AVA and BALE: Storytelling's the Hot New Art

Storytelling is one of the oldest art forms. In the Upper Connecticut River Valley, the tradition has returned, shedding its perceived fusty image. It is speaking to a modern generation who, contrary to how they are described, is seeking face-to-face contact, the breathing of communal air and the desire to share an experience outside of digital devices.

At the Mudroom, Kevin Gallagher tells how he "made new friends after turning up at the wrong Christmas party."

At the AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon NH, a storytelling venue--The Mudroom--was created in part to bring new and younger people into the gallery. Each presentation is built around a theme--Going Home, or Protest Stories (which included tales of political demonstrations, a bomb threat, and a toddler rebellion.) Three years ago, its initial presentation of stories drew a crowd of 50 people.  The Mudroom is now offered at AVA 4 times a year, attracts the maximum room capacity of 150 people, and sells out each time.

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Noting that " . . . there is a vibrant storytelling community in the Upper Valley that is growing with the popularity of national programs like NPR's The Moth," AVA's Sheryl Trainor says that "AVA provides a congenial space for community members to gather and share a meal, some stories, and some foot-tapping music." AVA will be offering a storytelling workshop with Judith Hertog in August.

The next Mudroom, It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time, will be held at the AVA Gallery on June 15 at 6:30 p.m. Dave Clark will provide the music, Pon will be bringing the food. Tickets are available online. If you can possibly avoid it, don't wait to buy tickets at the door. They are rare, and more expensive.

Bobby Sand, Vermont Law School Professor and former Windsor County State's Attorney, tells a story at A Woven Thread

Just  twenty miles up the road, in the village of South Royalton, Vermont, a brand-new storytelling effort, A Woven Thread, is finding its footing at the White River Gallery@BALE.  It has scheduled its third meeting for June 6 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m on the Vermont Law School Library Quad, or if inclement weather, at the BALE Gallery on Windsor Street at the corner of the South Royalton green. Its theme is Pivotal Moments. All are welcome, and picnics are encouraged.

Update:  see the comment below from the Main Street Museum in White River Junction regarding its open mic storytelling evenings. Next up: June 14.

(For an review of one of the Mudroom's previous presentations, please click here.)


I write about the arts and other interesting things in the Upper Valley. Please sign up to receive an email each time I post something new by clicking here.  To view my profile page or to read previous posts, please click here.

Susan B. Apel, writer, ArtfulEdge

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