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Wealthy Theatre to host story collecting experiment

Next Thursday, May 2, Wealthy Theatre is hosting a story collecting experiment, free and open to anyone.

/courtesy of the Wealthy Theatre

Underwriting support from:

What is Elevating Voices?

  • Participate in the story circle
  • draw your story
  • add to the graffiti-mural wall
  • help compose the never-ending story

Free admission!
Thursday May 2
6-9 p.m.
Wealthy Theatre
1130 Wealthy Street SE

Finger food, concessions, member beer bar

Stories are the construct that collectively make us who we are, give us identity as a whole and allow us to appreciate both the fine detail of a moment and the sweeping energy of a universal notion.

Regardless of vehicle – in print, song, image or on screen – the collection of story happens relentlessly each day. But rarely is it taken to the street in the way Grand Rapids Community Media Center (CMC) has planned for next Thursday’s community event, “Elevating Voices.”

The event will forego much of the convention in modern storytelling. Rather, it is sending an open invitation to the neighborhoods, the workplaces, the churches and the municipal halls- urging action from anyone who has a story to tell.

“Sharing our stories is essential to the process of creating place,” says Janay Brower, president of the Grand Rapids Community Media Center’s Board of Directors. “Elevating Voices is a unique event where storytelling and story collecting are at the core of the experience. We want to engage members – former, current and future – to join us and share in a meaningful and fun opportunity.”

Stories will be collected through a series of compelling and insightful prompts and represented later in a digital mash-up, a teaser toward the center’s burgeoning plans to preserve and make available this live, impromptu community narrative.

The CMC directors will conduct a small amount of business during the event. But mostly the evening will be open to sharing food, drinks and stories.

“The impulse to put our experience into words, to animate it with characters and amplify it with conflict and suspense, is ancient,” says L.S. Klatt, Calvin College literature professor and poet. “The narrative impulse comes from something true but difficult to define since what happens in our lives so often baffles us.”

“It's very natural that we want to share our stories with one another, to come together and affirm what is mutually true and human about our fears and aspirations,” Klatt says. “To be involved in stories is to realize that we are less alone than we previously thought.”

So, we will tell it.

West Michigan will gather in one place on one night together and contribute the cumulative story that’s needed telling.

Cassie LaMacchia is a pursuing a degree in Community Leadership through Aquinas College, and has a passion for sharing stories as a way to advance the community conversation.

“I am unsure if my high level of anticipation for this event is the norm, but I can only hope our community views this as an opportunity to better understand those who are our neighbors,” LaMacchia says. “Exposure allows for growth; I anticipate a creative and fun way to go beyond listening, but rather feeling fully engaged in the moment of someone sharing their story.”

Disclosure: Patrick Revere is a board member of the Grand Rapids Community Media Center.

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