I Heart the Arts

At the end of 2016, after the deaths of two writing colleagues, I wrote this:

Countries fall. Empires crumble. Buildings tumble down, and monuments wear away. People come, they go, they die. Only stories and dance and music and drama—only ART—remains in the world forever. Art is not required to be embodied by a physical thing. As long as we can move, sing, speak, act, and remember, we can pass along who we were, who we are, who we hope to be. Art is the ephemera that will last forever.

Art matters. Unfortunately, from time to time, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities come under attack for….well, simply existing. It is rumored that these agencies are about to be attacked again.

Today I will write about the NEA. Tomorrow, I will write about the NEH.

As an artist who has benefited from grant programming, of course I want to show my support and explain why arts, culture, and history matter to the world. I also run an arts-based business, so I have a very engaged and practical dog in this fight: I want to protect my livelihood. I want to save my job. Agencies like the Delaware Division of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts provide opportunities for artists and mentor the growth of young and emerging artists.

Here is the mission statement of the National Endowment for the Arts:

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America.

And to learn about its history:

On September 29, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, creating the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. To celebrate the agency’s 50th anniversary, we created this web section to highlight how the NEA has helped nurture the arts in the country and made it accessible to all Americans.

My own arts story is shared on the United States of Arts map. The red poster on my About page was created by the NEA to promote its 50th Anniversary celebration.

Please join me in supporting the National Endowment for the Arts. Contact your elected officials to let them know that art, history, and culture matter to you.

Yesterday, I went on a poster-making binge. If you’d like to save and share any of these posters to make your support public, please do:












Fellowship Announcement

I am pleased, honored, and humbly thrilled to share this announcement. Congratulations to my fellow awardees, and many thanks to the Delaware Division of the Arts, the State of Delaware, and the National Endowment for the Arts for their support for art and artists.

Press release here.

2016 Individual Artist Fellowship Winners

The prestigious Individual Artist Fellowships from the Delaware Division of the Arts recognize artists in a variety of disciplines for their outstanding quality of work and provide monetary awards. Continue reading “Fellowship Announcement”

Tell Your Arts Story

RamonaGravitarIn 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, and so created two agencies dedicated to the development and preservation of arts, culture, and history in the U.S.

On September 29, 2015, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities will celebrate their 50th birthdays. If you are an artist or historian, you are invited to be part of this celebration.

The NEA has issued an invitation to artists to share how art influences and inspires you, your family, your community. The project is called Tell Us Your Story. You can submit an essay, audio, video, and photos. In September, the NEA will begin posting stories on their website. Continue reading “Tell Your Arts Story”

Return to Writing Camp

VCCA Blue RidgeI began this final month of 2013 by driving to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, to begin a two-week residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. VCCA is a year round working artist colony that provides work time and space for writers, visual artists, and musicians. Resident artists, called Fellows, are granted a private studio, private bedrooms, meals, and the camaraderie of two dozen other Fellows who have also rearranged their home, work, and family lives to devote a few weeks to creating their art.

This was my second time as a Fellow. I chronicled my first experience at my blog here in posts called Postcards from Writing Camp, Part I and Part 2.

 My first residency was nearly two years ago. I arrived with no clear idea of what to expect. I spent my two weeks there writing in a converted chicken coop, which I fondly called The Ark. I arrived with an idea for a novel, but nothing written. I left with a lot of pages written, and a vow to return.VCCA installation path

This time, as a veteran, I had a better idea of what to expect. I packed a favorite pillow, more shoes, my own big cushy bath towel, and a coffee maker.  Every writing experience teaches me something new. This one taught me, among other things, I needed access 24/7 to a coffee maker.

The reason for the coffee is, when you are charged with doing nothing but writing 24/7, you don’t have to adhere to a 9:00 to 5:00 schedule. Although I am self-employed and work at home (sometimes in my pajamas), I stick to a schedule. This, I have learned as an adult, is how one successfully makes mortgage payments.

