Village Lake Writers and Poets are meeting again following covid-19 and trying to rebuild.
Co-director Donna Hanson said the group had an average of 50 people at events and more at workshops before the pandemic started and then had to go virtual. Now the organization is "having to start from scratch again," she said.
Additionally, the group is searching for a permanent meeting place. They formerly met at the Artists Retreat Center, but that has changed hands. Hanson said they do have a verbal commitment from the Bella Vista Library, but they are not sure how that will work out if attendance starts to boom again. They are hoping the Artists Retreat Center becomes available again, she said.
The website, villagewriters.org, has been relaunched and is open to the public, but those who sign up as members may blog and have access to data artifacts and file storage, she said.
There is no member fee now, but that will be reconsidered next year.
Hanson said most of the group's members are retired professionals in various lines of business.
"We strive to be a resource for one another," she said, noting that, with varying fields of expertise, members can fact-check one another on different types of stories.
Meetings include a speaker, a topic to focus on, a writing activity, lunch and a business meeting. Meetings are from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. once a month, usually on the second Wednesday.
The group's guest speakers on July 14 were Bella Vista Historical Society Co-Presidents Xyta Lucas and Dale Phillips. They gave a presentation on their new pictorial history of Bella Vista, which they compiled during covid-19.
Phillips said all sales, royalties and profits go to the benefit of the museum. Lucas said the book helps a lot with fundraising because during covid-19, the museum could not do any of its regular fundraising activities.
They presented a slide show with some photos from the book. They discussed the Linebarger family, which began selling lots to build cottages in Bella Vista in 1917, drawing people to the area. The cottages had electricity and indoor plumbing, and the Linebargers searched out wealthy people who could afford a summer home. The salesmen carried floor plans with them, and the buyers sometimes purchased the cottages sight-unseen.
They shared photos of other historical buildings, sites and people, discussing each one.
Also on the agenda was a writing prompt, open readings and a business meeting.
The August meeting will be 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Java Dudes in Rogers.