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An equation of words and images

Work by Alexa Wajed


October 8 – November 1


reception October 25 at Buffalo Arts Studio

buffaloartsstudio.org, 883-4450


High school English teacher and poet Karen Eckert found that her students were giving up too easily when it came to creative projects. As she mused upon how to kickstart this process, one idea stood out. Present the students with something to challenge their thought processes and possibly inspire them.


As prelude to this educational plan, Eckert has done her own “call and response” project with seventeen WNY-based artists. It’s a bit complex. First, Eckert presented each artist with a poem she had written. The artists had to use the exact titles of the poems and create artworks that responded to the written works. Then, each artist presented Eckert with an artwork, so that Eckert could create a poem responding to that artwork and using the same title. The resulting equation: 17 + 17 + 17 + 17 = 68.


All sixty-eight poems and artworks are on view at Buffalo Arts Studio this month, with a reception celebrating the project on October 25, 5–8 p.m.


After the show, Eckert is using the project to craft unit plans for educators to mimic in their schools. Through the Pollination Project grant Eckert received in November of 2018, she was able to create a website that will house the units and serve as the basis for continuing this project in the future, for the benefit of other teachers. Its mix of two artistic disciplines speaks to the creative thinking so essential for success in high school, college, and life.


Poeta’s artwork is by Monica Angle, Tricia Butski, Markenzy Cesar, Emily Churco, Charlie Clough, Matt Grote, Evan Hawkins, Sarah Liddell, Michael Mararian, Anne Muntges, Esther Neisen, Maria Pabico LaRotonda, Pete Sowiski, Kelly Vetter, Joe Vollan, Alexa Wajed (work shown above with Eckert’s poem below), and Muhammad Zaman.


I am here


I reside and take space

I stand firmly and strong

My feet are earth bound

My limbs reach long


There is passion in my words

There is cadence to my voice

I speak with intent

I demand to have choice.


I write with authority

I can fuel your fight

I demand and decree

I can make you unite


and agree with my message

From your seat you will rise

I can make you feel anxious

I can make you surprised


That I have the strength

From my head to my thighs

To tell you the truth

Or fill you with lies


With one look I can make you

Feel hunger and heat

With one look I can cause you

To back up and retreat


I can do all these things

As all women can

We were created with spirit    

We were built with a plan


And this knowledge is ours

And we hold it quite near

And we treat it with kindness

And we see it quite clear


For we have the strength

To bring down any nation

We have the power to rise

Rise, rise from our station


For no one can question

This courage we hold

We are here, we are women

And we were born to be bold.



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