Sort of—you have to be queer-identified. Bent is committed to providing a safe and comfortable space for queer artists to express themselves. Queer artists often find themselves stifled by a heterosexist culture that, in a large part, does not value queerness, marginalized people’s art, and the choice to build community on the fringe of mainstream culture. Bent is committed to turning that dominant, heterosexist culture on its head and believes that one way this can be achieved is by providing space for queer/LGBTIQ artists to meet and flourish before unleashing them into the heterosexist world at large. The presence of someone in class who is not queer/LGBTIQ-identified—i.e., someone who has access to privileges associated with the dominant heterosexual—has the potential to undermine Bent’s mission, values, and goals. Bent recognizes that these things can be undermined in other ways as well and thus has additional class ground rules and policies. In this particular instance, we ask only queer-identified and/or LGBTIQ-identified to enroll in classes. We invite non-queer/LGBTIQ–identified allies to get involved in Bent in a number of other ways: through our occasional workshops open to all, by volunteering, etc.
Yes. Bent believes small classes build the intimacy and security necessary for writers to feel comfortable sharing and workshopping their work. Also, teachers are able to provide more attention to individual students if the number of students in each class is kept low. Generally speaking, an ongoing Bent class is considered at capacity when 15 students are enrolled.
Some colleges allow independent studies, and students should check with the college in which they are currently enrolled or intending to enroll to find out if Bent courses may qualify. Students should not assume Bent classes will be transferable. Bent does not have the capacity at this point to help students petition or otherwise approach their colleges to meet the requirements of the colleges. Moreover, Bent is first and foremost guided by and committed to its mission, values, and pedagogy and will not alter these things to meet the guidelines of any other learning institution.
Nope. Nobody is ever forced to perform or read aloud. We hope you’ll want to share your work with others, fellow students or audiences, though . . . when you’re ready to do so!
Bent’s primary programming consists of classes and workshops. Performance opportunities do arise, however. Bent holds a yearly Mentor Showcase, at which most enrolled students perform. Various other small shows translate into potential performance opportunities. The Art and Education Director designs these shows, and selects the performers, based on the specific needs of the event, etc. So, while nobody is guaranteed performance opportunities simply by being a Bent student, they often do come along.
Nope. You have to be in class to get the homework from Bent. Bent doesn’t distribute homework after class or catch students up via email, phone, etc. Class happens in class. Enrolled students who miss class are encouraged to check in with students who attended to get the homework scoop.