Neighborhood Studios at The Mark Twain House & Museum

Write to the Point 2021 Showcase


Session 1


Jayden Senior, Lakhi Daniels, & Matias Peña

My Antagonist
I Was Never Good at Goodbyes

Jayden Senior

Mirror Mirror
Moving on From the Climbing Tree
Playing fetch with the sun

Lakhi Daniels

Son’s Grudge (a suite of haikus)
The Loss of Innocence
Hostas’ Lungs

Matias Peña

Disconnection, Self-connection

Mary Jordan, Java Benitez, & Madison Pramuka

Yellow Rose and Solomon’s Seal
A Final Cry

Mary Jordan


Madison Pramuka

Love Behind Hate

Java Benitez


Sara Cove & Zameen Hassan


Session 2

Our Fight 

Kohana Mehl-McKee, Brock Coursey, Sara Cove, Caitlin Chatterton, & Zameen Hassan

Porcelain Heart
Wild Mirror

Kohana Mehl-McKee

The Human and the Ant

Brock Coursey

Danser Sous la Pluie (Dancing in the Rain)
Late Night Drives

Sara Cove

history: a pantoum
thank you mom: a suite of haikus

Caitlin Chatterton

A Door Propped Open By Denial

Janani Balaji, Alli Benthien, Zameen Hassan

Tabula Rasa

Janani Balaji

a dream fragmented

Alli Benthien

narcissism flares amongst a cruel cold

Zameen Hassan

Battle of the Generations

Kohana Mehl-McKee, Brock Coursey, Sara Cove, & Caitlin Chatterton

Neighborhood Studios is a program of the Greater Hartford Arts Council as part of their mission to inspire all people to participate and invest in the arts.  It is supported by Travelers, The Hartford, Lincoln Financial Group, Voya, Ensworth Charitable Foundation, George A. & Grace L. Long Foundation, Charles Nelson Robinson Fund, Berkshire Bank Foundation and the Stanley D. and Hinda N. Fisher Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

Write to the Point! is also supported by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and the Vernon D. and Florence E. Roosa Family Foundation Memorial Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

Special thanks also to: Pieter Roos, Executive Director; Rebecca Floyd, Director of Interpretation; Mallory Howard, Assistant Curator; and Bridget McGrath.

Photographs by Al Benford. Illustration by Phoebe Chung.

Janani Balaji

My name is Janani Balaji and I am a writer who likes to focus on themes of art and the ways in which it can provide emotional release. Writing offers me a narrator’s role, which allows me to communicate my emotions into words. I am very interested in how various art forms can be cathartic to people. Each of my portfolio pieces take on themes from different types of art such as painting, sculpture, and music, as well as my relationship to them.

I am a rising senior at Avon High School where I am part of my school’s writing center. At the writing center, I help edit and revise student essays. I also participate in many tutoring programs that help instill a love for reading in children in the hopes of passing down my own love for reading and writing. Since the age of seven, I have danced at a variety of charity events and concert halls. Dancing offers me the same role of narrator as writing and, also much like writing, dancing is my catharsis.


Janani's Portfolio

Java Benitez

I’m Java Benitez, a rising Junior at South Windsor High School and an aspiring novelist/poet who enjoys the exploration of disorienting, creepy, and downright dark themes through metaphorical and descriptive writing. With stories about intrapersonal relationships, societal taboos, and frequent analyses of the morbid human mind, I bring to attention details glossed over the world’s eye through stories, whether those details be unpleasantries or something far more sinister. Novelism is something I have always expressed interest in even as a young child and is something I wish to pursue in my future, through the creation of a murky and fantastical universe in which my mind occupies.

Java's Portfolio

Alli Benthien

I am a poet who explores a variety of themes including human connection, mental illness, loss, and identity. While I enjoy experimenting with other genres, I’ve always been drawn to poetry and the freedom it provides. Poetry has no rules or limits, and it has allowed me to express myself in a unique way. Most often, I draw inspiration from my own life and from art. Sometimes, though, a random object will spark inspiration, and sometimes I will be inspired by a song stuck in my head or a color that stands out to me. I share my writing with the hope that those reading it can see their experiences reflected in it and feel understood.

