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Critical Writing Initiative

Increasing the quality of arts writing throughout the region

The KCAIC Critical Writing Initiative is designed to increase the capacity and quality of arts writing in Kansas and throughout the region. The program is predicated on a belief in the importance of written criticism and thoughtful arts inquiry to a robust creative ecosystem.

The free, four-month program is composed of two parts: a workshop period and a mentorship period. The workshop period will consist of eight virtual sessions held on Saturdays from July 9–Aug. 27. During these sessions, the participants will have the opportunity to learn and receive feedback from established critics and arts writers. Participants will complete weekly writing assignments and participate in critiques designed to strengthen critical and writing skills.

All workshop sessions will be held virtually on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a lunch break. The program is offered at no cost to participants, the applicants selected are asked to commit to attending all eight sessions.

Example workshop topics:

  • Covering the arts in the Great Plains (panel)
  • Film and television writing
  • Writing about the visual arts
  • Introduction to theater criticism
  • Profile writing
  • Food writing
  • Finding and pitching stories (panel)

Other workshop topics may including writing about dance and performance, writing about books and literature, and writing for radio.

During the two-month mentorship period, each participant will be paired with a professional writer, editor or critic who will provide support, coaching and feedback on one or two paid writing opportunities. Each participant will meet with their mentor one-on-one (virtually or in person) four times over the course of the mentorship period. There will also be informal group check-ins scheduled during this time (times and dates to be determined based on participants’ schedules).

Each participating writer will also be paired with an artist participating in the Tallgrass Artist Residency program in the Flint Hills throughout the summer in order to write a profile to be published in a KCAIC publication in conjunction with the Tallgrass Artist Residency Symposium & Exhibition in Matfield Green, Kansas, in October 2022. Writers will also be encouraged to work with their mentors to pitch a story to a local publication of their choice.

The Critical Writing Initiative is designed for emerging arts writers, but more established writers may also apply. Participants will leave the program with a strengthened professional network, strategies for and experience in covering multiple arts and culture topics, knowledge about how to pitch freelance stories, and clips for their writing portfolio.

Application Period

Application for the 2022 pilot cohort are closed at this time. Join the KCAIC mailing list to stay informed on deadlines and opportunities.




Kate Van Steenhuyse, Interim Director

(785) 379-1608

[email protected]