• News Release: 6/10/2024



    Photo attached: Writing Retreat at Republic of Letters Books


    MINERAL POINT, Wis.—Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts is excited to partner with the Mineral Point Public Library, Republic of Letters Books, Little Creek Press, and other regional educational, cultural, community, and historical organizations to consider questions of “Where We Live” with the support of an NEA Big Read/Arts Midwest grant in the amount of $20,000. Grant monies will directly enable comprehensive programming that engages the public in free events beginning in the fall of 2024. 


    Offerings will include book clubs, discussions and writing prompts in response to Kao Kalia Yang’s memoir The Latehomecomer with its themes of migration, immigration, family stories, and identity, as well as a visit with Yang in Spring 2025. Little Creek Press and Shake Rag Alley will partner to publish an anthology of essays and nonfiction, sharing stories of community members and their relationships to their own family stories and histories, with a particular focus on personal history and identity, as well as the unique character of the Driftless region. The anthology launch and Yang’s visit are timed to coincide with Shake Rag Alley’s annual Mining Our Stories Writing Retreat in May 2025, with faculty Sheree L. Greer and a focus on memoir. 


    Additional partnerships with the Southwest Wisconsin Cornish Society, Mineral Point Historical Society, Mineral Point Public Schools, the Driftless Writing Center, and faculty at UW-Platteville will enable a broad reach to programming, engaging audiences who approach questions of identity and place from multiple perspectives. The anthology resulting from the project will additionally seek to represent a diversity of voices from the region, sharing a complex picture of place. 


    Shake Rag Alley was founded by local artists and community members in 2004 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to enrich the lives of people in our area through the arts. Today, Shake Rag Alley is essential to the region’s creative economy, drawing thousands annually for overnight and multi-night stays that benefit local communities. The mission of Shake Rag Alley is to provide educational experiences in visual, performing, and literary arts for adults and children; to cultivate the creativity that thrives in our rural community; and to rehabilitate and preserve our historic buildings and rustic campus. The 2024 Youth and Adult programming can be found at https://shakeragalley.org. To be a part of the 20th year celebration, see https://shakeragalley.org/support/.


    Upcoming Literary Events & Workshops at Shake Rag Alley


    Crafting A Sonnet | David Southward | July 20, 2024 | 1-4 PM

    What makes a good sonnet? How do we choose a subject from our fund of experience, and develop it in a compelling way? How can rhyme and meter be used to enhance, not restrict, our meaning? How do we show a reader, not just tell them, what we mean? In this workshop we’ll look at outstanding sonnets to see what makes them tick: pacing, meter, rhyme, metaphor, voice. Then we’ll put our knowledge into practice by drafting a sonnet from scratch. Whether you’re new to the sonnet form or an old pro, you’ll come away with a deeper understanding of poetic craft and a poem you can be proud of.


    Alley Stage Reading Series: Reading Anna K | Fran Zell | September 7, 2024 | 4 PM

    It’s Sylvia’s turn to choose the book and she wants to read Anna Karenina because someone once told her it reveals the meaning of life. Join us at the Alley Stage for a staged reading followed by a talkback with the playwright and actors, and reception on the Art Café patio. (Rain location the Sardeson Studio at 223 Commerce St.) Tickets available online and at the door. More information at https://shakeragalley.org/alley-stage/


    Bespoke Chapbook | Christina Kubasta | September 8, 2024 | 9 AM-3 PM

    Chapbooks can be scrappy & hand sewn or sleek with an ISBN. In this workshop, you’ll sew pages of your writing (or your favorites) into a simple binding with French flaps, and then add ephemera (think photographs, keepsakes, drawings, scraps of precious things) to create a one-of-a-kind object that combines your voice with your creative vision. These art objects are a perfect map of your creativity or a unique gift. Materials fee includes handmade papers, bookbinding materials, and a selection of collage/ephemera materials to choose from. 


    For more information and updates throughout the year, see www.ShakeRagAlley.org, call (608) 987-3292, subscribe to twice-monthly e-newsletters and follow Shake Rag Alley on Facebook and Instagram.



    About Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts

    A nonprofit school of arts and crafts founded in 2004 by local artists and community members, Shake Rag Alley’s 2.5-acre campus at 18 Shake Rag St. in Mineral Point (population 2,500) is a national destination for participants of adult workshops, a robust summer youth program and a host of annual special events. In addition, Shake Rag offers on-site lodging and custom facility rentals for meetings, events and celebrations. For additional information about Shake Rag Alley’s workshops and events, or to request a catalog and information about facility rentals and volunteer opportunities, see www.ShakeRagAlley.org or call (608) 987-3292.


    Christina Kubasta

    Executive Director

    Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts

    18 Shake Rag St., Mineral Point, WI 53565

    (608) 987-3292 | www.ShakeRagAlley.org