Peace in the Prairie Sketchbook: This Is Why

Stitchers Youth Council Branden Lewis at Gateway Arch National Park. STAND DOWN RISE UP Performance. 2.2.2019. Saint Louis Story Stitchers. 2019DSC_0099
Branden performing at Gateway Arch National Park, February, 2019

Peace in the Prairie explores urban violence and peace experienced in nature. For the 40th Annual St. Louis Storytelling Festival, Saint Louis Story Stitchers commissioned two Stitchers Youth Council members, Branden Lewis and Elijah Foggy, to write a new hip hop piece explaining their experiences as young men living in St. Louis. They will open the presentation To The Prairie at the Festival with this new piece.

Excerpt from the lyrics to

This Is Why

Verse I

Branden Lewis


I’m trying to show you I’m more than just gifted

I’m more than my issues, more than statistics

I’m more than the chasing of money and women

I’m more than the bundles of graves that they digging

I’m more than potential that’s lost in the system

I’m more than a criminal, more than a victim

There’s more to my image, immortalize this

That there’s more to the morals of stories you hearing

(Hold up)

Aye, how many fears must I face in a day

How many friends can be taken away

How many planned to spend life in a cage

How many wish they got that but in graves

How many wish they got that but in chains

How many wish they enacted a change


How many wish they enacted a change


40th Annual St. Louis Storytelling Festival


Peace in the Prairie For All Ages

Family-friendly, free and open to the public.


Saturday, April 27, 2019

12:00-12:35 PM

Gateway Arch National Park

Tucker Theater

11 N 4th St.

St. Louis, MO 63102

Film with live performances by Stitchers Youth Council members Elijah Foggy and Branden Lewis and Story Stitchers Artists in Residence Bobby Norfolk, K.P. Dennis and Ntegrity.

FREE, but registration required at


Sunday, April 28, 2019

1:00 PM Performance

2:00 Hike to the prairie

Missouri Botanical Garden’s

Shaw Nature Reserve

Adlyne Freund Center

352 Freund Rd.

Villa Ridge, MO 63089

FREE, but registration required at

Film with live performances by Stitchers Youth Council members Elijah Foggy and Branden Lewis and Story Stitchers Artists in Residence K.P. Dennis and Ntegrity. Following the performance join Story Stitchers and a Shaw Nature Reserve naturalist for a hike to the prairie!



Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective presents To The Prairie, a rendition of Peace in the Prairie for all ages. The piece is an original video exploring the concept of peace through exposure to natural landscapes.  Story Stitchers are interested in the juxtaposition of urban life as experienced by African American people living in the city of St. Louis, Missouri and the state’s unique endangered prairie lands. 

Is the path towards peace through Missouri’s native prairies? 

Saint Louis Story Stitchers is working collaboratively to create an approach to health issues affecting Missouri’s urban youth. Story Stitchers bring the humanities to the forefront through a unique form of “urban storytelling”.

The artistic components for To The Prairie, include the creation of music, stories, and video. The work represents a collaborative exploration of the psychological and physical differences involved in a peaceful natural environment and an urban environment where violence is common. The resulting work is unique to Missouri, generated by local artists reflecting on loss, resilience and rejuvenation in nature and in the human experience. Leading Story Stitchers adult artists in residence Troy Anthony, KP Dennis, Bobby Norfolk, Ntegrity, and Superhood and contributing artist Susan Colangelo explored the experience of violence affecting black families in St. Louis through organized collaborative learning experiences and sharing, recording some of these stories. The artists explored and recorded native prairie landscapes via trips to Missouri prairie reserves including Prairie Day at Shaw Nature Reserve of the Missouri Botanical Garden in Gray Summit, with the Missouri Prairie Foundation at Prairie Star Restoration Farm in Osage County, and Prairie State Park in Mindenmines, Missouri in Barton County near Joplin, and Dunn Ranch Prairie of The Nature Conservancy in Hatfield, Missouri. During creative sessions, artists generated an original work that adds to the critical artistic discourse, contributes to the archived experiences of the state’s African American community and archives an endangered natural resource through art.

Peace in the Prairie expands the artistic body of work of African American artists in the Collective, addresses the community need of understanding violence while seeking peace, supports the exploration of new natural settings by both artists and audiences, and supports the greater understanding of Missouri’s unique natural heritage in its native prairie lands.

Financial assistance for this project has been provided by the St. Louis Storytelling Festival, Community Arts, University of Missouri Extension Services. The project is supported by a grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health. The Foundation is a resource for the region, working with communities and nonprofits to generate and accelerate positive changes in health. As a catalyst for change, the Foundation improves the health of Missourians through a combination of partnership, experience, knowledge, and funding. The project created with support from Missouri Arts Council, a State Agency and from Kranzberg Arts Foundation.


To become part of Peace in the Prairie contact the Collective.

Email or call 314-899-9001.