But at an artist colony, the schedule went kaput. The three meals in the dining room grounded me, sure, but my studio was in a self-contained cottage: two bedrooms, two studios, a shared bath. The cottage is separate from the converted barn where the other studios are situated, past the fields and the two permanent resident horses.

I was a little sad to be separated from the barn area, but the cottage had perks. I could wake up in the middle of the night in the upstairs bedroom and, quietly so I didn’t wake my cottage mate, sneak downstairs at 3:00 a.m., or 5:00 a.m., or any other a.m., and write in my studio. After about three days, it was bliss.

VCCA cottageWhy after three days? Well, I had a little problem at first. I had the opportunity to write about it in a guest post at Jordan Rosenfeld’s blog. Panic at the Artist Colony exposes a side many writers share, but don’t often discuss: feeling like a fraud. Most of the time, I’m relatively confident of what I’m doing and where I’m going as a writer, but from time to time, I’m not. This time, the uncertainty hit like a truck.

Thank you to Jordan for generously allowing me the space to write about overcoming the fraud feeling, and thank you to the writers who commented at the blog or emailed me personally about your own experiences.

We are not alone. Even in a private studio, at an artist colony in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, writers are a community.

In keeping with this theme, I returned to Delaware to the wonderful news that a collection of work created during the Delaware Division of the Arts’ 2012 Cape Henlopen Retreat is now in print! Thanks to the spectacular editorial team of Phil Linz, Maria Masington, and Beth Evans, the collection of work by 8 poets and 7 prose writers, plus introductions by our retreat mentors JoAnn Balingit and Alice Elliot Dark, was gathered and became Wanderings: Cape Henlopen 2012.


Award Winners XIII

The Biggs Museum of American Art is hosting an exhibition–and two parties–to promote the work of the Delaware Division of the Arts’ 2013 Individual Artist Fellowship Winners.  Seventeen Delaware musicians, painters, sculptors, dancers, folk artists and writers will share museum space to  highlight their work. The Award Winners XIII exhibition will run from August 2 to October 13, 2013.

The exhibition will open on Friday, August 2, with a  First Look pARTy.  If you are hanging out in, around, or you can find your way to Dover, stop in!



Upcoming this Summer: A Workshop, an Art Party, and a Reading

Three big events will dominate the summer of 2013 for me: an Art Party to open the exhibition of works by fellowship winners; an online workshop on writing basics; and a literary reading at an historic plantation. Check them out below!

Event #1

First Look pARTy! at the Biggs Museum of American Art

iaf-banner-home-2013Friday, August 2, 2013, from 5:00 to 7:00

Be one of the first to see the works of this year’s DDOA Individual Artist fellows at the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover, Delaware. This year’s Award Winners XIII exhibit will feature works by the seventeen Delawareans honored with IAF grants from the State of Delaware in 2013. Each IAF artist will have a spot in the exhibit. From the Biggs Museum’s Exhibition calendar:

Award Winners XIII: August 2 – October 13, 2013

For thirteen years, the Biggs Museum has partnered with the Delaware Division of the Arts (DDOA) to showcase the artistic talents of Delaware in an annual summer exhibition. The annual Award Winners exhibition features the talent of the current Individual Artist Fellows of the Delaware Division of the Arts (DDOA). Delaware artists: painters, photographers, sculptors, writers, musicians and craft artisans, have the honor of winning the DDOA’s annual distinguished fellowship prizes. The fellows are chosen by jurors from hundreds of entries. In a partnership with the DDOA, the staff of the Biggs Museum invites each year’s Award Winners to the only group exhibition honoring their combined accomplishment.

The annual Award Winners exhibition is one of the most important annual projects at the Biggs Museum in carrying out its mission to celebrate artistic diversity, provide public educational access to Delaware’s fine-arts community, and to bring more awareness of both the museum and art to the community. Award Winners traces the evolution of the local art scene in Delaware and is presented to the public with hopes of encouraging conversation, comparison, debate and reflection of the diverse nature of work being created in Delaware.


