If letter writing is a lost art — as the mysterious and omnipresent “they” are wont to say — then renewing your letter-writing skills in an art gallery makes sense.
So if you haven’t written to your long-lost love since iPhones were invented, or if your family’s tradition of homemade holiday cards has morphed into a series of 15-character Tweets, have we got an art gallery for you.
Space Gallery in Portland, specifically, will be hosting its second Letter Circle on Saturday. The idea is to give people a little help and inspiration when it comes to writing a holiday letter.
Not a card or an email or a holiday Facebook post. Just a good, old-fashioned letter. The kind people used to sit down for and spend significant time on.
“Writing letters is sort of a dying art form, so we thought we could bring a lot of people together and help them focus on this,” said Jenny Dougherty, Space’s associate director, who came up with the idea. “It was sort of a response to everything else going on in early December, all the shopping and sales.
“We wanted to do something that maybe focused less on consumerism. When you write out letters to people, it makes you think more about what the holidays are about.”
What will it be like to write letters in an art gallery/performance space?
First of all, the joint will have atmosphere. The bar will be open, selling hot cider and other wintry drinks. The walls of the main gallery, where writing tables will be set up, will be lined with various works on paper from a current Space exhibit.
So people can glance up from their parchment and see an abstract creation, photographs of rainbows or a work made of sticky notes. And Space will be providing fancy stationery, envelopes and embellishments for both.
There also will be ink, quills, a typewriter and several other old-school writing tools that may flip a switch in your head and get you in the writing mood.
Tables will be set up close together, so people can talk over writing — about their relatives, the holidays or just ideas on how to make a really impressive dot on that “i.”
Dougherty hopes people will get so carried away with the whole idea of actually writing a letter that they may start caring again about forgotten skills like — dare we say it? — penmanship.
“Maybe we’ll have people who have great handwriting sharing their secrets, or maybe people will even be writing in cursive again,” said Dougherty. “I don’t know the last time most people thought about penmanship.”
The idea conjures up a title for a Hallmark holiday TV special: “The Miracle of the Christmas Penmanship.”
Well, maybe that’s a bit much.
But at the very least, the Letter Circle will likely remind people that when it comes to holiday giving, it really is the thought that counts.
And you can’t write a letter without thinking.
Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: