Third Street Writers and Laguna Beach’s phone booth artists announce conversation collaboration

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No need to hang up the line! The Third Street Writers have joined forces with Candice Brokenshire and Julie Setterholm, the artists who created the Forest Avenue phone booth art installation “We Need to Talk.” 

Members of the Third Street Writers stand with the Forest Avenue phone booth art installation, “We Need to Talk.” Photo/Jennifer Griffiths

The nonprofit writing group has created 14 prose pieces inspired by the project and is converting them into audio pieces in response to this public art project. 

Ranging from prose to poetry, the pieces address the human impact on Laguna Beach’s unique geography and ecosystems—from the ocean to the canyon. Each selected author has recorded their piece and the audio version will be available on Third Street’s website in April, which is Earth Month.

“The booth and the telephone represent a two-way conversation, a space of speaking and listening,” Third Street president Amy Dechary said. “We viewed the installation as the epicenter of conversation about the environment, and we asked contributors to envision conversations about Laguna Beach’s unique environs and our role in greater global ecosystems.”

The collaboration builds upon the installation’s planned partnerships to create discourse between Laguna Beach’s art and environmental groups. 

“The written submissions have truly exceeded expectations. And what a range—we have stories of both tragedy and hope. Some are scribed with warmth and sensitivity, while others tickle us with their imaginative angles and sardonic flair,” Brokenshire said. “Each piece is a delight to read and very soon hear. This is a deeply meaningful collaboration and extension of the ‘We Need to Talk’ installation, for which we are very grateful.”

The collaboration between the writers and the art group builds upon a rich heritage. 

“Third Street members are used to writing in response to art (a process known as ekphrastic writing), but we were challenged by the message in this piece by Brokenshire and Setterholm,” said Theresa Keegan, vice president of Third Street Writers. “This environmental message is an important topic and we wanted to contribute, making this a very personal and interactive experience.”

In a leap of technology, there’s a QR code on the exhibit, where the authors’ works can be accessed as an auditory piece, essentially inviting participants to come inside the booth metaphorically and eavesdrop on these important “conversations.” This outreach builds upon the installation’s dedication in June 2023, when Sian Poeschl, Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Manager, noted that the project requires viewers to approach the phone booth to really explore what is inside.

“Being a part of the ‘We Need to Talk’ installation has been such a connecting experience,” Setterholm said. “It’s like being re-introduced to the town I grew up in. I’m thankful for all these lovely humans supporting this project.”

“We Need to Talk,” part of the Laguna Beach Arts Commission collection, will be displayed through June 2025. Third Street Writers compendium will be available throughout the month of April on the group’s website.

For more information, contact Amy Dechary at [email protected]visit the group’s website, like them on Facebook @ThirdStreetWriters or follow them on Instagram @thirdstreetwriters. 

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