Erin Penland: Poetry, Art and Open Mic

Erin Penland, Art, Digital Collage, Photography, Poetry, Artist

Digital Collage by Erin Penland

Poetry open mic is always an event that excites poets, as well as those wanting to share a poem, or individuals who prefer to sit in the audience and enjoy the montage of poems being presented. Erin Penland, a photographer and digital artist from Charlotte, North Carolina combines poetry with art, during open mic readings at the Indian Trail Cultural Arts Center each month. Erin loves to listen to poetry read by poets and interpret their words on canvas or paper, with paint. She is also inspired to write poetry and share her words with the audience as well.

Erin Penland, Indian Trail Cultural Arts Center, Art, Photography

Erin Penland at work during poetry open mic

As a digital artist, Erin explores the relationship between perception and reality, by forcing 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional spaces together. Through self-expression, she is interested in the universal ideas of the soul mixed with the fabric of reality. By using traditional mediums, there is an invigorating freedom of randomness, combined with the digital medium that makes her artwork explosive. Her digital collages are one of a kind pieces that exemplify multi-textural applications.

As an accomplished photographer, from behind the lens Erin captures special images of her clients, which leaves a lasting memory for many years to come. She enjoys all art forms and finds that photography presents an opportunity to combine many mediums digitally, in ways no other medium offers.

Be sure to check out Erin’s artwork and photography at To see more of her artistic creations, visit her page on Flickr Don’t forget to visit her shop at for a variety of products produced from her one of a kind digital collages. Follow Erin on Facebook at and “Like” her page .

Poetry creates conversations. When you add art and photography to the mix however, it makes the combined mediums more fascinating and engaging. If you are in the area, visit the Indian Trail Cultural Arts Center, during their free poetry open mic every second Saturday of each month. There you will find Erin working her incredible magic through the art of words on canvas.

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Posted by on February 26, 2015 in Art/Music/Humanities, Poetry


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Laugh Out Loud Poetry Open Mic Reading

Indian Trail Cultural Arts Center, Poetry Open Mic

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Posted by on February 24, 2015 in Poetry, Reading


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Celebrating the Steam Engine Locomotive

Steam Engine Locomotive, Trains, Steam Rail Locomotive

I always admired trains. I don’t know where this fascination came from, but I was always fond of the steam engine trains. Did you know that today is the 211th birthday of the steam locomotive? The first full-scale working steam locomotive was built in the U.K., by Richard Trevithick. On February 21, 1804, the world’s first railway journey took place. The steam locomotive produces its pulling power through a steam engine. They are fueled by burning combustible material, usually wood, oil or coal to produce steam in a boiler.

According to Wikipedia, in 1784, William Murdoch, a Scottish inventor, built a prototype steam road locomotive. An early working model of a steam rail locomotive was designed and constructed by steamboat pioneer John Fitch in the United States during 1794. His steam locomotive used interior bladed wheels, guided by rails or tracks. The United States began developing steam locomotives in 1830 with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s Tom Thumb. This was the first U.S. built locomotive to run in America.

Although modern trains are equipped with digital technology to make railway travel more efficient, the nostalgia of the steam engine locomotive imprints an era in our minds, with the image of the way train travel began. Steam engine trains have less thermal efficiency than modern diesel locomotives, which require constant maintenance and labor to keep them operational. Today we commemorate the steam engine locomotive, even if there aren’t many around to experience the way railway travel used to be. I just love that “Chu Chu” chugging sound of the engine! Happy Birthday locomotive!

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Posted by on February 21, 2015 in Celebrations, Education, News


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Happy 223rd Birthday to the Postal Service Act

On February 20, 1792, George Washington signed into law the Postal Service Act, which established the department. Postmaster General John McLean was the first to call it the Post Office Department rather than just the “Post Office.” The organization received a boost in prestige when President Andrew Jackson invited his Postmaster General, William T. Barry, to sit as a member of the Cabinet in 1829. On July 26, 1775 however, Congress established the U.S. Post Office and named Benjamin Franklin as the first U.S. Postmaster General.

According to, William Goddard, a Patriot printer, frustrated that the royal postal service was unable to reliably deliver his Pennsylvania Chronicle to its readers or deliver critical news for the paper to Goddard, laid out a plan for a Constitutional Post before the Continental Congress on October 5, 1774. Congress waited to act on the plan until after the Battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. Benjamin Franklin promoted Goddard’s plan and served as the first postmaster general under the Continental Congress beginning on July 26, 1775, nearly one year before the Congress declared independence from the British crown. Franklin’s son-in-law, Richard Bache, took over the position on November 7, 1776, when Franklin became an American emissary to France. Franklin had already made a significant contribution to the postal service in the colonies while serving as the postmaster of Philadelphia from 1737 and as joint postmaster general of the colonies from 1753 to 1774, when he was fired for opening and publishing Massachusetts Royal Governor Thomas Hutchinson’s correspondence.