I am from West Hartford, Connecticut, and I am a rising junior at Loomis Chaffee School. I enjoy studying history and art, specifically how art can shape a society and inspire future generations. In my free time, I play field hockey and softball, listen to music, and read. In the future, I hope to continue writing and sharing my work with others.

Alli's Portfolio

Caitlin Chatterton

I enjoy writing in all genres, especially poetry and short stories. My writing has many different topics, but some ideas that typically appear in my work are love, family, and inner thoughts. Most of my work is fictional, allowing me to create characters with different backstories and futures. This freedom allows me to express my varying ideas, but I can also find parts of myself throughout my writing. I have always loved reading and writing, and as I’ve grown older I have learned the power of words. One of my goals in writing is to have a message within my work that will inspire people to feel or do something.

I am a rising junior at Rockville High School where I am a member of several of my school’s sports teams. I am also a member of my school’s peer advocates club, yearbook, and in student government. I am an avid reader and my favorite genres are young adult fantasy, dystopian, and romance.  I won a Silver Award from CT Student Writers and an Honorable Mention from Scholastic Art & Writing. I hope to pursue a career in international relations including focusing on foreign policy. Overall, I hope to make a difference at home and around the world.

Caitlin's Portfolio

Brock Coursey

I am a writer who likes to explore the feeling of loneliness and emptiness through my writings. I like to write both short stories and poems, often to express my own loneliness and anxiety. Writing gives me a chance to let my feelings out without having to embarrass myself, and it also lets me ramble on about things that I don’t think anyone else would care to hear about. I want others to relate to my poetry and know that there are people that have the same feelings that they do.

I am currently a rising sophomore at South Windsor High School where I am going into Honors English. I like to spend my time playing video games, learning about different cultures, and learning Japanese. I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and moved to Connecticut in 2017. In the future, I plan on moving to Japan and becoming an English teacher, while also learning to write poetry in Japanese.

Brock's Portfolio

Sara Cove

I am a poet that likes to focus on the dark side of human nature, and I write a bit of realistic fiction as well. I first started writing in eighth grade for school, and it has since become an escape for me. Now, rather than feeling like writing is an assignment I’m forced to do, it’s something that I do every day. Writing has become my way of expressing my feelings and focusing on what I care most about. I am able to shed light on real issues and show people that these problems are never going away. When it comes to my writing, I tend to do a lot of facts-based or opinion-based pieces, because I believe both show different ways to prove a point.

I will be attending Champlain College in the fall of 2021, where I will study Secondary Education with a focus on teaching English. In my studies, I hope to find a way to inspire others when it comes to learning. I want to help students enjoy reading and learning about literature. I had many inspiring people help me get to where I am today, and I hope to be that inspiration to someone else. Other than writing, I love to spend my time reading, listening to music, and watching my favorite TV shows. I have participated in the 2020 Vermont Young Writers Conference, I was a finalist in the 2021 Eugene O’Neill Playwriting Competition, I was a finalist in the 2021 Sunken Garden Poetry Competition, and I have received a Silver Key award and Honorable Mention in the 2020 Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards.

Sara's Portfolio

Lakhi Daniels

I am 17 years old and a rising junior at Pathways Academy of Technology and Design. I currently take interest in studying engineering and manufacturing. I’ve also taken a creative writing class since sophomore year and spent two summers at the Write to the Point Program. I’m a poet that enjoys centering my written work around my personal experiences and struggles. I enjoy finding connections between my own experiences and other people’s experiences as well. Writing has been my outlet for emotions, thoughts, and stories I may not feel comfortable saying out loud. Growing up in the arts has given me the confidence to say what I need to say and express what I want to express.

