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Writing in the Galleries

Thursday, May 19, 2022
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Museum and Galleries

All participants are required to purchase admission to the exhibition Through Vincent’s Eyes: Van Gogh and His Sources.

Writers of all levels are invited to participate in this informal exploration of the Museum’s galleries as an impetus to writing. Monthly sessions are led by a visiting writer who begins with a conversation and prompt, partially inspired by works on view. Participants write on their own, then reconvene to share and comment on each other’s work. Please bring something on which to write.

In May, Nora Gallagher leads the second of her two spring sessions in Through Vincent’s Eyes: Van Gogh and His Sources.

Behind the Screen of Clichés
Novelist and critic John Berger writes that for a human being reality is not a given, but has to be sought out, held, “I am tempted to say, salvaged.” He was writing about seeing Van Gogh paintings in Amsterdam at a particularly hard time in his life. Surrounding us is what Berger calls “a screen of clichés.” For Van Gogh, the screen was evident. He spent much of his life yearning and searching for reality. Nothing was more sacred to him as Berger says, than work. During this session, look at what a painting can do to us, how it can break through the screen, and how such paintings can help us to be better, more coherent writers.

Nora Gallagher is an American writer of memoirs, fiction, and essays. Her most recent book, Moonlight Sonata at the Mayo Clinic, is a memoir that explores her experience with a baffling affliction poised to take her sight. She has just completed a second novel, The Gubbio Room.


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