Local+Arts=Community

Clark County’s Growing Literary Community

Walking up to the Slocum House for Gallery 360’s first Book Fair this past Saturday, I was greeted by a friendly face. Clark County Poet Laureate Christopher Luna sat at table on the porch with a selection of his anthologies and information about his very successful Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic. He told me he was using his New York voice to coax people into the event.

While he and I chatted, another long-time arts advocate, teacher, and leader Peggy Bird walked up. She organized this event, and is also a romance novelist with many published works she had for sale. Snapping a quick photo of them, I then made my way into the gallery to see what is going on with Clark County’s literary community.

There were over a dozen local writers at tables with their books and promotional material. The first writer I connected with was Marites Castro who was selling her book Chicken Watching. This children’s book is about the friendships and travails of a chicken and a bunny. “I wanted the experience of country living,” Castro says of the inspiration behind her book, “I ended up taking pictures of chickens to see what they were up to.” Her book can be found at the Fort Vancouver Regional Library or for purchase.

There were a couple other children’s authors at a table, Susie Slanina with her books about Metro the Little Dog, and April Bullard with her books “The Sock Thief” and “Good Hepzibah’s Harvest Tales.” I asked them about Clark County’s writers’ community.

“The community is wonderful and supportive. Everybody is constantly sharing,” said Bullard. She told me open mics were where she got her start. Clark County has several writers events, including at the Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries.

Before I left, I chatted with other authors who wrote everything from science-based thrillers to poetry to art books. There was diversity in the kinds of books, as well as the writers, which reminded me Clark County is a community with a culture that is becoming richer and more inclusive all the time.

“We’ve had an amazing response. We’re hoping we can build on this and do one at Christmas. There are a lot of very talented writers in Clark County in just about every genre of writing,” Bird said of the event.

Since I arrived early, I was able to get time with most of the writers, but the crowd of guests was growing as the afternoon progressed. Later, I checked on the Facebook page of Gallery 360 and it looks like they had a great turn out.

The entire arts community in Clark County is getting more connected and growing the scene. Literary art is a part of this narrative, too.

Peggy and Christopher  Peggy Bird and Christopher Luna at Gallery 360

Maureen Andrade

I am the Executive Director of North Bank Artists in the Vancouver Arts District, as well as an artist and writer. Living and working in Clark County for most of my life, I have an appreciation for the good things this community offers. Also, I understand the creative lifestyle from many angles and hope to share some of what I know with my readers.

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