Lakhi's Portfolio

Zameen Hassan

I am a poet whose work focuses on symbolic imagery to express anger, joy, relationships, nostalgia, and a multitude of emotions that can’t be expressed in a literal sense. When looking back on experiences that evoke a deep emotion, there’s a depth that seems to encapsulate feelings in the form of poetry. I hope those who read my writing can sense the connection between me and my poetry, form a connection between my poetry and their own lives, or be able to understand my perspective in a more metaphorical sense.

I am currently an apprentice at Write to the Point, located at the Mark Twain House. I am going into my senior year at Hall High School in West Hartford, and I plan to go to college in Boston, Massachusetts to study criminology. In my free time, I play guitar and drums, and discover new music. In the future, I hope to have a musical career or a career in the field of forensics.

Zameen's Portfolio

Mary Jordan

I am a prolific writer, and over the years I have learned to express my thoughts in many forms of writing, from narrative fiction to freeform poetry. Sometimes I use this medium as a method of escapism, while other times I use it to explore myself and make peace with the challenges I face. I find my inspiration from a variety of sources, which helps me create new ideas and strengthen existing ones. I am a vivid daydreamer and an optimist at heart, and my writing is a part of me that I hold very dear.

I attend Enfield High School in Connecticut and I have devoted much of my time towards creative pursuits since the age of 10. I frequently take inspiration from nature and music, which I use to create heartfelt metaphors that can be seen throughout my work. Throughout my portfolio, I use the subject of how storms interact with nature to convey my mental health and the ways it impacts my relationships, and I touch on many of my formative life experiences in my pieces.

Mary's Portfolio

Kohana Mehl-McKee

I am a writer who primarily experiments in mixing fantasy, horror, and romance together to create stories. Literature and journalism have been major influences on my life for as long as I can remember. I couldn’t go a day without submerging myself in either a book or political opinion article. Most of my ideas come from the books I read, the music I listen to, and the abundance of horror movies that I binge. To me, the most important part of my writing is character development. I love well-rounded characters, especially villains or morally grey characters, that change over the course of a story- long or short- in many different ways. When people read my books, I hope they find an entertaining, twisted story with entertaining, twisted characters.

I am a rising junior at Avon High School, and spend my free time reading, writing, watching horror movies, and listening to tons of political podcasts. In the next two years of my high school education, I am hoping to enter a few writing competitions and workshops. In the near future, I plan on going to college to specialize in creative writing and political sciences. I hope to one day be either an author or a literary agent, or maybe both.

Kohana's Portfolio

Matias Peña

I am a poet who creates pieces mainly exploring aspects of trauma and tragedy from childhood memories. I have a passion for writing deeper meanings in my work and masking them to let readers interpret their own ideas on what my poems are about. Writing has been a source of therapy from the social anxiety that’s struck me for years affecting my relationships with friends and family. My hope is that my poetry inspires other writers to create their own poems focusing on personal past experiences in order to be honest with themselves about their mental health.

I am a rising senior attending Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts with a focus in Creative Writing and Visual Arts. My free time is spent writing my novel and binge reading superhero graphic novels. In 2020, I was accepted into the Wesleyan Center for Creative Youth Program with a focus in creative writing. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the program was cancelled. In the future, I plan on becoming an editor as my profession along with publishing my works of novels and poetry.

Matias's Portfolio

Madison Pramuka

I am a writer and a poet who is inspired by nature and the beauty of the world, but also by the coexisting evil in the world. In my work, I try to capture both the simplicity and complexity of human life. Ever since I was little, I’ve always been influenced by the arts, whether that’s paintings, books, or movies. They all inspire me just the same. I think I was motivated to start writing because of the holistic way literature captures alternate realities, while arts such as painting only give a momentary glimpse into other worlds.

I am currently attending an apprenticeship called Write to the Point, located at the Mark Twain House. I am going into my junior year at Cromwell High School. In my free time, I really enjoy reading, drawing, or writing. Music has also influenced my life quite a bit. In the future, I hope to create a better world by inspiring others with my art.

