The new building, located at 1111 Navarro St., will provide better parking, 2,800 square feet for the six staff members to have separate offices, a library, three classrooms for writing workshops and classes, and a writing space for Gemini Ink members.
Staff hopes to be moved into its new space by mid-December.
The office on Navarro Street will enable Gemini Ink space to prepare for its coming semester of visiting writers and a sought-after “experiential” workshop.
Gemini Ink now operates an online store featuring handcrafted chapbooks by San Antonio’s first poet laureate Carmen Tafolla, author and documentarian John Philip Santos, poet Nan Cuba, and other literary voices with a San Antonio connection. The books are crafted with handmade paper and natural dyes designed by the SSA’s School by the River Press.
Sheila Black, Gemini Ink’s executive director, said the move will place her literary center within of the “golden triangle” anchored by the Southwest School of Art, the Central Library, and the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, and provide more opportunities for collaboration on art and book projects.
“I’m a big believer that the arts feed off each other – when you get a really vibrant art scene, different disciplines can work together,” she said. “This has been a lovely space for us, but we’re sort of bursting at the seams. As we become busier and more professional, we are really excited that we’ll all have our own rooms.”
Gemini Ink hosts a variety of programs for writers and readers, reaching out to underserved populations across San Antonio through its writing workshops. Poet Nan Cuba started Gemini Ink in 1997 as a small, volunteer reading series for writers.
The organization offers Community Writing Classes, featuring three semesters of fee-based workshops each year, and various literary events hosted by professional writers, scholars, and interdisciplinary artists. Writers in Communities takes professional writers into area shelters, schools, neighborhood centers, and detention facilities to work with students of all ages, needs, interests, and abilities.
The WIC writing workshops are free to participants and focus on oral traditions, reading and creative writing, with the aim of publishing work by each student. WIC participant numbers have grown seven-fold since 2003.
Gemini Ink also operates a book club and an open writers workshop.
With a $35 annual membership fee, writers can use the writer’s room to write, reflect, or visit with other writers.
Black said most of the writers at Gemini Ink are San Antonians, though people have traveled from as far as Louisiana to attend classes.
“Our clients range from loyal people who are fairly serious writers and have taken classes with us very consistently and use our facilities and programs to develop a manuscript to people who are new to writing and want to try it,” she said. “We always wanted to broaden our audience – we’ve been too well-kept a secret at times.”
Interested writers can sign up through the Gemini Ink website or they can call the office at (210) 734-9673.
Gemini Ink’s book of the month, “The Devil’s Highway” by Luis Alberto Urrea, will be featured at the monthly book plática on Nov. 21 at 12 p.m. Urrea will be back to participate in the Autograph Series Feb. 26-27, 2015 in a free public performance followed by an audience Q&A and book signing.
*Set/featured image: The building at 1111 Navarro St. that will soon house Gemini Ink. An artist painted a mural on the side of the building for Luminaria 2014. Courtesy photo.