The Post Office Act of 1872 elevated the Post Office Department to Cabinet status. Happy 223rd Birthday United States Post Office’s Postal Service Act!

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Posted by on February 20, 2015 in Celebrations, Education, News


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Celebrating the 47th Anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

How many of you remember the opening song to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood? Can you believe that the first episode aired on February 19, 1968? The song “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” was written by Fred Rogers in 1967 and was used as the opening theme for each episode of the show. When he walked through the doors of his set, then changed into his cardigan and sneakers, everyone was stoked and ready to watch his cast of puppets and marionettes, from the Land of Make-Believe perform. Created and hosted by Fred Rogers, this classic American children’s TV series was characterized by the tenderness of his voice and the quiet simplicity of each episode.

Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood spoke directly to the audience about factory tours, scientific experiments, music, crafts and above all interacting with his friends. At the end of his closing song in each episode he gives viewers these simple reminders:
“You always make each day a special day. You know how: By just your being you/yourself. There’s only one person in the (whole) world that’s like you, and that’s you. And people can like you just/exactly the way you are.” He then signs off as he walks out the door, usually by saying, “I’ll be back next time. Bye-bye!”

Fred Rogers, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood

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Some of the characters appearing on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood were: King Friday XIII, Queen Sara Saturday, Prince Tuesday, X the Owl, Henrietta Pussycat, Lady Elaine Fairchilde, Daniel Striped Tiger, Cornflake “Corney” S. Pecially, Grandpere Tiger, The Platypus Family, Harriet Elizabeth Cow, Edgar Cooke, H.J. Elephant III, Betty Okonak Templeton-Jones, Collette Tiger, The Frogg Family, Mr. Skunk, Audrey Duck, New Goat and of course who could forget that small, red electric trolley entering and exiting the Neighborhood of Make-Believe? Most of the main puppet characters were played by Fred Rogers. There were many other characters, puppets and marionettes appearing throughout the entire series.

Did you know that Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood was notable for its use of jazz-inspired music, mostly arranged and performed by Johnny Costa? When Costa died in 1996, he was succeeded by Michael Moricz for the remainder of the series. Can you believe that the lyrics and melodies were written and sung by Fred Rogers, who created more than 200 original songs? The final episode aired on August 31, 2001.

Fred McFeely Rogers, an educator, Presbyterian minister, songwriter, author and TV host died February 27, 2003. He was married to Sara Joanne Byrd and they had two sons, James and John! No doubt Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood left a lasting impression on children and adults of all ages everywhere!


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Happy 84th Birthday Toni Morrison!

Toni Morrison, Chloe Ardelia Wofford

Today we celebrate the 84th birthday of Chloe Ardelia Wofford, better known as Toni Morrison. She was born on February 18, 1931 in Lorain, Ohio. She was married to the late Harold Morrison and is the mother of Slade (her youngest son who died of pancreatic cancer in 2010 and who was also a writer) and Harold Ford Morrison. She is an American Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, editor and professor. She is also a Nobel laureate who is well-known for her novels Beloved, Song of Solomon, Sula, The Bluest Eye, Tar Baby and numerous others. Morrison is the first African-American woman to win a Nobel Prize.

Toni Morrison is the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, the American Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work. She is completing work on her upcoming book, “God Save the Child,” about a dark-skinned African-American woman who calls herself Bride. Ms. Morrison is a great storyteller, although her novels expose the frank treatment of violence, race and sexuality, which are often the targets of censors. I enjoyed reading Beloved, although some of the twists and turns were a little confusing at certain segments, but Song of Solomon and Sula are near the top of my list. If you are a Toni Morrison fan, what is your favorite novel by the author?

Happy 84th Birthday Toni (Chloe Ardelia Wofford) Morrison!

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Posted by on February 18, 2015 in Books, Celebrations, News, Reading


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Happy Fat Tuesday as Mardi Gras Begins!

Today is Fat Tuesday and we’re kicking off Mardi Gras, the biggest day of celebration! The origins of Mardi Gras can be traced to medieval Europe, passing through Rome and Venice to the French House of the Bourbons. From here, the traditional revelry of “Boeuf Gras,” or fatted calf, followed France to her colonies.

Fat Tuesday is always the day before Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is always 46 days before Easter. Check out the list of dates for Fat Tuesday, through the year 2024 that you will find on this calendar located on the following Mardi Gras website: Get more information about celebrating Mardi Gras, parade information, where to shop for King Cakes, photos and videos on the website.

Happy Fat Tuesday!
Celebrating Mardi Gras style!

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Posted by on February 17, 2015 in Celebrations, Holidays


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