A community based art project developed by Felice Salmon, Storicraft dealt with the art of storytelling and crafting a personal narrative.
This semester-long story-collecting and –crafting project held space for conversations through a series of workshops surrounding storytelling through portrait photography and digital media. The North Lexington students in the Common Good afterschool program knit together images, ideas, and narration to produce autobiographical pieces called digital stories. They are honest, insightful, & some are quite funny. Each one represents a different person’s experience. The authenticity of the creators inspires and their courage brings others to share their own stories.
We recruited a total of 28 youth in grades K-12 to collaborate with us on this project. Our broad goals were to work with young people, provide training in digital photography and editing, and develop communication and literacy skills while encouraging creativity and identity formation among participants. Specifically, we were aiming to create 15-20 digital stories that we could archive on a website and exhibit before an audience of around 300. We were hoping to disseminate 100 DVDs with of the students’ work to share stories of depth from Lexington’s Northside. Ultimately, we succeeded in meeting each of these goals.
100% of the participants had no experience working with digital media, editing software or the digital story format as a means of communication. As a result, this uncharted medium held a lot of appeal for participants. With the help of KET, we organized two workshops of six sessions. Each included an on-site portion that involved brainstorming, digital photography training, photo critique, storyboarding, and narrative development, and an off-site visit to KET for digital editing.
The artists and mentors working with our participants were effusive in their praise of this project. Karen Lanier, a project mentor, exclaimed about our impending exhibition,
This is something I really enjoyed, and was a bit surprised at how much it moved me, spending time with the kids. From the finished projects I saw, I know it will be a powerful evening.
Jeff Gray, our project partner from KET shared,
It’s been a fine project and we’e very glad to have been involved. I’ll be sure to attend the screening. Congratulations again to you and your staff and students on the completion of your Storicraft video project.”
We created a total of 17 digital stories– 16 individual pieces, and 1 collaborative piece created by students in grades K-2. The first piece, Part of Me, is a collaborative story created by Kindergarten, 1st , and 2nd grade students. Inspired by a student portrait and poetry project created by Wendy Ewald, this work features portraits taken by students during photography workshops & their written reflections on the images.
These pieces begin with images and ideas, but with the help of a storyline, they grow into narratives with a beginning, middle, and end. Following the same theme as the K-2 class, the 3rd , 4th , and 5th grade students had the opportunity to go beyond basic reflection on their portraits to create a full-fledged story about the best part of themselves. We then took the students to edit & assemble their work at KET studios.
Middle & High School students courageously created digital stories that capture pivotal moments in their lives. These 6 pieces illustrate the power of storytelling as they reflect on issues of identity. Yet they also represent the capacity digital media has to enhance & magnify the potential of a narrative. These pieces exemplify how digital storytelling creates a new path by which our joys, sorrows, and musings can be shared with our community.
Funded by LexArts and in collaboration with Jenae Legg, KET, & Common Good After-school Program.