Author profile: Dionne Custer Edwards on the muse, museums and multidisciplinary learning

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Writer and educator Dionne Custer Edwards possesses a passion for art that is infectious. As the creator of PAGES (an arts and writing program for teens) at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Edwards is an advocate for students, teachers and all who call themselves creative. We discussed her inspiring perspectives on multidisciplinary art and learning, as well as her own writing projects (including poetry, creative nonfiction and blogging).

PAGES is how I get to live and work as a writer. I get to be a writer in a museum context, and I get to share that sensibility with other budding writers. PAGES says, “Here are some really great works of contemporary art, and here are some pathways into your writing through this experience.”

These high school students get to meet all of these different artists, writers, creatives that have a process. Whether it’s research, their making process or their failures — students get to be front and center to that while they themselves are creating.

PAGES is a lot of folks working together, all in the name of young people writing. How we learn in and around the arts, that was always fascinating to me. I thought, as a writer, artist, creative ... what can I contribute to education, to that conversation? That’s how I ended up doing this work.

I am working on a collection about love. Love, and coupling, but also where I find it evidenced in other ways. I’ve been paying attention to and trying to capture love, including relationships, friendships, parenting.

I like to get up a little before the sunrise. I am fascinated by the sky; the sky is doing interesting things all the time. This is especially true at sunrise (sunset, too). When everyone else is still asleep, I carve out space to write and listen and feel and look ... I really try to write every day. It’s hard, and sometimes I feel like I could be doing this load of laundry now, but I think we have to honor that space.

Photo by Tim Johnson

Dionne Custer Edwards

Occupation: Arts educator (at the Wex) and writer

Neighborhood: Bexley

Favorite restaurant: Katalina's Cafe Corner and Tasi Cafe

Favorite meal: Brunch

Favorite publication: Poetry Magazine

Book most recently read and loved: Taiye Selasi's "Ghana Must Go"

Current earworm: Janelle Monáe's album, The Electric Lady