On January 19th, Frank Juliano became the new Executive Director at The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center. By way of background, The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center is headquartered in the restored Philipse Manor railroad station. Its mission, as Frank stated, “is dedicated to increasing and building appreciation and participation in, and support of, the literary arts on all levels.”
The Writers’ Center offers classes for all levels of writers, presents public readings, conducts outreach work in the communities, and publishes at least one chapbook (small publication of poetry) each year under the imprint Slapering Hol Press (Slapering Hol is Old Dutch for Sleepy Hollow). The Center is the only writers’ center in the country to have their own small press imprint of which two chapbooks from last year received major recognition.
I asked Frank about his background, what his imprint will be, and what his plans are as he takes on this new directorship.
RJ: What is your background?
FJ: I have a varied background in the arts. Most recently, and for the last seven years, I was the Executive Director for the Greenwich Arts Council which promotes a broad range of arts including visual arts, performing arts and literary arts. After successfully increasing the funding base more than two-fold and managing a balanced budget for five years I felt it was time for me to move on. I wanted something new and different in my life. A friend told me about the Executive Director opportunity at the Writers’ Center and here I am.
RJ: What is your vision for the Writers’ Center?
FJ: Since the Greenwich Arts Council promotes a range of arts, I hope to bring that aspect to the Writers’ Center and create the opportunity to think outside of the box – to show that literary arts can include a visual aspect, as well. I’d like to expand and cross-pollinate the literary arts with all other arts. I would also like for the Center to find ways to speak more directly to the community and show that the arts are not a luxury or an “add-on” – something that the schools can cut when there are budget issues. Rather, the arts improve the quality of life and have an impact on our critical thinking.
RJ: What are some of your goals?
FJ: As the Executive Director, working closely with the Board of Directors, committee members and our dedicated volunteer base, one of my goals includes expanding our funding base by finding secure, growing organizations who can contribute and be a part of our many and varied programs. I hope to find these partners through our communities and the current audience, as well as offering more diverse programs that will appeal to new audiences both locally and regionally.
RJ: Any future projects or ideas you can share with us?
FJ: The Writers’ Center is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Press and it is a very important and exciting milestone. That said, I hope to reach out more to the community and generate awareness of who we are and what we can offer. I want people to know that the Center is not an elitist organization, rather we are here to promote the arts on all levels. I’d like to identify collaborative efforts with the communities, Chambers, community boards, and the media. It takes many hands for us to be successful. I plan to approach the school districts to see how we can become partners in arts education and help to supplement what programs are already in place. We are investigating a new course on blogs, an S.A.T preparation course focused on writing essays, and we’d also like to determine how we can help the underserved population. We also plan to update our web site so there can be more two-way communication with our communities via Facebook and Twitter.
Frank also talked about some upcoming and ongoing programs and events at the Writers’ Center including, Open Mike Night, held the third Friday of every month, Slapering Hol Press Second Friday Café (April 9th – 3 poets will be reading), and the regular Hudson Valley Readers Series (April 25th).
For more information on readings, classes and workshops go to www.writerscenter.org or call 914-332-5953. The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center is located at 300 Riverside Drive, Sleepy Hollow, NY. 10591.