The Art of Story Festival is back in Washington County and celebrating its 15th year with a diverse lineup of storytellers.
Every year, Washington County Cooperative Library Services hosts a free week of events at different libraries to share tales about life, legends and history.
Four professional storytellers will be featured, including musician the Rev. Robert B. Jones from Detroit, award-winning storyteller Jasmin Cardenas from Chicago, speaker Lawrence Howard and therapist Kelly Hoffman from Portland. All events are for adults, except for a few at which children age 6 and up are welcome.
This free-of-charge chance to hear and learn stories attracts newcomers every year and reunites people who are regulars to the festival, said Jodi Nielsen, WCCLS program coordinator said.
Alongside Nielsen in planning the lineup is librarian Blaine Ross, who chairs the festival committee. He believes even if listening to storytellers doesn't seem like something you'd normally want to leave your house to do, it is well worth the time, he said.
"Oral stories have been around a long time and it is important for people to connect. I know when I go to storytelling events, I am blown away of the quality of entertainers and what they choose to share with the audience, it is not like going to a movie," Ross said. "You are having a shared experiences with others."
Here are the lineup of events:
The week begins at Beaverton City Library, 12375 S.W. Fifth St., with the Adult Story Slam Contest at 7 p.m. Contestants Janet Liu, Patrick Gannon, Sankar Raman, Norina Beck and Mike Devenney will each tell a story, and the winner of the slam will go on to perform at the final event of the festival.
Sunday, April 28
From 2 to 3 p.m. at the Tualatin Public Library, 18878 S.W. Martinazzi Ave., storyteller Kelly Hoffman will share a story about "a tomboy turned sailor" titled "Amazon Barbie Ships Out!"
Tuesday, April 30
Three events will be spread apart the county. At the Elsie Stuhr Center, 5550 S.W. Hall Blvd., Beaverton, the Older and Wiser Story Showcase will kick off at 4:30 p.m. Featuring the stories of Cynthia Butts, John Wylder, Janies Collins, Chuck McConnell and Frances Hunter, the event will speak on the experience of aging in the community.
At the Forest Grove Library, 2114 Pacific Ave., Forest Grove, Kelly Hoffman will perform "Turning Points," a story about love, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
At the Glenn & Viola Walters Cultural Arts Center, 527 E. Main St., Hillsboro, Lawrence Howard of Portland Story Theater presents "The Adventures of Huckleberry Howard" at 7 p.m. This covers four of Lawrence's more popular stories, with a little harmonica music and a bit of narrative poetry mixed in for good measure.
Wednesday, May 1
At Aloha Community Library, 17455 S.W. Farmington Road, Kelly Hoffman will recite "Parenting Isn't Permanent," about her experience as a mother of boys, at 6:30 p.m.
Sherwood Center for the Arts, 22689 S.W. Pine St., will host Cardenas as she shares "Growing Up Between Worlds and Grappling with Justice." This bilingual program in Spanish and English will describe Cardenas' own life experience, including her fight for social justice in the United States.
Thursday, May 2
Cardenas will be at Banks Public Library, 42461 N.W. Market St., from 7 to 8 p.m., presenting her story "Niña Buena? Good Girl?" for adults. It explores the idea of trying to live up to family expectations.
Tigard Public Library, 13500 S.W. Hall Blvd., from 7 to 8 p.m. will host Jones, with his story, "I Came From Detroit." Adults and children age 6 and up are encouraged to join as he speaks about "stories of survival and resilience."
Friday, May 3
Jones will be at Christ United Methodist Church, 12755 N.W. Dogwood St. in Cedar Mill, for a program hosted by the Cedar Mill Community Library, at 6:30 p.m. Jones will tell a story titled "Alabama Stories, Tales from the Motherland," about his family's history in the South.
The Garden Home Library Annex, 7306 S.W. Oleson Road, hosts Hoffman to deliver her story, "The Comeback Kid!" at 6:30 p.m.
Cardenas presents "Cuentos From the Americas" at the Cornelius Public Library, 1370 N. Adair St., in English and Spanish for ages 6 and up. She will use storytelling, music and dance to weave together stories from throughout the Americas.
Saturday, May 4
In a program hosted by the North Plains Public Library, Jones presents "The History of Our Music" at the Jessie Mays Community Center, 30975 N.W. Hillscrest St. in North Plains, from 1 to 2 p.m. about American history through folk and blues music. Recommended for ages 6 and up.
The culmination of everyone's hard work ends with the festival finale in the Arts & Communication Magnet Academy Auditorium, at 11375 S.W. Center St. in Beaverton, with the reception beginning at 6:15 p.m., and the event lasting until 9:30 p.m. The reception at the beginning will have complimentary beverages and desserts sponsored in part by Reedville Catering, and the showcase starts at 7 p.m. A performance by the Student Story Slam Contest winner will start the night, and the winner of the Adult Story Slam Contest will present.
Hoffman will read "Bring Me to My Knees, Raise Me Up, Give Me Hope!" and will be followed by Howard with "Night on the Island." Cardenas will perform "Teenagers Making an Impact in a World Full of Injustice" about her time working with inner-city youth. Jones will wrap the night up with "I Can't Play Like BB King."
For more information, visit wccls.org/festival. Need assistive listening devices or sign language interpreters? Call 503-846-3222 at least three business days before an event to schedule.
By Janae Easlon
Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune971-762-1166
Follow Janae at @Janae_Easlon
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