First-ever Holler Salon planned for August 17 at Firefly Farms!

Introducing a creative extension to our award-winning reading series!

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The Sundress Academy for the Arts is excited to present poet Laura Madeline Wiseman and local artist Chris Johnson in “Art, Myth, and Martians,” the first installment of Holler Salon, an extension of the award winning SAFTA reading series. The event will be held at Firefly Farms in Knoxville at 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 17th.  Holler Salon is an occasional salon series featuring local and national writers and artists. Hosted at Firefly Farms in Knoxville, each salon will provide an intimate setting conducive to discussing and developing the ideas and inspirations of creative individuals from a variety of disciplines.

Laura Madeline Wiseman is the author of more than a dozen books and chapbooks and the editor of Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013). She holds a doctorate from the University of Nebraska and has received an Academy of American Poets award and the Wurlitzer Foundation Fellowship. Her work is imaginative and provocative and has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review, Margie, and Feminist Studies.

For Holler Salon, Wiseman will discuss her playful sci-fi book, American Galactic, as well as selections from Some Fatal Effects of Curiosity and Disobedience, her unique, romantic take on the classic Bluebeard myth.

Chris Johnson is a local, self-taught visual artist with Gallery 133. His work is edgy and engaging and hangs in both public galleries and private collections. For Holler Salon, Johnson will feature his paintings “A Study on Berserk”—an homage to his favorite graffiti artist, Berserk—and “The Madness Vase”—based on the Andrea Gibson chapbook The Nutritionist.


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RSVP for this event on the Facebook page!

SAFTA Announces OUTSpoken A Program for LGBTQ Writers, Artists, Filmmakers, & Performers


Knoxville, TN — OUTSpoken is a new program from the Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA). The goal of this program is to create a platform for the LGBTQ community in Knoxville and surrounding areas to record and perform the experiences of sex- and gender-diverse individuals in the South.

OUTSpoken will begin with a series of writing workshops, where community members will develop their experiences into poems, monologues, narratives, or other literary forms. These pieces will then be revised and eventually performed in a staged reading. Artists from all over can also submit poetry or prose submissions, as well as video submissions of a monologue or film, online.

The workshops, which will run monthly from February through April, will be held at the organization’s headquarters, Firefly Farms, in Knoxville. These workshops will culminate in a staged reading in June 2014, showcasing the works of a wide range of individuals, including those whose experiences demonstrate intersectional issues. Participants will have the option of working with actors to bring their writing to life or performing their writing themselves.

As LGBTQ issues gain greater visibility, it is crucial that we explore the complexities of sex and gender diversity respectfully. In order to create a meaningful dialogue, we must acknowledge and listen to the stories, experiences, grievances, arguments, and counterarguments of all sex- and gender-diverse persons. It is our sincerest hope that this project will illuminate the struggles of Southern LGBTQ persons and celebrate sex and gender diversity in East Tennessee and beyond.

For more information on how to participate or to sponsor an artists, visit: