Saturday, May 6th
“Parks Come Alive”
Old Courthouse Gallery
11 North 4th St., St. Louis, MO 63102
Juwuan is a founding member of the Stitchers Teen Council. He is now 20 years old and a gifted, dedicated leading Story Stitchers youth performer. Inspired by the history and weight of the Old Courthouse, the amazing St. Louis Arch at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, and his own personal ancestry, Juwuan wrote a new spoken word piece called “63 Stories” reflecting on the people who have walked the grounds throughout history. The St. Louis Arch structure is 630 feet tall and 630 feet is also the distance from leg to leg at ground level. One story equals ten feet making the Arch structure 63 stories tall. Along with other original works, this piece and a new song called “Dred Scott” by K.P. Dennis will premiere live on May 6th at the Storytelling Festival. Additional lead performers include Taron, Toryon, Chelsea, and Jonathan.
I am an American Story.
Close your eyes, see.
Feel the sun, beating on your shoulders.
Freedom, who all care.
Feel the breeze through your hair.
Cool water laps at your feet.
Oh, my ancestors heart the beat.
63 stories high.
I am a Native American story.
Outsiders were foreign so we 314 the pi.
At one with water, earth and sky.
Feel my pulse through the drums,
Hums earth, we pride, celebrated, and diverse
Is beneath the sky,
But still 63 stories high.
I am an African American story,
Too. Fly, what shackles.
I am 63 stories free,
Seeking for the knowledge like J.B.
Floating, freedom, traversing the water,
Against my will.
All these auction, no options, we can’t be still.
Salt water turns to tears as I’m sold on the Courthouse steps.
Claim up the problems.
Can’t pearl into some-thing new,
Can’t stop until some-things through.
How dare you! I am 63 stories high.
c Saint Louis Story Stitchers, 2017
Free and open to the public. All ages!
1 pm – 2 pm: Meet the Arch Builders, informal story-sharing and panel discussion. Reception follows at 2 pm.
As part of the NEA-funded “Parks Come Alive” project, a collaboration between Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and St. Louis Storytelling Festival, a variety of storytellers will showcase community reflections of what this iconic national park in the heart of St. Louis means to them. Featured will be the Arch Builders, Bobby Norfolk and other park rangers, Story Stitchers (an urban storytelling troupe), and school and community groups presenting community art projects. Reception follows. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To learn more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.