Poet Ruth Van Alstine

Ruth Van Alstine has been writing poetry since a young age and has seriously pursued a writing career for the past thirty-five years.  In addition to her passion for writing, she is a handcraft and multimedia acrylic abstract artist. Her work in handcraft arts encompasses jewelry making, multimedia collage, scrapbooking, crochet, sewing and various other crafts and acrylic mediums to create artwork while pursuing her new passion of Ekphrastic poetry based on her own artwork creations.

Her latest abstract series “Celebration” is a collection of acrylic paintings inspired by the hope vaccinations have brought for an end to the COVID pandemic. Her PAM Jam poem “Joy” is a part of this inspirational collection and was inspired by the announcement that those vaccinated no longer need wear masks in public or around other vaccinated people, lifting our restrictions.

She has previously published the popular book of whimsical poems, Fairies and Fantasies 1996, the anthology of family life, loss, and recovery Shattered Moonbeams 2017, zines The Poet’s Pen, Volume 1”, and Autumn Poesies in 2020 and her latest poetry chapbook A While Away a limited-edition, 100 numbered copies featuring both poetry and full color artwork prints, released in April 2021.  Her poems have been published in national and international Anthologies including The Parnassus of World Poets Anthology Bombay, India in 1999 and 2000, five Cadence Anthology, “(a) River Rising Blooms”, 2020 among others.

She is a member of the Ancient City Poets in Saint Augustine, National Federation of State Poetry Societies, and serves as President of the North Florida Poetry Hub, local Chapter of the Florida State Poets Association in Jacksonville, Florida.

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Artist & Musician Chris Kastle

Chris Kastle is an award-winning singer, storyteller, songsmith, author, artist and educator from Saint Augustine, Florida. 

As a Recording Artist, she has released three solo CDs of music and stories; and, as part of a duo, 12 critically acclaimed CDs and a DVD.  Chris received the Annette J. Bruce Lifetime Achievement Award from the Florida Storytelling Association.  Her song, “El Faro”, in memory of the crew, has been well-viewed on YouTube.  As a visual artist, Chris has helped students of many ages and abilities to create individual and collaborative artwork in a variety of media. Her individual work has been displayed alongside that of her students at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens and by the Thrasher-Horne Center for the Arts.

As an Author, she has penned articles for maritime publications and been a contributing author in a maritime history anthology published by Claremont Press.  She has many original short stories and poems to her credit as well as, “From the Icy Fingers of the Deep”, a critically acclaimed book of short, scary, sea stories.  Chris is also the Author/Illustrator of a children’s book, “Dolly the Decorator Crab”, inspired by her work as a teaching artist for Arts4All.

As an Educator, she worked as the Director of Education at the Saint Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, an Instructor for the Inland Seas Education Association, a Visiting Professor at Governors State University, Community Educator for Friends of A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway and done a myriad of educational residencies and masters classes throughout the United States.  She is  currently on the faculty at the Old Town School and is a Teaching Artist for Arts4All and Ace Arts.

As an Arts Administrator, advocate and producer, she was the Executive Director of Common Times, the folk-arts organization that presented "Chicago Maritime Festival" and "Chinquapin Folk Music and Storytelling Festival".  Chris served on the Boards of the Florida Storytelling Association and the Tale Tellers of Saint Augustine.

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