Words in Action builds community by re-thinking the role of the arts in society. Each spring, Words in Action introduces New College students and the larger Sarasota community to artists, authors, and activists who have created professional lives for themselves outside the academy. The festival showcases the way writers and other artists find careers in which to apply their skills, and the ways art lovers bring the arts into their lives.

Our inaugural festival will be held March 17-19, 2021 and features postpunk performance poet, activist, and memoirist Michelle Tea and Cuban-American artist, writer, activist, and musician Cristy C. Road. 

Support for this series was provided by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and funding from the New College of Florida Gender Studies Program.

Meet the Artists!

Postpunk performance poet and writer Michelle Tea grew up in Chelsea, Massachusetts.
Influenced by poet Eileen Myles and photographer Nan Goldin, Tea writes narrative poetry and prose that explore issues of class, queer identity, feminism, and autobiography. She is the author of 4 1/2 memoirs, 1 1/2 novels, 2 Young Adult novels, and a collection of poetry. Her memoir Valencia is an underground classic and is currently being made into a feature film by 21 different filmmakers. She is the founder and executive director of RADAR Productions, a literary non-profit which hosts the monthly RADAR Reading Series (voted Best Literary Series by SF Bay Guardian Readers), the infamous Sister Spit Literary Performance tours, an annual poetry chapbook contest, and the Radar LAB Writers’ Retreat in Akumal, Mexico. She is a former writer of horoscopes and a current reader of tarot cards.

Cristy C. Road is a Cuban-American artist, writer, and musician. Through visual art, storytelling, and punk rock music, C.Road has thrived to testify the beauty of the imperfect since she began creating art in her hometown of Miami, FL. C.Road graduated from the Ringling School of Art and Design in 2004 with a BFA in Illustration. In early 2006, C.Road released her first illustrated novel, Indestructible (Microcosm Publishing), a 96-page narrative about high school. In 2008, she released Bad Habits (Soft Skull Press), an Illustrated story about healing from abuse; and lastly in 2013, her most recent book, Spit and Passion (Feminist Press, 2012), a coming-out memoir about Cuban identity, discovering Green Day, and surviving in the closet. C.Road’s most recent project is The Next World Tarot (2017), a 78-card tarot deck detailing themes of justice, resilience, accountability, and reclaimed magic. Aside from creating art; Road is a songwriter and guitarist, having fronted the pop-punk group, The Homewreckers from 2008-2016. She currently fronts Choked Up, a project that doesn’t stray too far from the Homewrecker’s foundations, but proves a departure in style and bilingual lyrics.

Storytelling, Social Justice & the Tarot Panel with Michelle TEA & Cristy Road

Wed, Mar 17  5:00 – 6:00 p.m. EST  l  Online Event l  RSVP for Link

Join author, literary instigator and queer tarot witch Michelle Tea and artist, punk musician, and Cuban-American activist Cristy Road in a conversation about using the Tarot can be a tool for anti-racist, anti-patriarchal, anti-sexist, and anti-colonial conversations and growth. Tea and Road will talk about how they have fronted systemic oppression and crafted visions of a more just and equitable future via their artistic endeavors, both on and off the page. They will also share some pro tips and tricks for curating professional lives outside the apparatus of the academy and the mainstream publishing industry.


Queer Memoir Writing Workshop with Michelle Tea

Wed, Mar 17  6:00 – 7:00 p.m. EST  l  Online Event l  RSVP for Link

Drawing inspiration from existing queer memoirs and memoirists, we will work together to generate inspiration, story leads and a teensy weensy bit of new material. The workshop will offer craft tips as well as troubleshoot issues unique to queer memoir, and Tea will be available to answer questions and share her experience in queer memoir from beginning a project to promoting a published work.

This workshop has limited availability.

Queering the Tarot with Cristy C. Road

Wed, Mar 17  6:00 – 7:00 p.m. EST  l  Online Event l  RSVP for Link

Cristy Road Carrera is the author and illustrator of The Next World Tarot; a deck designed to demystify traditional norms associated with the tarot, both visually and historically. Often seen through images of European nobility, class structure, patriarchy, and white supremacy; the Tarot remains a tool that existed long before colonization; as ancient civilizations developed divination rituals with tangible objects, from sea shells to paper goods. In this workshop we will dive into a non-traditional history of the tarot, and eventually focus on deconstructing the red tape that lines tarot as a practice. Through both readings and group participation, we will learn new spreads and new ways of communicating and identifying with the tarot’s abilities, as well as its imagery. As the goal of the Next World Tarot was to be a battle cry of the unheard; this workshop will shine light on the unheard powers of the Tarot.

This workshop has limited availabilty.


Campus Conversations: “You are not alone: an I Scream Social”

Thurs, Mar 18  6:00 – 7:30 p.m. EST  l  Online Event l  RSVP for Link

Our inaugural I Scream Social is designed to empower student writers, encourage literary culture, and channel our “real world” experiences into meaningful literary performances. This year’s event will feature a collaboration with Booker Middle School Teacher and Dragonfly Poetry Café founder Joanna Fox. This winter and spring, New College students and Dragonfly Poetry Café students have embarked on an extraordinary correspondence in which they create characters, are assigned each other’s characters as pen pals, and exchange letters from their characters’ point of view. Curious? Confused? Join us to learn more about how these students are using their creativity as a catalyst for connection in disconnecting times. The event will feature Dr. Emily Carr and Joanna Fox in conversation about their collaboration, and short readings by New College students who were part of this extraordinary correspondence. We’ll end with information about the new AOC in Creative Writing at New College.


Feminist Fridays Presents: Feminist Misfits: a Celebratory Salon with Dr. Emily Carr

Fri, Mar 19  12:00 – 1:00 p.m. EST  l  Online Event l  RSVP for Link

Join Dr. Emily Carr for a Feminist Friday event celebrating the feminist misfit! The feminist misfit is an artist/thinker/maker who has been forgotten, mis-remembered, and/or silenced by history—someone who has not been shoved under your nose as a role model; who you are supposed to work hard not to resemble; who was accountable to her own moral compass but also the injustices and inequalities that have been with us for centuries; and/or who exemplifies true independence of mind, no matter what came before.

I’ll share a few of my favorite misfits and encourage you to bring yours! I envision this event as a salon in the spirit of Gertrude Stein’s Saturday Evening Salons—as a gathering of people led by an inspiring host (yours truly). During the salon, we amuse each other, exchange ideas, and increase our knowledge through conversation. A salon is less formal and more collaborative than a lecture, reading, or Q&A. As I envision it, a salon is a space (like a poem) in which participants’ imaginations spark off each other’s. I encourage you to bring your misfits, bring favorite texts by your misfits, bring excerpts by your misfits, bring open eyes, ears, hearts, and minds, and come prepared to share!

Connecting the ARTS + HUMANITIES

New College of Florida has been awarded a $750,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in support of New College’s initiative “New College: Connecting the Arts and Humanities on Florida’s Creative Coast.”

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Previous Mellon Grant Events

A list of past events brought to you by “New College: Connecting the Arts and Humanities on Florida’s Creative Coast.”

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Black History Month

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