City of Stories: A community book art project

City of Stories is a community book art project that makes voices visible. When displayed, the books created will visually celebrate what unites us as well as what distinguishes us from one another.

Many people who come to my studio, Studio Pause, hear first-hand stories they might not hear anywhere else —stories of immigration, education rights, language equality, incarceration, etc. Beautifully simple and easily replicable, this project aims to:

Collect 10-12 real-life stories of children and childhood from the studio community.

Create art inspired by each story using various media to make each storyteller’s voice visible. Each story’s text and art will combine to make a Story Page. Each Story Page can be folded into a 3D house-shaped book. Each folded book will have space for others to add their own stories to, inspired by the Story Page they picked to work with.

Empower Arlington Out of School Time Staff to share their stories, which might go untold, and create their own Story Pages. Easy yet fun ways of learning stories through people, visuals, text, and construction of a 3D book object, allows different learners to join in and find success in art-making.

Train the staff on how to use the Story Pages to inspire students to share their own. This will create three different story collections: stories of studio community, OST staff, and students. Having taught many bookmaking workshops at extended day programs in the metro area, now I can teach the staff that already has a relationship with the children to do the project, letting their art and stories build understanding of their larger community.

Display the books in innovative ways creating a City of Stories that visually celebrates what unites us as well as what distinguishes us from one another. Guests can read them, walk through them, and make their own books and add them to the City of Stories. There will also be a digital space for “fans” to learn more about the community storytellers. Displaying, and viewing the books as a collective City of Stories will make visible our individual and local identities.

SAVE The DATE! Sun Apr 14: City of Stories Show and Reception, Center Gallery, Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington. 

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