The Crimson White

Creative Campus hosts storytelling festival

Jamie Lyons

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The second annual Black Warrior Storytelling Festival on Sunday integrated children’s arts and crafts, music and the art of oral storytelling.

Despite being moved to the rainy day location, families, students and community members came to enjoy the festival organized by Creative Campus.

The main stage featured a number of students and community members performing a variety of stories, including humorous, historical and inspiring. Musical interludes were provided by Jerry Ryan, Frye Gaillard and Kathryn Scheldt. The UA Rip Tide dancers also performed.

The children’s area featured yoga lessons by Yoga Bliss, various arts and crafts and the UA drum circle. UA Outdoor Recreation had set up tents outside for the children as well.

During the opening remarks, Creative Campus representatives encouraged attendees to get to know each other through the unique art of storytelling. They emphasized the opportunity to build relationships through sharing experiences and sharing stories.

One storyteller, Jody Evans, is a creative writing teacher at Hillcrest High School. She is also active in performing drama at Capstone Church.

“Stories are the nature of my work,” Evans said. She said that, as a teacher, she notices that students remember and connect better to ideas presented through stories.

When she presents stories in this setting, she said hers “tend to be what I would call a moment in time.”

The story that Evans presented at the festival chronicled many important moments in her life through the dogs that were involved in each of those moments.

“Certain dogs were in pivotal moments in my life,” she said. “The story really revolved around what I gained from each dogs’ personality.”

Another storyteller, Abigail Hardin, is a sophomore majoring in creative writing. Her story is based on a book she wrote for children, titled “Look at Me; I am Just Like You,” which was recently published. The story encourages children to appreciate differences in each person.

Hardin said she was inspired to write her story because of her own childhood experiences with bullying. She has presented her story to over 3,000 children, and said she never realized what a profound impact this story would have.

“Once we share our stories, it welcomes [others] to share theirs,” she said.

Hardin added that she usually leads a discussion with the children after she reads her book to them.

“It opens the floor for the issues of low self esteem and learning to encourage each other,” Hardin explained.

She said that, during these discussions, many students admit to being the victim of bullying, but some even admit to being the bully.

“It’s an everyday struggle that is not just for kids,” Hardin said.

Hardin also started a non-profit organization called, “Open My Eyes,” which provides support and funding for projects that focus on character development. The Web site for the organization provides more information and details about many of the projects that are in progress nationwide, and can be found at openmyeyesfoundation.org.

More information about events sponsored by Creative Campus can be found on their Web site, uacreativecampus.org.

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Creative Campus hosts storytelling festival