Kim Henderson, Idyllwild Arts Academy creative writing chair, is the next speaker in the Associate’s “Spotlight on Leadership” series. She speaks at the Fireside Room in Nelson Dining Hall on the Idyllwild Arts campus on Monday, May 8.
Photo by Marshall Smith

The Associates of Idyllwild Arts Foundation continues its Spotlight on Leadership series highlighting the work of both academic and arts chairs. The series is part of IAA’s outreach to the wider Idyllwild community and is an attempt to build bridges of understanding between the town and the school.

The next speaker in the series is Creative Writing Chair Kim Henderson, now in her 10th year at IAA.

Henderson heads one of the smaller departments at IAA, currently with 12 writing majors. Henderson said she will talk about how creative writing course offerings have expanded broadly over the last 10 years to offer students more specific writing alternatives. “We try to expose the students to everything they will encounter as writers,” said Henderson. “We teach poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, memoir and dramatic writing, which includes playwriting and a new offering, writing for television.”

In addition to students developing their own writing, they also collaborate on publishing Parallax, IAA’s literary and art magazine. Students also publish a literary newsletter. For Parallax, students act as editors for featured sections of poetry, fiction and non-fiction.

The magazine is handsomely orchestrated with a striking cover design by Omar Razo. Sections in the magazine are devoted to both creative writing and visual arts.

Of being chair of a small department, Henderson said, “You have the students for a number of years and really get to know them. It’s like a family. Our students are pretty dedicated, and in a small department, peer pressure to create good work is strong.

“I rarely feel like I’m coming to work. I’m coming to be with people who like writing and reading. In many ways, these students are like grad students except they’re much more open and willing to try things.”

Henderson speaks at 10 a.m. Monday, May 8, at the Fireside Room at Nelson Dining Hall on the IAA campus. The presentation is open to all and there is no charge to attend.