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StoryCraft part 4: Intentions, a king, and the taste of freedom

On left, Clement Davidson wears a red sweatshirt with hood over his head. He holds a mic, wears a mask and is recording his poem. He sits next to Jaydin, wearing a dark sweatshirt with hood over his head and a mask pulled under his chin.
Clement Davidson (left) records his poem with fellow StoryCraft participant Jaydin, whose own poem is featured in the intro to the StoryCraft audio series.

The inaugural cycle of StoryCraft, a partnership between BPR and Asheville Writers In The Schools and Community, used an exploration of the senses as our north star during a series of six youth storytelling workshops at the Grant Center.  

Our goal was to facilitate a genuine experience of identity exploration at a variety of levels through: 

Simplicity: making sure their experiences and voices are captured without concerns of format, right or wrong.  

Emotional engagement of the senses: allowing the inner landscape to be voiced through it.  

Allowing students to ground on their past, present and future in exploring roots and wings. 

Cass Herrington stands in the middle of the room, her arms stretched, demonstrating to youth on the floor several pilates positions.
Credit Micah Mackenzie
Artist mentor Cass Herrington leads an opening meditation activity to help ground the group at the beginning of a StoryCraft workshop.

In Part 4 of our series – we bring you to some of those workshops to experience the profound impact of this collaboration between artist mentors and local middle school youth. We also share 12-year-old Clement Davidson’s rhythmic and empowering poem “Who I Am.” Clement developed his piece over the course of several weeks, and play a key role in encouraging his peers in writing and sharing their poems. 

Click the audio above to hear StoryCraft Part 4: Intentions, a king, and the taste of freedom 

Find links to the entire series and learn more about StoryCraft here

StoryCraft is featured in AWITSC’s annual El Arte de la Abundancia (The Art of Abundance) virtual showcase Saturday November 20th at 8:00 PM and in-person exhibit at the Arthur R. Edington Education & Career Center November 19-21. Reserve your free ticket here; COVID safety protocols are in place with limited viewings Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

Micah Mackenzie is in the bottom left of image, knelling and holding his arm pointing straight ahead, while a student stands next to him with a DSLR camera around his body, looking at the camera's screen and settings.
Artist mentor Micah Mackenzie offers guidance and encouragement to student photographers during the 2021 StoryCraft summer workshop series.


StoryCraft’s 2021 talent includes: Liam, Age 13; Clement, Age 12; Anderson, Age 12; Lorelei, Age 13; Isaiah, Age 11; Davaughn, Age 13; Jaydin, Age 13; Azia, Age 14; Tamia, Age 14; Emily, Age 14; West, Age 13; Emillia, Age 14; Keiya, Age 13; Ahmaria, Age 12; Antonio, Age 15; Tori, Age 15; Zaryah, Age 13; Payton, Age 13

StoryCraft 2021’s artist mentors include CocoEva Soleil LuzGuerrero Alcazar, Elizabeth Garland, Micah Mackenzie, Cass Herrington and Catherine Komp. Project managers and producers include Sekou Coleman, Micah Mackenzie and Catherine Komp. 

Thank you to Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center Staff for welcoming StoryCraft during the summer 2021 program and assisting with the StoryCraft session: Jessica Johnston, Facility Manager; Alic Wynn, Facility Supervisor; Khadeesha Crumbly, Zuke Samon and Corden Floyd, Summer Program Staff.

StoryCraft is part of the America Amplified initiative, a national public media collaboration focused on community engagement reporting.

Funding for StoryCraft comes in part from: Asheville Writers in the Schools, BPR’s McGuire Fund for Journalism, America Amplified, Asheville Area Arts Council Grassroots Arts Program and the North Carolina Arts Council Arts Equity Project.

Catherine Komp joined Blue Ridge Public Radio in September 2020 as the organization’s first Director of Content, leading BPR’s talented team of local journalists and content creators, overseeing national programming and facilitating collaborations and engagement initiatives.
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