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Volume 24, Number 6 — June 2017

Age, The Arts & Education: Women Writers in Appalachia & the South

Carol Bell, right, chats with poet Felicia Mitchell after Mitchell's recent presentation,
Carol Bell, right, chats with poet Felicia Mitchell after Mitchell's recent presentation, "Writing From The Heart," during the Virginia Highlands Festival in Abingdon.

By ANGELA WAMPLER | August 26, 2008

Carol Bell, 67, taught English at Bristol Virginia High School and at schools in other school systems. She has continued her interest in reading novels and enjoys discussing participation in the Women Writers discussions at SVHEC was an obvious choice.

Bell says the senior adult classes on Women Writers in Appalachia & the South, held at SVHEC, are "stimulating."

"We have very spirited, lively discussions. People are eager to talk about the books (that are assigned for the class)," she continues. "The class is divided into groups, to discuss things — how the authors build the characters, why they have written like they have, and how they intertwine the stories with the commonalities of rural people and scenery and sense of place — the common thread that connects
all the writers."

The first session Bell attended featured three books by women writers: Family Linen by Lee Smith, In Country by Bobby Anne Mason, and She Walks These Hills by Sharyn McCrumb. One highlight was a surprise visit by McCrumb after Bell saw the author at a Rotary Club meeting and invited her to the older adults class the same day.

Bell says, "Some people mention other books. Everyone goes away with new things to read and a new focus on the Appalachian region and the writers."

Outside the classroom, Bell participates in creative writing workshops at the Virginia Highlands Festival in Abingdon, visits art and photography exhibitions at the festival and at William King Regional Arts Center in Abingdon, and attends productions at the Paramount Center for the Arts in Bristol, Barter Theatre, and in New York.

* * * *
MEET LOCAL SENIORS
who are passionate about The Arts and education.

--ANNE ARMENTROUT, 60, loves words so Improvisation & Creative Movement is right up her alley: "The class provides exercises not only for the body, but also for the mind and imagination."

SEAN O'SULLIVAN, 87, views the College for Older Adults as "a jewel in the mountains." He says, "It's like a social mixer, also. I've met people there that I would not have met otherwise."

ALMA RIGBY
, 73, can usually be found taking one of Virginia Intermont's classes for seniors: "I love to do things with young people."

JOAN HORSCH
, 76, has participated in the Arts Array Film Discussions for 10 years: "The film discussions are really interesting because someone else always sees something you didn't see or has an extremely different impression of what the ending means."

REBECCA HARRINGTON
, 64, has been swept away in The Barter Experience: "I almost didn't go see Dracula, thinking 'how many times do I need to see that production?' But I went to the theatre and I'm so glad I did."

PROGRAMS
for older adults available in the region.

HISTORIC EXAMPLES:
The Arts & the Brains of Older Adults

BACK
to the main story: "The Arts & the Brains of Older Adults."