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Nanaimo spoken word group launches virtual venue for artistic discussion

Wordstorm Society of the Arts presents ‘Omniform Lounge’
Wordstorm Society of the Arts artistic director Carla Stein says artists have had difficulty meeting during the pandemic. (Photo courtesy Aviva Stein-Wotten)

A Nanaimo spoken word group is providing artists with a place to meet, discuss and collaborate online now that in-person gatherings have been restricted.

On March 30 Wordstorm Society of the Arts presents the inaugural edition of the Omniform Lounge, the first in a series of meetings open to mid-Island artists with the goal of providing the opportunities for connection that have been scarce during the pandemic.

“This past year what we’ve noticed is that there’s even increased isolation between the various forms of art,” Wordstorm artistic director Carla Stein said. “There isn’t that space to have those kinds of collaborative conversations that used to spontaneously occur in coffee shops or at performances or at venues.”

Stein said bringing artists from different disciplines together was always a goal of Wordstorm’s 15 Minutes of Infamy poetry events, but they could never find a space that would accommodate multimedia performance.

“It was always sort of on the back burner about how we could involve other artistic pursuits besides literary pursuits and music in our performances,” she said.

Stein said there will be a “salon-type of structure” to the Omniform Lounge. It will be informal but based around a theme to give the conversation a direction. The theme for the first evening is “process.”

“We’re inviting people to talk about what their process is, how their process is influenced, what they’re making as far as their artistic pursuits go [and] how they feel that their process can be enhanced by discussion and finding out about what other people’s processes are like,” Stein said.

Stein said cross-disciplinary artistic gatherings and collaborations happen around the world and the central Island is suited for something similar due to the quantity and diversity of artists in the area. While this meeting is happening online, Stein said it would be “lovely” to be able to hold the Omniform Lounge in person, public health regulations permitting.

“We’re planning on this being a bi-monthly event and so we’re hoping that there will be more and more opportunities for people to discuss what their artistic aesthetics are and to build an artistic aesthetic for the community…” Stein said. “It’s an experiment at this point and we’re just hoping to provide a space and see what will happen.”

WHAT’S ON … Wordstorm’s Omniform Lounge will convene on March 30 at 7 p.m. over Zoom. To register, e-mail or click here.

RELATED: Nanaimo’s Wordstorm holds first online spoken-word open mic night

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