on-Hudson, scheduled for Saturday evening, October 2.
But in order to fully realize and appreciate our goals for the coming year, we must take the time now to reflect on all we did and intended to do, the successes and failures of these past months. It’s easy to remember what went right. We felt happy and proud and that’s how it should be. But growth is truly aided by looking at those times when we fell a little short of the mark or the times where, when faced with a new and untried opportunity, we resisted the change. It’s easy to be comfortable and enjoy what works. There’s nothing wrong with this. It sustains us. But our very mission as an arts organization is to go beyond what’s comfortable. Personally, I would rather fail at something new than not challenge my limits and myself. As supporters of the arts and, in some cases being artists ourselves, we must embrace the new idea. Change is happening around us whether we act on it or not. It is a simple equation: change plus movement equals growth. So as we face the beginning of the new season here in Sleepy Hollow, let’s pick up our pencils and open our books to a new, clean page…. and begin. ©
[blockquote class=blue]Frank Juliano is the Executive Director of the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center. Telephone 914-332-5953 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .[/blockquote]