Event #2

Back to Basics Workshop

Online workshop running from August 4 – August 11 (one week) sponsored by the Mary Roberts Rinehart Pittsburgh Chapter of Sisters in  Crime.  The workshop is both a beginner and refresher course and is open to any writer. From the chapter website::

When: August 4-11, 2013 (1 week)

Where: Online via Yahoo Groups

How Much: $25 for Members, $30 for Non-Members

This is not your Grandma’s Grammar class, folks. This is about writing. This is about writing efficiently and effectively.

This workshop is designed to be both new for the beginning writer, and a review for the more experienced writer. Each day will be a lesson on a specific writing topic: Point of View; Passive vs. Active Writing; Show Not Tell; Word Choices; Backstory; Delivering Dialogue; Creating Conflict. I will post a lesson, with examples to illustrate each point, and exercises to practice the lesson of the day. In workshop mode, we will exchange and review the exercises day by day.


This workshop will be of particular use for beginning writers, to learn some fundamentals. For writers with some or more experience, the daily offerings on writing topics could serve as a review or a new approach to basic skills. No draft is necessary because I will be offering unique exercises. Writers can apply the lessons to their work, but it will be a how-to each day.

About Ramona

Ramona DeFelice Long works as an author, independent editor, and instructor. As an editor, she works with private clients, primarily in the genres of mystery, women’s, and literary fiction. Her clients range from well-published to new writers and young writers. She has edited several anthologies of short fiction for chapters of Sisters in Crime as well as private writing groups. As an instructor, she teaches courses online and craft workshops (Scene Writing, Short Stories, Story Q&A) and intensives (Self-Editing) at writing conferences. As an author, she’s been published in fiction and non-fiction in a variety of publications. She is also a regular at free writes and Open Mics in the great state of Delaware.


Event #3

Literary Reading at John Dickinson Plantation

field postcard final

When: Saturday, August 24, 2013, at 1:00 p.m.

Where: John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover, Delaware

What: Literary reading

Join two local authors representing the Delaware Division of the Arts’ Individual Artist Fellowship Program for a literary reading at the home of one of the state’s most treasured historical figures.

Ramona  DeFelice Long of Newark and Russell Reece of Bethel will share stories and discuss the importance of value and impact of place in their writing. Following the reading will be a plantation tour and historical demonstration.

The John Dickinson Plantation is a working 18th century plantation complete with a period farm complex and the beautifully restored home of John Dickinson. One of American’s leading patriots, Dickinson wJohn Dickinsonas called “the Penman of the Revolution” for  his eloquent and passionate writings about liberty.  The John Dickinson Plantation is supported through the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.

This event is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

New DDoA Artist Pages Posted




I am happy to share the Delaware Division of the Arts new 2013 Individual Artist Fellowship pages. Take a look at the painters, composers, writers, and musicians selected this year to represent the state’s commitment to supporting and promoting art and artists. I am honored to be among this group of 17 artists selected for 2013.

I had the pleasure of being interviewed (again) for the page by Christopher Yasiejko. Our ar-coverconversation focused on my particular discipline, Creative Nonfiction, which is my writing focus this year as I pursue my grant project on writing about how the various places I have lived has influenced me as a person, a citizen, and an artist. I am enthusiastic about this genre which allows a writer to research like a reporter and write like a novelist.

My work sample is in the interview taken from “Getting to Grand Isle,” a piece published in The Arkansas Review in 2012.

Delaware has a fine track record for supporting the arts. As part of the IAF program, en dach of the artists featured in the pages will give a public performance or viewing of their work. I will be presenting in August, with fellow Delaware writer Russell Reece. Our literary reading will be at the John  Dickinson Plantation in Dover, on August 24. We will read and share a colonial craft and tour of the plantation. We hope this reading at an historical site will be the start of a literary series set at places important to our state’s history.