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Steamboat Magazine

Ecstatic for Ekphrasis

08/06/2019 02:23PM ● By Alesha Damerville

By Alesha Damerville

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – “Ekphrasis,” is a word we don’t hear very often, with roots dating back to Ancient Greece. The word referred to any description of an experience, person or thing, and appeared frequently in the writings of Plato, Aristotle and Socrates.

Ekphrasis’ meaning later evolved into a detailed description or story based on a work of art. It is an art of its own. The story behind the item being chronicled can be fiction or non-fiction, allowing for creative freedom. Shakespeare and Cervantes were impacted by ekphrasis, and it can be found often throughout their work. 

This form of creation became so popular that people participate in competitions not only around the world, but locally as well. 

The Steamboat Art Museum, with support from Steamboat Magazine and Off the Beaten Path, recently hosted Ekphrasis 2019: The Painted Words. Twenty-eight local writers submitted work to be judged for selection for live reading during the event’s reception on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019. The participants were diverse, including writers as young as 12 years old.  

Tales told of tarantulas and bears, and reflected on harder hitting topics such as immigration and homelessness. Steamboat Magazine’s own Melissa VanArsdale submitted a story based on the painting “Dead or Alive” by Vanessa Rusezyk, which was selected for the live reading. The evening ended with Dagny McKinley winning the grand prize for her writing based on the painting “Pawtrait of a Black Bear” by Ginger Gehres.