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Recapping State of Stories

Recapping State of Stories

October 21, 2021

Early in 2020, the staff of The Story Center and the University of Missouri Extension Community Arts Program developed a series of programs intended to commemorate the Missouri bicentennial. Called State of Stories and funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, William T. Kemper Foundation, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the series began in late August 2020. By the time it wrapped up last month, we had offered 34 free programs, most of them virtual, and some are still accessible on MCPL’s YouTube channel

Among the highlights of State of Stories: 

  • Last April, MCPL’s imprint, Woodneath Press, published Curating Home: A Kansas City Poetry Anthology. Featuring 44 poems selected by José Faus, Marianne Kunkel, and Glenn North, the anthology received the 2021 Literary Award from the Missouri Library Association. 
  • This past August, 12 oral storytellers who participated in workshops led by Bobby Norfolk, Marideth Sisco, Dr. Gladys Coggswell, Angela Williams, and Beth Horner, and coached by Joyce Slater, performed original stories at the Together for ’21 Festival at the State Historical Society in Columbia, Missouri, and at the State Fair in Sedalia. 
  • And this September, six people premiered the short, digital stories created in a series of four workshops facilitated by Katina Bitsicas. You can view their stories on MCPL’s YouTube channel

While you’re on the YouTube channel, you can also watch recordings of State of Stories humanities programs about the culture and history of Missouri, including Dr. Sandra Enriquez speaking about the history of Latinos in Kansas City, Drs. Lisa Higgins and Michael Sweeney talking about quilting traditions from across the state, and Stuart Hinds and Austin Williams describing the struggle for LGBTQ rights in Kansas City. 

But to listen to “Looking Back to Look Ahead,” the four podcast episodes that KCUR’s Sam Zeff created specifically for State of Stories, you’ll need to visit The Story Center’s website.  

With the state’s bicentennial celebrations coming to a close in several months, we can look back on the past year and know that despite the pandemic, which altered how we presented most of our programs, people’s need to create, share, and connect with stories remained as strong as ever. 

Mark L.
The Story Center Director

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