Madison's Portfolio

Jayden Senior

I am a rising senior at Capital Prep where I am a member of our baseball and snowboarding teams. I’ve been on the snowboarding team for three years and I’m planning on being the captain this year. I usually like to spend my time playing video games and talking on the phone with friends. Occasionally, you might actually catch me preparing for the sports season. I love listening to music while I do anything. I’m usually listening to bedroom pop, indie music, and j-pop. I am a big music enthusiast. I’ve played drums for a number of years and I’m now learning the piano. In the future, I want to be an engineer, but in my free time I’d like to continue to write novels and poetry.

I like to write poetry and fiction in the genre of fantasy, focusing on character development through heartbreak or other life obstacles. Writing wasn’t always my favorite thing growing up, but that changed this year when I wanted to experience other art forms. When I write, I feel the power of word choices allowing me to properly tell my stories and express myself clearly.

Jayden's Portfolio

Group Exhibits


The O'Brien Murders

This exhibit centers on a detective case file run by Detective James known as the O’Brien family murders taking place during midnight on Oct 12 & 13th, 2004. The exhibition covers the cold case file filled with victims, suspects, murder weapons, objects possibly connected to the case, and detective notes pieced throughout the story.

Lakhi Daniels, Matias Peña, & Jayden Senior

View The Exhibit

The Mystery of the Lemaitre

This exhibit traces the story of three misfits living in early 1921 and their experiences within an abandoned Victorian estate. Runaways Atticus Belvedere, Leigh Paulson and Lucas Farwell go on to describe, explore and experience this estate, as well as its inexplicable and ominous origins. Throughout your experience, you will be taken back through time, learning about the past through logs and artifacts and stepping into the shoes of these brave explorers, who traversed the property over a hundred years ago.

Java Benitez, Mary Jordan, & Madison Pramuka

View The Exhibit

exiled spiders

This exhibit focuses on the London based band, Exiled Spiders. This exhibit starts with the formation of the band in 1977, and how each individual member joined. The band consists of Dutch Pierce; the guitarist, Drea Grey, lead singer and bassist; Elvira Valentine, pianist and songwriter; and Ani Iver, drummer. Throughout this exhibit, you will see exclusive journal excerpts from the band members, along with letters and cards. This exhibit also includes different pictures of personal possessions of the band members. After viewing this exhibit, you will have an in depth understanding of the band and it’s member’s history.

Caitlin Chatterton, Sara Cove, Brock Coursey, & Kohana Mehl-McKee

View The Exhibit


This exhibit follows the disturbing story of mentally ill college student Alex Quinn and his girlfriend Kate Price. As Alex grieves Kate’s untimely death, dreams and memories take over his mind and he is forced to confront the truth of what happened to her. Alex’s journal entries and Kate’s poetry provide windows into each of their lives, and reveal how their past led to an unexpected and gruesome end.

Janani Balaji, Alli Benthien, & Zameen Hassan

View The Exhibit

Group Poems

Mary Jordan, Java Benitez, & Madison Pramuka

Janani Balaji, Alli Benthien, Zameen Hassan

Jayden Senior, Lakhi Daniels, & Matias Peña

Ekphrastic Poetry with Community Partners In Action

Towards the end of this summer’s studio, the apprentices worked on ekphrastic poetry. They spent time writing in the museum’s gallery spaces with the new Community Partners in Action Prison Arts Program Annual Show 2020/21 for inspiration.

There’s a Fine Line Between Defending and Destroying

Inspired by Loneliness by Lawrence Simonoff

By Alli Benthien

somewhere an oak tree
holds onto her last leaf
wrapping gentle fingers around it
so the cold air can’t reach it

she’s known these winds for centuries
she knows how much they give
and how much more they take away

gazing at her once full branches
now bare and brittle
she sighs
she’d held the rest of her leaves
protected them

if only she’d known there would soon be one left

as a gust approaches 
she tightens her grip 
anticipating it’s too-familiar talons
that had snatched almost every part of her
and torn it to shreds

with all the strength that remains in her bones
she clutches the little brown leaf
knuckles flashing white
eyes firmly shutting
as the wind flies through her

