The Seaside Institute Celebrates 30 years with the Escape to Create Artist Residency

The Seaside Institute Celebrates 30 years with the Escape to Create Artist Residency

The Seaside Institute celebrated 30 years of community building and cultural partnership on Jan. 19 with the Escape to Create Artist Residency in a special program featuring esteemed essayist, critic, author and Seaside’s poet-in-residence, Dr. Kristina M. Darling. The night also included a collaborative partnership with the Emerald Coast Storytellers.

The evening opened with a wine and cheese reception followed by Darling’s reading from awarded works and a writing segment guided by Darling for the Emerald Coast Storytellers writing group. Seaside founders Robert and Daryl Davis were in attendance and have supported the Escape to Create program and the artists each year. It was wonderful to welcome the community, celebrate Darling’s works, and incorporate a new partnership with the Emerald Coast Storytellers.

Escape to Create Director Marsha Dowler puts a lot of heart and soul into this program, which began at the Seaside Institute. The program evolved over the years and later became its own non-profit organization. Thirty years later, the program continues to cultivate and support award-winning artists. Marsha has a supportive community surrounding her to pull off many events over a two-month period.

Kristina Marie Darling is a poet, essayist and critic. She holds a doctorate from the Poetics Program at S.U.N.Y.-Buffalo, as well as an M.F.A. from New York University. She is editor-in-chief of Tupelo Press and Tupelo Quarterly.

A 2023 Visiting Scholar at the University of Cambridge, Dr. Darling is the author of 39 books, including:

“Look to Your Left: A Feminist Poetics of Spectacle”, “Stylistic Innovation, Conscious Experience, and the Self in Modernist Women’s Poetry”, “Collaborative Poetry in the New Century”, “Silence in Contemporary Poetry”, “Silent Refusal: Essays on Contemporary Feminist Writing”, “Daylight Has Already Come: Selected Poems 2014 – 2020”, “Je Suis L’Autre: Essays & Interrogations,” named one of the Best Books of 2017 by The Brooklyn Rail, “DARK HORSE: Poems,” which received a starred review in Publishers Weekly

Her work has been recognized with residencies at many art centers throughout the world. Dr. Darling has also lectured on contemporary literature, poetics, the publishing arts and creative writing.

Born and raised in the American Midwest, she now divides her time between the United States, Greece and the Amalfi Coast.

This special program was supported by a grant from The Merchants of Seaside.

For more information about the Seaside Institute visit the For information about the Escape to Create Artist Residency program that takes place in Seaside every January and February visit Also, learn more about monthly events by the Emerald Coast Storytellers by visiting

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