Many events during ArtWeek incorporate multimedia elements or bridge the gap between different forms of art. There is so much variety among art forms that even overlapping concepts or subject matters may be presented in entirely different ways. Conceptualizing one subject over different genres and styles takes a great deal of creativity and skill on the part of an artist. This challenge has a name that originated in ancient Greece: ekphrasis, originally defined as a piece of writing inspired by a work of visual art.

Ekphrasis traditionally refers to evocative descriptions of paintings- a dramatic retelling of the detail on a painted urn, for instance. In these ArtWeek events, the tradition takes on a new form: collaborative exhibitions that have both literary and visual works on display.

On ArtWeek’s first Friday night, the Cultural Center of Cape Cod will serve as home to Mutual Muses, an exhibit featuring the work of 100 participants: 50 poets who have been randomly paired with one visual artist each. Each artist has created one initial work and one based of their partner’s “inspiration” piece. Guests can peruse the gallery of visual art and stay around for a reading of the poems produced by this exercise. This exhibit also comes with an interactive component- you’ll be challenged to produce a response to a prompt presented in a creative way.

Another ekphrastic showcase will take place at Munroe Center for the Arts the following night. Listen to poems based on works from area painters. After the performances, the artists will hold a talk on how they reached their pieces, beginning with a work of someone else’s imagination. This evening will give you extra insight on the artistic process and the search for inspiration.

This creative exercise, born from practices aged thousands of years old, provides an excellent look into Massachusetts art scenes. These events prove artists have a mode of communicating with each other that transcends mediums. Take the time to see these interpretations by local talent.

Written by Mateo Caballero. Read more blog posts here.