Artist Beit Midrash

The Artist Beit Midrash gathers to study Torah and create art in the summer at North Suburban Beth El, Highland Park, Illinois under the leadership of Jane Shapiro and Judith Joseph.  Barr's  poems, collages, and installations have been shown in five exhibits curated by  Judith Joseph.

Barr has collaborated with ceramicist Judy Solomon, graphic artist and photographer Sam Bernstein (see "Calling" in Photo Gallery), calligrapher Nessia Frank, and painter Marla Snyder. 

Her poem about Judith Joseph's grandfather "Woodcut of a Field of Wheat" was published in East on Central with Joseph's woodcut (see gallery below).

Drama in the Classroom

Barr produced and directed plays—La casa de Bernarda Alba and Un crimen en mi pueblo.—at Lake Forest and Northwestern University with colleagues, David George and Penny Nichols (photo below)

Throughout her career as a Spanish professor Barr brought prominent writers to read their work and give seminars to her students.

  • Teresa Porzecanski, winner of Guggenheim and Fulbright fellowships
  • Ana María Shua , called "The Queen of Flash Fiction" by El País,  was a frequent visitor at Lake Forest College .  (See gallery below.)
  • Antonio Skármeta, winner of Casa de las Américas Prize
  • Alicia Steimberg, winner of  Premio Planeta Biblioteca del Sur

Deerfield Library Poets

For  over a decade Barr has been a member of a weekly community poetry workshop.  Along with DLP writers Jackie Harris and MJ Gabrielsen, Barr judges the annual Tenth Dems Poetry and Prose Contest for teens in Waukegan, North Chicago, and Zion.

Two Fathers

Ellen Birkett Morris met Barr's father in a writing group in Louisville, Kentucky.  Ellen says she inherited Lois and Lois says she inherited Ellen.  Birkett's father wrote mystery novels,and Barr's father wrote legal briefs and poetry and drama after retirement.  

Their poem was a prompt for collaborative writing in Poets and Writers

See Ellen as a baby with her father John Birkett in  gallery below.

photos clockwise: Louisville writer Ellen Birkett Morris held by her father; Calling; Woodcut of a Field of Wheat by Judith Joseph; Penny Nichols and Barr at Northwestern University; Ani Shua at Lake Forest College; Barr with Writers Workshop member Mare Swallow. Center: members of Artist Beit Midrash