and though it felt like hours
it was only a few seconds

slowly opening her eyes
and standing up straight 
she exhales
and gently releases the leaf from her grasp
crushed into unrecognizable shards
it looks up at her one last time 
and falls lightly to the ground

a picturesque green world

Inspired by Carlos Otero’s The New Green World of 2020

By Janani Balaji

in a picturesque green world
a tree’s extended limbs
lean into the sun’s rays 
like lovers locked in an eternal embrace
bathing in the sunlight
like a warm caress

foliage erupts from the tree’s feet
transforming into verdant valleys
green quilts that decorate mother earth’s skin

the landscape:   A respite from humanity

where the blue heavens 
and the lush greenery
can rest without consequence
out of people’s poisonous clutches 

because humans 

trample upon Mother Earth’s delicate feet
parching her body and scorching her insides 
leaving her barren and exposed

we are selfish to a fault

perhaps we caused our own doom 
and man is extinct 
and this is what it would look like
when the forbidden fruit is restored
a picturesque green world

Wild Mirror

Inspired by Untitled by Travis Gornto

By Kohana Mehl-McKee

Drowning in her insecurities– 
The mirror on the wall is a wild river,
instead of someone that she should love 
But it’s not her fault. 
And she’s begging you to see
How she went from A to B.
A kind child 
with a pleasant smile 
to a woman
with claws and fangs bared 
just to make it through the day. 
And when people look at her, 
they see her roses
thinking they can just trim her thorns– 
But the thorns are there 
to protect the roses
from being picked and turned into a pretty bouquet 
that will wilt in just a day. 
And she doesn’t want to die, 
but the water is clogging her lungs 
as she drifts down the mirror 
wanting to be loved. 

He Lies

Inspired by The Devils Pope by Esau Rivera

By Matias Peña

it is possible
that the words that bleed from my lips
equate to nothing 
when i am pulled into silence–

i am imprisoned
and dying

from sins i never tell–
because the scriptures i speak of
are a reminder of my mortality 
my hypocrisy
and a warning from 
who pulls my lips 
into a stiff smile

Self righteous hypocrisy

Inspired by two pieces: 

Universal Equality by Angel Gonzalez
We Unity – LGBTQ Community Around the World by Adrian Cartagena

By Lakhi Daniels

For what a petty reason
someone who doesn’t look like you 
acts like you think like 
Haven’t we killed enough?
How long will it take till you realize the monster you paint 
us to be is you?
When will you realize the savage you say is you?
How come when we take control and give back what YOU do,
we are persecuting or hating you?
Why do you suddenly believe in equality?
“That says very plainly you know what’s happening.
You know you don’t want it for you. So why let it continue to happen for others?”
These chains of inequality discrimination or persecution will never be 
Broken without YOU. 

Sharp Edges

Inspired by Ilda Cruz Shattered Pieces

By Sara Cove

You told me it’s okay to hurt,
before I jump.




S h a r p

E d g e s

have consequences.



S c a r

tells a           story.


I loved you like a


            Of              cards

I let it fall             apart.

But we all            fall down,

    we live             somehow.


Inspired by Ilda Cruz City Stars

by Caitlin Chatterton

As I stare into the night sky,
I see stars high above my head. 
Through the bars of my cell,
I see the earth shining. 
There are more stars here 
back home there is too much light to see. 
What happens to stars when they falter?
Does their light dim while they reevaluate what they are living for?

Do stars even make mistakes,
because right now they seem to all be bright. 
I wonder as I stare into this black abyss,
where it seems so easy to get lost in. 
To fade away and have no one remember you,
to be away from the world so long–
And that everyone at home won’t see you there,
that only if they leave and find you – they’ll see you:
the lone star in my sky. 


