Who is behind Green Windows?

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Founder, Director and Group Facilitator - Peggy Simmons

Green Windows brings together Peggy's passions: creative writing and fostering communities in which the traditionally voiceless play a vital role and where each person's potential is fulfilled. 

Peggy's experience in brief:

  • Poetry and flash fiction in several journals including SLAB, flashquake (where nominated for a Pushcart Prize), and Word Riot, under the pen name Meg Claudel.
  • Poem “Free Sunset” chosen as part of the Temescal Insitu public art project, currently part of an urban mural.
  • Self-published and edited or co-edited collections from writing workhops: four books and four chapbooks.

In addition to running Green Windows workshops, Peggy currently

You can also see : http://www.linkedin.com/in/peggysimmons

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Green Windows' Roots

Green Windows comes out of Founder Peggy Simmons' experience with two different organizations: The International Fourth World Movement and Amherst Writers and Artists. Both organizations were founded by visionary leaders who grew up in poverty and both were founded with groups of impoverished adults who became leaders and trainers. Both organizations believe art and creativity are vital to social justice. Both are rooted in respect for the individuals who are traditionally voiceless and in the belief that their creative and authentic expression will benefit our whole society.
To become equal partners, presently excluded workers must have access to culture. Access to the means to bring out their own knowledge, to enrich it through access to other forms of knowledge, to take part in the cultural riches of surrounding society, and to become creators, along with their fellow citizens, of a culture for times to come.

Mrs Alwine de Vos van Steenwijk
President of the International Fourth World Movement.
World Summit on Social Development, 6 to 12 March 1995 in Copenhagen.

AWA workshops are not literacy groups or therapy groups. They are writing workshops, whether for the general population, or for under-served populations. In working with low-income adults, we have learned that most have never in their lives experienced being respected as an artist or being told that their own stories are important and beautiful. Writers from privileged educational backgrounds also frequently carry deep scars from school and home experiences that have silenced their own unique voices. The purpose of Amherst Writers & Artists workshops is to free the voice of the writer. Whatever follows upon that freedom is unique for each participant, but it is always good. What we offer is respect for the workshop participant as an artist, regardless of social class or educational level -- to have one's own voice honored and to have assistance in learning craft in a supportive community of writers, without diminishing unique and original voice.

Pat Schneider, author: Writing Alone and With Others
Oxford University Press, 2003, (0-19-516573-x)

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Board of Advisors

Green Windows is advised and supported by many people and organizations. The following have agreed to be formally acknowledged for their support by serving on the Green Windows Board of Advisors. Green Windows thanks them for helping as many people as possible create beautiful, rich writing in true, deep, authentic voices.

Christopher DeLorenzo teaches writing at The University of San Francisco, where he earned his MFA in 1998. He also teaches creative writing classes in the Bay Area and Los Angeles at The Writing Salon and The Writing Pad, and leads training sessions for writing workshop facilitators in the Amherst Writers and Artists method (AWA) in California and Washington state. Since 1999, he has facilitated two on-going weekly writing workshops in his home.

In addition to teaching, Christopher has worked as a freelance writer on-line (most notably for Match.com) and has published poetry and prose in various literary magazines, including the university journals Karamu and The Rockhurst Review. His essay entitled “Without Plums,” is forthcoming in the anthology My Gay Brother.

Jennifer Cross is an experienced group facilitator and has been certified in the Amherst Writers & Artists method (AWA). She received her MA in Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College. She has led writing workshops for survivors of sexual trauma, LGBTQQI youth, student activists, adult learners, and others. She now leads workshops in Writing Ourselves Whole as well as in partnership with local activist organizations.

Jennifer has been publishing her work for a decade in anthologies, newsletters and newspapers. She is currently working on several longer projects as well as generating and polishing shorter pieces.

Shannon D. Schmidt teaches interdisciplinary arts and writing at the University of California at Berkeley Extension Program. She received her dual MFA degree in studio art and writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009 and was awarded the CAAP grant in 2011.

In addition to teaching, Shannon exhibits her work nationally and internationally. She has exhibited her work at Slow, the Macedonia Museum of Contemporary Art and the Sullivan Galleries.  Her writing has appeared in print and online in literary journals, magazines, periodicals and exhibition catalogues. Shannon’s most recent publication is a collaborative renga titled “Waiting,” which was featured in the catalogue Exposed and published by the Helen Day Art Center, 2012.

Erin Scott has done anti-violence and social justice work in non-profit organizations for the past twenty years. She served as a legal services attorney representing teen parents, dis-empowered youth and battered women and as a grantwriter. She now works at a local domestic violence organization where she is deepening her non-profit management skills while continuing to work for social justice.

Erin has written one unpublished novel, a fictional account of a legal services attorney and a young woman she represents who disappears. She is co-founder of BREW Writing Group.

Prior to becoming an independent direct mail copywriter and consultant, Susie Fought worked in nonprofit fundraising for over a decade. She began her career in 1992 at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and in 1999 she joined the consulting team at Mal Warwick Associates, a direct marketing firm based in Berkeley, CA. Over the next six years as senior consultant, Susie developed and implemented direct marketing fundraising programs for dozens of regional and national nonprofit organizations. During her time with Mal Warwick Associates, Susie was also known as “The Answer Woman,” sharing fundraising and direct mail knowledge through her contributions to the agency’s bi-monthly newsletter. 

Susie is currently putting short, intense pieces of writing together into a book that will be a deeply-rooted and bravely honest exploration of elements of her family's history
. She has been participating in several AWA writing workshops since 2004 and is co-founder of BREW Writing Group.

With a background in Art History and Museum Education, Katrina Brashares is now bringing her love of language to her training as an ESL teacher. She has been participating in AWA writing workshops since 2004 and is co-founder of BREW Writing Group. Katrina is currently trying to choose the best agent for her novel Emilie Unfolding.
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fiscally sponsored by http://www.theintersection.org

We are a Member of Intersection for the Arts. Intersection provides resources, community and cultural space in order to contribute to the sustainable practices of artists and arts organizations the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit www.theintersection.org.