Prairie Therapy

“I wonder indeed if the people of this continental inland West know how much first-class art they have in these prairies—how original and all your own—how much of the influences of a character for your future humanity, broad, patriotic, heroic and new? how entirely they tally on land the grandeur and superb monotony of the skies of heaven, and the ocean with its waters? how freeing, soothing, nourishing they are to the soul?”

Walt Whitman, “The Prairies, and an Undelivered Speech,” from Specimen Days, Philadelphia: Rees Welsh, 1882. Public domain.


Story Stitchers had a wonderful and productive trip to the prairie this past weekend to Shaw Nature Reserve’s Dana Brown Education Center and we are grateful to the people who made our trip possible. This was or third overnight trip to this reserve. Nine youth 16-21 years old, three artists in residence, two board members, and two observers took the trip and we really loved it!

Thank you to Walmart Foundation, Walmart Community Grants Team and Facility #5927, Missouri Foundation for Health, Incarnate Word Foundation, Missouri Arts Council, Missouri Botanical Garden’s Shaw Nature Reserve and all of our friends who sent us out for some peace in the prairie.

We are rejuvenated and had an incredibly productive time as well. In 24 hours of prairie time, Story Stitchers took hundreds of photographs, shot hours of video, created new choreography, began new poetry, and started recording a new song. We experienced focused collaborative creativity.

The prairie is gorgeous in September when the tall grass is in full height and will only become more stunning as the leaves turn. It is truly an inspiring landscape. We took a long hike with prairie specialist James Trager from Missouri Prairie Foundation, flew a drone to capture the grasses with guest artist, Professor Meghan Kirkwood from the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University. Rain came through and brought with it a refreshing cool front and clear sky. We took a night hike, overcoming some serious panic attacks, to discover that there really isn’t anything to be afraid of in the night in the prairie. Instead we discovered amazing little glow worms, the larvae of fireflies, that light up the dark paths, a spider peacefully sleeping in her web, frogs, insects, and oh, so many stars. We built a campfire and savored the sweet stickiness of s’mores. Sunrise brought a new opportunity for photography, walks, and reflections.

Join the project and share a story about peace in nature or urban violence with the Stitchers. Come and record your story.

The next public story collection day is

October 2, 2019

4:00-7:00 PM

at the Stitchers Storefront Studio

616 N Skinker.

Prairie Therapy was recorded and filmed on location at Shaw Nature Reserve by Troy Anthony and other Story Stitchers. Shown is KP Dennis recording a verse for the new song Prairie Therapy with Ntegrity on the board at the Dana Brown Education Center.