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San Bernardino County Museum visitors are invited to express themselves through a series of workshops and activities on Sunday, April 21 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. “Express Yourself” is an ArtMuse program sponsored by The Irvine Foundation; all activities are included with paid museum admission.

Authors and poets from the Inlandia Institute will lead mini writing workshops. Participating authors are Gayle Brandeis, Seed bombs: eco-writing workshop; Mike Cluff, Write where you live: place-based writing; Charlotte Davidson, Masks unmasked: writing in persona; Larry Eby, Displacement: poems about the earth’s movement; and Vickie Vertiz, Bite size poems!: Haiku and other short-form poetry. An open microphone poetry jam will feature spoken word performances and visitors can speak out by reading their own works.

Gayle Brandeis is the author of Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write (HarperOne), Dictionary Poems(Pudding House Publications), the novels The Book of Dead Birds (HarperCollins), which won Barbara Kingsolver’s Bellwether Prize for Fiction in Support of a Literature of Social Change, Self Storage (Ballantine), and Delta Girls (Ballantine), as well as her first novel for young readers, My Life with the Lincolns (Henry Holt), which just received the Silver Nautilus Book Award for Middle Grade/Teen Fiction. In addition, Gayle recently released The Book of Live Wires, the sequel to The Book of Dead Birds, as an eBook.

Mike Cluff is a fulltime English and Creative Writing instructor at Norco College. He has lived steadily in the Highland and Redlands area since 1998. His eighth book of poetry, Casino Evil, was published in June 2009 by Petroglyph Books.

Charlotte Davidson was born and raised in Southern California. After college, she spent eleven years in Paris, France. Upon returning to the States, she received a Masters in English from Syracuse University followed by an M.F.A. in poetry from U.C. Irvine. She now lives in Riverside, California, where she runs an organic orange ranch and takes care of her six horses, five dogs, four cats, and one husband. She has published poems and stories in various journals and anthologies including The Santa Monica Review, Gulf Coast, The Fiddlehead, Faultline, and Poemeleon. She is expecting her first book of poems, Fresh Zebra, this fall.

Lawrence Eby writes from Southern California and is currently an MFA student at CSUSB. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Black Tongue Review, Poetry Quarterly, Apercus Quarterly, Superstition Review, as well as others. In 2012, he was named a finalist for the Poets & Writers California Writers Exchange award. In addition to chairing the Inlandia Institute’s Publications Committee, he is a founding member of PoetrIE, an Inland Empire-based literary community and Editor-in-Chief of Orange Monkey Publishing, a small poetry press.

Vickie Vértiz is a writer, born and raised by Mexican parents in southeast Los Angeles. Arising from her work as a student, activist, and cultural worker in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, her writing explores the intersections of gender, identity, and Latino sub-cultures through every day beauty. With a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Texas, Austin, Vickie has also established a career as a bridge-builder between communities and policy makers. Her writing is widely anthologized and her poetry collection, The Swallows in My Trees, will be published by Finishing Line Press in 2013. Currently, she is a master’s degree candidate in fine arts in nonfiction, with a secondary concentration in poetry at the University of California, Riverside.

Artists from Collective Journey will teach the fine art of book making; visitors can create books of their own to save thoughts and written work.

Art making activities for children are included in the program. Bill Bell and special guests Moonsville Collective will perform music live in the museum’s amphitheater.

“Our ArtMuse programs invite museum visitors to ‘be a part of the art’ by expressing themselves,” said Michele Nielsen, curator of history. “We are offering a variety of craft, writing, and performance opportunities suitable for a wide range of ages and interests.”

“Express Yourself” will also be offered on Saturday, May 11 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The San Bernardino County Museum is at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 am to 5pm. General admission is $8 (adult), $6 (military or senior), $5 (student), and $4 (child aged 5 to 12). Children under five and Museum Association members are admitted free. Parking is free. For more information, visit http://www.co.san-bernardino.ca.us/museum/. The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities. If assistive listening devices or other auxiliary aids are needed in order to participate in museum exhibits or programs, requests should be made through Museum Visitor Services at least three business days prior to your visit. Visitor Services’ telephone number is 909-307-2669 ext. 229 or (TDD) 909-792-1462.

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