"Working," a Reading and Discussion Group at The Open Eye Theater

In a unique collaboration, the New York Council for the Humanities has joined forces with The Open Eye Theater, 960 Main Street, Margaretville, to offer “WORKING” a reading and discussion series that runs from October 1st to December 3rd (meeting every 3 weeks)   

Pre-registration is Tuesday, September 17th, 7:00 – 8:00 pm at The Open Eye Theater.  “With its thematic focus, this reading and discussion program offers an unusual twist on the standard book group format by making time for thinking deeply about one idea, over time, from a variety of perspectives,” says Sara Ogger, executive director of the Council.

Group participants will come together over the course of four ninety minute sessions to explore questions about the conceptof  Work:  how we expend our energy in vocations or avocations when volunteering or in retirement.  The discussion facilitator is Gail Lennstrom.   Ms. Lennstrom graduated from Mount Holyoke College and Columbia University College of Physical Therapy. and has worked and volunteered for over forty years in a variety of settings including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and home care agencies .She trained as a Spiritual Director in a two year program at Mercy Center in Madison, CT, and has facilitated a wide variety of workshops and programs exploring Health and Wellness; the creative process using “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron; and has been a Program Co-Facilitator of Alternatives to Violence in Prisons, Schools, and the Community.   She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the MARK Project and a Trustee of The Open Eye Theater.  Ms. Lennstrom facilitated a Reading and Discussion group on ‘Growing and Aging”  in winter/spring 2013.

This program will focus on how to find enjoyment in employment – satisfaction in what we do.   A key text in the series is “The Rise of the Creative Class: and how it’s transforming work, leisure, community, & everyday life”  by Richard Florida.  Group exploration of how to expand creativity in the expression of who we are (our personal identity) and what we choose to do in life (our ‘work’ identity) will be a key theme.   Other texts include an unusual adaptation of the classic Studs Terkel’s “Working” by famed comic artist Harvey Pekar (American Splendor)  and “Vital Signs: Work”  which is an anthology of short stories and book excerpts from the Great Books Foundation.   As facilitator,  Ms. Lennstrom was excited to be introduced to “Lapham’s Quarterly: Lines of Work”  which culls descriptions of  work from 2000 years of literature; history, anthropology and the visual arts.  

“This collaboration with the New York Council for the Humanities provides a particularly exciting opportunity for The Open Eye Theater,” said producing artistic director Amie Brockway.  “The Reading/Discussion Program enhances our focus on literature and poetry, and the topic of “Working” is meaningful on many levels. We’re thrilled to be able to enhance our program and serve our diverse community in this new way.”  

The program is free and open to the public, although pre-registration is required, and contributions to The Open Eye Theater are welcomed.  The program is limited to 15 participants. All texts are on loan from the New York Council for the Humanities and will be distributed at the orientation session. To pre-register, please phone The Open Eye Theater at 845-586-1660 or e-mail openeye@catskill.net and plan to attend the pre-registration and orientation session on Tuesday, September 17th, from 7:00 – 8:00 pm.  The four reading/discussion dates are Tuesday October 1, October 22,  November 12,  and December 3  all at 7:00 - 8:30 pm.  Attendance at ALL sessions is strongly encouraged to enhance the continuity of the group discussions. For further information please phone 845-586-1660.  

Something special happens when we talk about what we read with others in our community. The New York Council for the Humanities’ Adult Reading & Discussion programs are designed to foster active reading and thinking, incorporating texts that serve as catalysts for civic engagement and cultural understanding, as well as personal reflection. Adult Reading & Discussion programs are currently being held in communities across New York State.

For more information about “Working” visit www.theopeneye.org.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of either the Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.