It’s 5:15 pm and it’s almost time to leave the Book Festival for the day. All around it had been an incredible day, starting with the first group of people from the Nationalization Ceremony stopping by to take books and make a small donation to Story Tapestries. To the children who dragged their parents over to create art using crayons, makers and sparkles. To the adults who willingly sat down to create art with their child. To the people who simply asked “What is Story Tapestries? Why are you part of the book festival?” All day long I explained that Story Tapestries believes in the power of the arts to change community, to teach young and old, and to empower the next set of young leaders to step up to the challenge of leading. Writing is an incredible form of creative expression of ideas, beliefs and history. Writers are artists and Readers are those who love to escape, to imagine and to live in the worlds the authors create.
Once again, it’s 5:15 pm and I was thinking about packing up. Yet, a face popped up around the corner, a child’s toothy smile, “Can I make something?” My tired mind said “Noooooo!!!!” My heart said “Of course.” My heart won and I sat down with the two children who were ready to create. The mom and the grandma settled into chairs and began to talk. They loved the art supplies and the simplistic nature of the project. Thirty minutes later the girls were still going strong. They were uninterested in leaving. Honestly, it no longer mattered that the day was done and everyone around me was packing up. What was important was their smiles, their desire to create, and their focus on the work at hand. They stayed until 6 pm when their adults dragged them away with a promise to make time to do art at home. The mom had told me that she did not like too much mess and therefore rarely let the kids create on their own. However, she was so impressed with her children’s focus and imagination that she was making plans to visit a store immediately and purchase art supplies.
So often we at Story Tapestries go into a classroom and the teacher explains to us that the biggest problem they have with the students is concentration and imagination. I have heard more times than I can count: “My students have no imagination!!” At the Book Festival this was not an issue, imagination was everywhere, in the people attending the festival, the vendors, and the authors. The day was full of people inspiring young authors like the two girls in my booth at 5:15 pm. The day was jam-packed with storytellers and musicians at the Imagination Station all using story to expand the minds of families. We at Story Tapestries look forward to next year’s “Inspiring More Authors to Discover the Power of the Written Word!”
-Arianna Ross, Story Tapestries Master Teaching Artist & Executive Director