AUSTIN (KXAN) – It’s been nearly nine months since winter storm Uri brought sub-freezing temperatures, unprecedented power outages and water loss in Texas. Today, a group of creatives from Austin strive to commemorate their experiences through the power of the written word.
The Winter Storm Project is an art anthology that will incorporate poetry, photographs, essays, and other artistic accounts of the winter storm from the first-hand perspective of Texans. KB Brookins, creative lead for the project, said they were compelled to establish this process as a way to deal with the trauma suffered by Texans.
“I didn’t feel like I had a chance in my professional life, or even in my personal life, to mourn what it was or process what it was in a productive way,” said they declared. “So art, for me, has always been a way of dealing with things and also a way of chronicling the times of history.”
After the winter storm, Brookins said they started hosting virtual recordings with friends who were also browsing their experiences during the storm. When Austin Mutual Aid began offering rounds of grant funding in the spring, they brainstormed the concept with the city‘s sustainability office, which was receptive to the project.
Gillian Kümm is a project assistant with the anthology and said that there was still a lot of emotion and heartache associated with this experience. Given Winter Storm Uri’s timing before the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines, they weathered the storm on their own, accompanied by their dog.
While still considering whether to add their voice and perspective to the anthology, they added that the project serves to hold legislative leaders accountable for the storm and its effects on Texans.
“We want to inspire a dialogue about climate change and what we’re going to do,” Kümm said.
To continue these conversations about climate change, they added that 100% of the anthology’s proceeds will be split between the climate and community justice initiatives PODER, Basta Austin and Go Austin / Vamos Austin.
With this project, the two said it was a balancing act of acknowledging the Austinites’ experiences during the storm and holding leaders to account, while being able to overcome this heartbreak of constructive way and move forward.
“When I can create art on something, then all of a sudden it’s like, ‘Okay, that’s been dropped from my body,’” Brookins said. “I feel like I can think better. I feel like it’s not something that’s just in my head anymore, and it can be really liberating. “
The Winter Storm Project will be accepting submissions until December 15th. For more information on the project, click here.