Enterprise

Reflecting on Inlandia’s 2018 accomplishments and looking forward to 2019 – Press Enterprise


The days between Christmas and the new year are, for me, a peaceful respite. At home in the morning, coffee in hand, I listen to the soft swoosh of the furnace cycling on and off, the burble of the fish tank, birds, and traffic. This past year has been a busy one for Inlandia, so I especially relish this time. Let me catch you up on all we’ve accomplished this year, and what next year has in store.

As a mom, I am passionate about the work we’re doing with kids. From our poetry and prose instruction at Bryant elementary in Riverside, to the Family Reading Con which drew more than 1,100 in March, to a creative writing workshop for young teens at Riverside’s Loma Vista Middle School, to a summer program for children of Afghan refugees at Glocally Connected, this was really a banner year.

All of these programs are again planned for 2019, including Family Reading Con, which, happily, will be held March 2, on Dr. Seuss’ birthday.

As a poet, and a longtime admirer and brief acquaintance of Hillary’s in her last years, the Hillary Gravendyk Prize is also very dear to my heart. I revel in the accomplishments of our poets, so, when Rachelle Cruz — a Hillary Gravendyk prizewinner — received an American Book Award for “God’s Will for Monsters,” I flew to San Francisco for the day just to be present for her. And if there was any doubt about how amazing Rachelle is, there isn’t anymore. In November, Inlandia’s Board of Directors appointed her as Inlandia Literary Laureate. She succeeds Nikia Chaney, and follows Juan Delgado, Gayle Brandeis, and Susan Straight.

Inlandia Executive Director Cati Porter on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017.<br />(Stan Lim, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

As an historic home admirer with a Henry Jekel-designed home right out my living room window, I was ecstatic when Vince Moses and his wife, Cate Whitmore, brought us their manuscript for “Henry L.A. Jekel: Architect of Eastern Skyscrapers and the California Style, 1895-1950,” which became Inlandia’s first crowd-funded book.

In November, we launched to a standing-room-only crowd at Cal Baptist University in the James Complex, and I can’t describe how it felt to be sitting inside a Jekel-designed structure, hearing about his life and work, and how many local buildings Jekel had a hand in. If you happen to pick up a copy of the book (available at Cellar Door Books and the Mission Inn Museum in Riverside), check out the list of all of the known Jekel structures in Riverside. It would make a nice Sunday afternoon to plug each address into GPS and drive.

And, as I’ve confessed occasionally, I got into this business so I could attend more literary and cultural events without having to get on the freeway. It is a joy to be able to offer local authors and culture bearers venues to share their work, and to bring in folks from other places. One of the highlights this year was a film screening and discussion about George Wong and the Riverside Chinatown dig, which maxed out fire marshal regulations for the Culver screening room. We also held a series of Voices Against Violence workshops and readings, both at the Culver and at the Garcia Center, including an accompanying exhibit, for the project initiated by Nikia Chaney, and we participated in outreach events ranging from the Native Voices Poetry Festival to the Tamale Festival to Juneteenth to the Day of Inclusion.

And I can’t give you a recap of the year without bragging about our creative writing workshops. This year, we expanded into Rancho Mirage and Palm Springs and added a workshop in Riverside at the Janet Goeske Center and a second workshop at the Riverside Public Library, for a total of 11 free writing workshops in 8 different cities including specialized community enrichment workshops such as the bilingual Tesoros de Cuentos, held in Casa Blanca, or poetry with the Afghan women at Glocally Connected, or Cartless, for those experiencing homelessness at Path of Life Shelters in Riverside.



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