What is Rail Writers?
All aboard! Rail Writers takes participants on a journey of writing and exploration.
Sign up below and you'll receive a special map and passport the week before Rail Writers begins to track and catalogue your travels. Then starting in the middle of July, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you'll tune in and join local poets and artists as they ride the rails and explore the city of Dallas!
Each ride will be streamed live on Instagram and Facebook and last between 30 minutes and 1 hour, and you'll be invited to join in. The teaching artist will hop on the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) light rail and travel to a unique destination. Once there, they'll lead you through a short interactive activity based on the location you're visiting. To finish up the ride, the teaching artist will head back to their starting point, and then you'll have a chance to share your work with your friends and the world.
After each ride, you'll mark the station in your passport to show you've paid it a virtual visit! Can you visit EVERY station with us?
The History of Rail Writers
In 2016, The Writer’s Garret piloted a new program called Rail Writers, which aimed to take the youth of Dallas on a journey of reading, writing, and exploration. By diving into the already culturally rich environment of the city, the program asks participants to examine their contribution to the performance of the city: how are they represented? Where do they feel like they belong? Are there limits on where they can go in their embodied travels and in their imaginations? Do those boundaries actually exist at all?
Now in its fifth year of unique, engaging summer programming for youth of Dallas, Rail Writers has connected young writers from communities throughout the city via the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) to unique neighborhoods, museums, and other iconic locations. Using prompts that tie writers to these specific sites and their experiences at them, participants are guided through creating original poems and essays, which they then share in “impromptu” performances at various locations along the rails.
In 2018, Rail Writers embarked on 20 rides with more than 200 participants, visiting sites of cultural significance within the city, all within a 10-minute walk from a DART train station. In 2019, Rail Writers grew by leaps and bounds. This summer, we're back and COVID can't stop us; we hope to see you on the (virtual) rails!
Rail Writers is possible thanks to the generosity of funding through Arts Activate, a grant program of the City of Dallas Office of Arts & Culture.