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Cather Center alters Spring Conference

Willa Cather's childhood home sits in Red Cloud, where the annual Spring Conference for the Willa Cather Center typically takes place.
Willa Cather's childhood home sits in Red Cloud, where the annual Spring Conference for the Willa Cather Center typically takes place.(KSNB)
Published: Jun. 2, 2020 at 6:59 AM CDT
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Rather than cancel or postpone the 65th annual Spring Conference the Willa Cather Center made a big decision: keep the event as scheduled but change the way it looks.

For the first time in its history the Conference will take place entirely online as opposed to in person on the grounds of the National Willa Cather Center in Red Cloud.

The Conference is scheduled to begin June 4 and end on June 6. It consists of panel discussions, lectures, virtual exhibits and more. The topic of this year's conference centers around the 100th anniversary of Cather's short story collection "Youth and the Bright Medusa".

Ashley Olson, the Executive Director of the Center, says, as of Monday, they have seen about 180 registrations for the Conference, which is fairly on par with the average number of attendees.

Organizers hope by going virtual it will be a chance to reach a new audience.

"I think this might be exactly the kind of thing that might get younger audiences interested in Cather," Tracy Tucker, the Education Director and Certified Archivist at the Center, said.

Not having people visit Red Cloud and experience what the Center has to offer in a physical manner will be difficult for organizers to get over, however they believe what they've done in piecing the Conference together will offer just as much.

"I wish people could be here to see them [the exhibits] in person but I think we've done a really nice job of capturing, at a macro level, what these pieces of art look like and trying to deliver that to conference goers in a meaningful way," Olson said.

Anyone interested in registering for the 65th Spring Conference can visit the Center's website

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