Two Blind Birds

Inspired by Kirk Ginter Birds in the Valley 

by Caitlin Chatterton

(This poem is best experienced on a full-size screen)

a bird 


                 into the valley


a second bird answers

                                     the cry

                                                together and alone


they are blind

                          unable to see the other

                                                            they can only communicate through their cries


they will never know what it is to see

                                                            they can only imagine 

                                                                                    but the mind may never replicate correctly


two blind birds

                          together in a valley they cry

                                                                          the only way they know that they are not alone


Postponed from last spring, this is the 42nd Annual Show, featuring hundreds of artworks by incarcerated, and formerly incarcerated, artists in Connecticut. Artists and prison staff work all year (two years, this year!) towards this unique and extraordinary community event.

Prison Arts works to encourage and enable productive, personal, and introspective endeavors in Connecticut’s prisons. Advocacy, workshops, independent projects in cells, exhibition and publication opportunities, and reentry services help participants develop technical, communication, and critical thinking skills, empathy, self-discipline, self-responsibility, self-esteem, work ethic, hope, calm, and connection with loved ones and the outside. And, the resulting artwork is often amazing!

Prison Arts is a program of Community Partners in Action (CPA), a criminal justice agency created in Hartford in 1875, as the “Prisoners’ Friends’ Society.” The agency has a long and storied history, which, at times, has been intertwined with that of Mark Twain, himself. Today, CPA’s many programs and projects focus on behavioral change and advocate for criminal justice reform, working to reduce recidivism, enhance public safety, and inform public policy.

Learn More Here

Neighborhood Studios: Write to the Point

Neighborhood Studios is the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s arts education program for local teens, ages 14-18. Working as paid apprentices at some of Hartford’s most renowned cultural institutions, students receive training in dance, theatre, photography, writing, stage design, music, and public art. Apprentices are paid a $100 weekly stipend, teaching them the important responsibility of a paying job. The Greater Hartford Arts Council’s Neighborhood Studios develops emerging artists and teaches teens the value of creativity and fundamental career skills needed to succeed in today’s workforce.

At the Write to the Point Studio, hosted at The Mark Twain House & Museum, apprentices will explore poetry and creative non-fiction, while considering the most important connections in their lives. Working with a Master Teaching Artist and museum staff, and through study in The Mark Twain House & Museum, apprentices will compose and perform creative writing pieces exploring to whom and to what they feel most connected. They will produce three main projects: an individual creative writing portfolio of six pieces, one group slam poem, and a virtual museum exhibition designed with their peers.

You can visit Let’s Go Arts! for more information about Neighborhood Studios. Neighborhood Studios is a program of the Greater Hartford Arts Council and is made possible with generous support from Travelers and Lincoln Financial Foundation. Questions about the Write to the Point program at The Mark Twain House may be directed to Erin Bartram.

Apprentices for Write to the Point! had three main responsibilities throughout the program: producing an individual creative writing portfolio with at least six pieces, writing a performance piece with a group of their peers, and working with the same group to construct a virtual museum exhibit based on a fictional concept the group created.

A day in the life of a Write to the Point! apprentice fulfilling their writing responsibilities looked like this:

  • Individual writing inside the Mark Twain House
  • Writing workshop
  • Group sharing and community feedback
  • Lunch
  • Collaborative writing for performance and/or exhibit
  • Daily takeaways

Over the course of the summer, Write to the Point! apprentices were introduced to different types of creative writing through daily workshops. These workshops were facilitated by the Write to the Point! teaching artists as well as guest teaching artists. Apprentices practiced poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and more. Below are some descriptions of workshops from this summer.


Many workshops centered around poetry and the various forms it can take. Apprentices had the opportunity to write haikus, haibun poems, ekphrastic poems, persona poems, and more. Haikus are three-line poems that follow a 5-7-5 syllable pattern. Haibun poems start as a prose poem and end with a haiku. Ekphrastic poems are poems inspired by art and involve certain steps of describing the art. Persona poems involve writing a poem from the perspective of an object, animal, or other person. In addition to learning about poetry forms, apprentices also received many prompts that inspired their free verse poetry.


