The Geography of Hope Conference celebrating “Reflections on Water” will take place in early 2011 in Point Reyes Station. The event includes literary conversations, public art installations, a film festival, and field trips to farms, wetlands, and wilderness areas in the surrounding countryside. Meals prepared with Marin’s most delicious farm products will be served at two dinners at Toby’s Feed Barn during the conference.
The Geography of Hope Conference (March 19–20) is chaired by award-winning poets Robert Hass and Brenda Hillman. It also features a host of other established and emerging writers who will participate in lively panels and more intimate lunchtime conversations with participants.
Two new and unique art exhibitions will be part of the 2011 conference. Outdoor public art projects will be installed at selected sites in Point Reyes Station. On display for three months, they will be viewed by thousands of visitors to West Marin. A group show at Toby’s Gallery will showcase the work of artists in a variety of media exploring the nature and notions of water.
Also new this year is a companion film festival (February 25–27) which precedes the conference and promises to be a fascinating and lively introduction to the subject of “Reflections on Water.” Filmmakers may submit films until December 17, 2010, to withoutabox.com.
Founded in 2008, the Geography of Hope Conference has quickly become of Northern California’s most exceptional literary and arts events. It takes its name from Wallace Stegner’s famous “Wilderness Letter” in which he described wild landscapes as part of our “geography of hope.” Located in western Marin County where many of Stegner’s land conservation visions have come to fruition, the conference explores the relationship between people and the landscape through the voices of authors, environmentalists, farmers, artists, and filmmakers.
More information about the 2011 gathering is available at www.ptreyesbooks.com and on Facebook at Geography of Hope Conference.
Robert Hass, Conference Co-chair, was Poet Laureate of the United States from 1995–1997. He has written numerous volumes of poetry, including most recently The Apple Trees at Olema: New and Selected Poems (2010). Hass has translated the poetry of Czeslaw Milosz as well as the work of other poets and essayists. He is an inspiring writing teacher and a professor at the University of California at Berkeley.
Poet Brenda Hillman, Conference Co-chair, is the author of Practical Water (2010) as well as seven other volumes of poetry. Her work has been called “eclectic, mercurial, sensuous, and luminescent.” She has received awards and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Society of America, along with a Bay Area Book Reviewer’s Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award.
John E. Mueller, Outdoor Public Arts Curator & Film Festival Producer, is a mediator and lawyer and served as the Advisory Council Liason and consultant to the Santa Cruz Film Festival from 2004–2009. He has been a member of the Black Rock Arts Foundation Board of Directors since 2004 and served on the Board of Bread and Roses for 7 years, chairing it for 2 years. As a member of David Best’s Temple Crew he has helped build temples at Burning Man; Stradbally, Ireland; Detroit and San Francisco. He has created art at Burning Man and performed at the 2009 Venice Biennale.
Mariah Nielson, BArch, California College of the Arts, Toby’s Gallery Group Show Curator, has built a career working with regional, national, and international emerging and established artists. She has worked at the Oakland Museum of California and now serves as curator of the San Francisco Museum of Craft+Design. As Director of the Estate of her late father, the sculptor J.B. Blunk, Ms. Nielson acts as curator, registrar, and archivist and is responsible for coordinating all exhibition loans and sales of Blunk’s work. In 2007, under the auspices of the Lucid Art Foundation, she established the J.B. Blunk Artist Residency program in the home and studio of her father in Inverness, California.
Jane Sullivan, GOH Film Festival Director, the Founder of and Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Film Festival from 2002¬–2009, she has consulted with film festivals including the Naval Postgraduate School’s Windows On The World Film and Educational Symposium, (Monterey, CA), San Francisco 24 Hour Film Race and The Mile High Horror Film Festival, (Denver CO). She has worked for The American Institute of Architects, SF Chapter; SF MOMA Lecture Series; Advertising Photographers of New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Barwood Productions, Gordon Parks, David Best, and directed and performed in Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens’ “The Blue Wedding” in The Society of Fear (The Spanish Pavillion) at The Venice Biennale.