Kalamazoo Valley Museum to Host Storytelling Festival



Michigan Storytellers will unite at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum’s first annual Storytelling Festival on February 2, 2013. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and includes storytellers, workshops, vendors, and story-related crafts. The festival theme “Tales with Ties” recognizes that we are all tied to our stories; they tell others who we are, what we value, and, when we share them, what it is we want others to know about us.

Jenifer Straus, from Traverse City, comes from a family tradition of telling stories by candlelight and will start the day off with stories for families with young children. Miss Lisa (Bredahl), of Kalamazoo, has engaged young children through adults in dance for more than twenty years. She will lead a workshop for preschoolers and their adults on imagination and movement around traditional stories.

Kinetic Affect, from Kalamazoo, is poetry with emotion that connects the audience to their own stories in ways that surprise and surpass all expectations. “Listeners will be blown away by what they hear and experience,” according to Annette Hoppenworth, festival organizer. Kinetic Affect will also lead a workshop sharing what they are doing to help teens heal and put their own stories into words in their Speak It Forward program.

During the afternoon, Adam Mellema, who divides his time between Grand Rapids and California, will present his latest work, "Remembering World War II." The stories, in their own words, of those who were there have been highly regarded as both a gripping history lesson and a trip down memory lane.

Native American Shirley Brauker, from Coldwater, uses art to tell traditional stories. She created a carved clay pot illustrating a story about how the stars came to be in the night sky. This story is featured in the Museum’s planetarium show, “Sky Legends of the Three Fires” and Brauker’s pot is currently on display at the Museum near the story tree in the history gallery. Museums typically use artifacts to tell the stories of the people who live nearby. “The Storytelling Festival is a natural progression for what we do,” said Museum Director Bill McElhone. “Teaching our visitors about the history of the area and how to recognize their own story is what museums do best.”

Storytellers with messages for a range of ages will perform throughout the day on the main stage in the third floor traveling exhibit space. Theater workshops will also be scheduled throughout the day in the Stryker Theater. Hands-on activities including creating storytelling props, bookmarks, story collages, and journals will be offered in the WorldWorks room.

Museum staff will also present workshops on collecting oral histories and a how-to, hands-on session on preserving family heirlooms. Vendor tables will be on display on the first and second floors of the Museum. They will include bookstores, artists who do calligraphy and paper-making, writers, illustrators, and the festival presenters.

Visit theMuseum’s website, for complete details and links to storytellers and vendors.

Admission to the Museum and the Storytelling Festival is free.

The Kalamazoo Valley Museum, located at 230 N. Rose Street in downtown Kalamazoo, is operated by Kalamazoo Valley Community College and is governed by its Board of Trustees.