The most notable fiction workshops from this summer included character creation, writing scary stories, and flash fiction. During our character creation workshop, apprentices spent time answering in-depth interview questions about a character they created. They later went on to write a story or persona poem about this fictional character. For scary stories, we took inspiration from the Mark Twain House episode of Ghost Hunters and looked at methods for building  suspense. Our flash fiction workshop involved writing a story that packs an emotional punch in 1,000 words or less. Throughout the summer, many apprentices were also inspired by other prompts and workshops to write their own short stories.

Creative Nonfiction

Apprentices who were newly introduced to creative nonfiction this summer learned that they could write nonfiction that didn’t resemble school essays or textbooks. Through different creative nonfiction workshops, apprentices had the chance to write creative essays and braided narratives. When writing essays, the apprentices focused on presenting scientific or historical facts in unique and personal ways, connecting these larger nonfiction topics to their individual life experiences. When writing braided narratives, apprentices worked on writing a micro-memoir that had other forms of writing braided into it. Most commonly, the micro-memoirs were paired with song lyrics or scientific explanations.

Other Workshops

Apprentices were able to experience a wide variety of writing this summer. Other memorable workshops include songwriting (music and lyrics), comedy sketch writing, yoga and meditation writing, nature writing, food writing, how music creates a mood, writing about social issues, blackout poetry, and more.

Write to the Point 2020

Beginning Monday, June 29, sixteen apprentices began receiving virtual instruction in creative writing, and exploring the role of power in a writer’s work through poetry, creative non-fiction, and museum exhibition. Under the tutelage of Master Teaching Artist Vicky Nordlund and assistants Joyce Hida and Robin Chiburis, they have spent six weeks fine-tuning their creative voices while using the Mark Twain House itself as inspiration. As their apprenticeships end, the museum is proud to present the culmination of their six weeks of hard work: four slam poetry performances, four virtual exhibits, and sixteen individual creative writing portfolios.

Group Poems

You Had It All Along
Prisca Afantchao, April Bartolotta, Sara Cove, and Chelsea Koss


Wherever We Are
Ayanna Tavares, Lakhi Daniels, Ashia Hawes-Brown, and Violet McCabe


Power is a Euphemism for Privilege
Ahjeiza Adrian, Harper Benitez, Siri Palreddy, and Mimi Villaparedes


Victoria Mitchell, Charlotte Watts, Ella Samson, and Maddy Brouillard


The Curious Happenings of Fulton County

Prisca Afantchao, April Bartolotta, Sara Cove, Chelsea Koss

This exhibit follows the gruesome events that unfolded in the small town of Fulton, somewhere in New England, through October 2009 to December 2009 after a luxury housing company began construction in the town’s ominous woods. When a contractor briefly vanishes and is found brutally attacked while on the job an investigation is opened, one that would go down in history. Detective Regina Chester, someone relatively new to town, and her partner Detective Joe Rogers, must delve into the elusive case when it is assigned to them. Little did they know, the case was impossible to solve. As more and more employees involved with the new luxury apartments died in the same exact way, with no traces of DNA or signs of tampering, the possibility of supernatural involvement became less irrational, even to practical Detective Chester.

While the CEO of Horizon Smarter Living is pressuring Detective Chester to speed up her investigations and stories of horrifying encounters in the Fulton Woods seem increasingly feasible, Detective Chester feels herself falling apart under the weight of paranoia and moral responsibility. After reading an urban legend that described an inexplicable experience of being mutilated by a glowing figure, with uncanny similarities to the deaths of the Horizon Smarter Living employee deaths, Detective Chester decides to look into it. She even goes into the eerie woods herself, clad with a camera, to see if there’s any validity to the stories. When she sees a glowing figure like the one she heard about and catches it on camera her sense of reality seems to disappear completely.

After a young Fulton resident named Charlie Murray approaches Detective Chester with concerns about the woods, conspiracies, photos, and files pointing to the connection between the tragedies and the construction she feels regret that there is nothing she can do to prove it. The deaths weren’t a result of a crazed environmental activist or freak accidents, they were retaliation against the destruction of the woods, from the woods. The story reflects on human interaction with nature, the dangers of corporate greed, and how it harms the Earth.

