Extension partners with storytelling festival

University of Missouri Extension’s Community Arts Program has formed a new partnership with the St. Louis Storytelling Festival. The 2015 festival will be held April 30-May 2.

Lee Ann Woolery, MU Extension community arts specialist, said the festival begins its 36th year in 2015. The festival offers activities and events at various venues in St. Louis.

Ron Turner, executive vice president emeritus of the University of Missouri System and founding chairman of the St. Louis Storytelling Festival, began the festival as an annual community event designed to highlight the central role played by the ageless art of storytelling.

“Through its 35-year history, in partnership with major area cultural organizations, schools, parks, libraries, museums and community-based organizations, this award-winning festival has gained national prominence as a leader in the American storytelling renaissance,” Turner said.

The festival features culturally diverse storytellers, national and regional, at a free three-day event that includes a youth storytelling concert, a program for the deaf, faith-based storytelling, ghost stories and family storytelling. Storytellers perform in the St. Louis area.

“Building bridges between the various art disciplines at MU and Missouri communities is a natural outgrowth of our land-grant mission,” said Vice Provost and Director of Cooperative Extension Michael Ouart. “It is for these reasons that MU Extension is committed to being a full partner with the St. Louis Storytelling Festival. We recognize that the arts are an important means to improve the quality of life in Missouri communities. The arts also contribute to the economic development of communities across the state through projects such as the unique Community Arts Program.”

“The St. Louis Storytelling Festival lays the foundation for 21st-century learning,” Woolery said. “Today, Mizzou is nationally recognized as an ‘engaged institution’ — one that uses its significant academic resources to be involved with communities and citizens in a very concrete way to improve their lives.”

The University of Missouri Extension Community Arts Program began in 2012 to promote and foster community and economic development through the arts. Today, the program focuses on community arts through training, workshops and consulting services.

logo for the St. Louis Storytelling Festival

The storytelling festival will feature almost 30 culturally diverse storytellers, a youth storytelling concert, faith-based storytelling, ghost stories and family storytelling. This free cultural event is offered April 30–May 2 at libraries, parks and outreach sites.

The Grand Finale on May 2 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus also is free to the public.

For more information on the St. Louis Storytelling Festival, go to stlstorytellingfestival.com.