The Bubonic Plague: An Inside Account from the Lives of Those Who Lived It

Lakhi Daniels, Ashia Hawes-Brown, Violet McCabe, and Ayanna Tavares


The Wives of the 50’s

Ahjeiza Adrian, Harper Benitez, Siri Palreddy, Noemi Villaparedes

This exhibit traces the story of four bold and dangerous women living in 1950’s New Haven, Alice, Kathleen, Maria, and Nancy. The common thread, which binds them together, is that they are all housewives trapped in toxic and unfair marriages with their husbands. They have no control over their own lives until they decide as a group to set themselves free and kill their husbands.

These women were defined as merely wives for most of their lives — their interests and ambitions were ignored by their husbands. The women themselves lost some of their self-worth due to being in such power imbalanced relations. While extreme, by murdering their husbands, Alice, Nancy, Maria, and Kathleen rediscovered themselves in a society where women weren’t meant to prioritize themselves and their identities over serving their husbands.

The 2200’s: An Exploration

Victoria Mitchell, Charlotte Watts, Ella Samson, and Maddy Brouillard

This exhibit explores the many walks of life and cultures of the 23rd century. You will be following four particular people and their relationships with the world around them. Throughout these collected pieces, you will take a sneak peek inside each person’s life and gain a sense of understanding about the rich history, dynamics, and the rise and fall of power hidden inside the 2200’s.

The 23rd century saw the rise of artificial intelligence used in many ways, including as CareBots for affluent children. One such Bot, “Nova”, was retired after a malfunction caused her to become too attached to subject Secorah Xander, who went on to become a renowned Captain of the vessel Regnolium. Nova embodies the plight of bots in general, discouraged from emotion and not given autonomy over their bodies. Explore her story here.

Andrew Michaels is a Major General for the UMars Army. People are starting to evacuate Earth and head to other planets that have been thoroughly investigated and had numerous safety checks. Andrew was one of the first few people to live on Mars and now works for UMars military. He is engaged to Audrey Gauvin, a preschool teacher who is on her way to Mars and is pregnant. The UMars government is slowly controlling everyone without them knowing and Andrew wants to change that. Explore his story here.

One of the more well-known members of the working class was Nadia Opifex, an esteemed mechanic based out of the Aurelia Docking Port, based near Venus. She worked with many ships and crews to climb her way into the higher ranks of the Interstellar Mechanic Society. Although the working class is treated as a less essential part of society, her story highlights the true power they have over keeping things running smoothly. Explore her story here.

Claude Gaskin VI was a notable journalist working for The Gabbler, a prominent publication funded by, and dedicated to, the interests and dealings of the super-wealthy. At the tender age of 26, due to a fascination with historical icon Dr. Astra Xander, he slowly became disillusioned with the class system perpetuated by his writing. This exhibition tells his story and explores the distribution of wealth and power of his moment. Explore his story here.

Individual Creative Writing Portfolios

A Symphony of Heartbreak by Ahjeiza Adrian

Prisca Afantchao

Ordinary Fiction by April Bartolotta

Mother­ by Harper Benitez

The Present Meets the Past by Maddy Brouillard

The Effects of Power by Sara Cove

Lakhi Daniels

The Exchange of Power by Ashia Hawes Brown

Chelsea Koss (Coming Soon)

The War on Bugs by Violet McCabe

Regeneration by Victoria Mitchell

Budding by Siri Palreddy

Pearl Necklace by Ella Samson

The Literal Definition of Power by Ayanna Tavares

Children are Invisible Fliers by Noemí Villaparedes

The Power of Experience by Charlotte Watts


Neighborhood Studios is supported by Travelers Foundation, The Hartford, Lincoln Financial Foundation, Ensworth Charitable Foundation, Bank of America, N.A, Trust, Charles Nelson Robinson Fund, Bank of America, N.A, Trustee, Farmington Bank Community Foundation, Berkshire Bank Foundation, and Stanley D. and Hinda N. Fisher Fund at Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. Additional support for Write to the Point provided by Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.