The WHY of MY City is coming…

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Story Stitchers artists have been working throughout 2019 and into 2020 on The WHY of MY City. We’re excited and ready to share with all of you!!

The premiere of this new body of work will take place on Friday, May 1st, 2020 via live streaming.

Friday, May 1st, 2020 at 7:00 PM

Streaming live at and other major streaming platforms.

Register for the event to receive notification. Tickets Free on Eventbrite: CLICK HERE

The WHY of MY City is an artistic commission designed to raise awareness on gun violence prevention and rebuild civic pride for St. Louis, MO, which has neighborhoods that are reeling from gun violence.

A new work by African American artists will explore why citizens do and should care about their neighborhoods, even as outsiders might see the same city blocks as uninhabitable.

Excerpt from the poem

Will They Remember

by Branden, Stitchers Youth Council


“What is the why of my city?”.

“What makes my city special?

If we jumped 1000 years,

What would they say about my city if my city’s no longer here?

Will they remember Jackie Joyner, Chuck Berry, Redd Fox?

Maya Angelou, Dick Gregory, Miles Davis, Dred Scott?

Will they remember how quickly St. Louis bodies filled cemeteries?

Or will they know my city birthed legends because my city is legendary?

Will they remember the struggle that kept my people in the slums?

Or will they remember my people used that struggle to overcome?


Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artist Collective is working collaboratively to create an approach to public health issues affecting Missouri’s African American urban youth. The Collective brings the arts to the forefront through a unique form of “urban storytelling” that includes rhythm, rap and word to attract attention, build excitement, and communicate key concepts from public safety and health professionals to the public.

Story Stitchers has been collecting stories from residents and encouraging them to share what their community means to them as part of The WHY of MY City.

The premiere of the new work of art will take place on line Friday, May 1st, 2020 at 7:00 PM at and on other streaming platforms.

A Q&A with humanities scholars John A. Wright and Bobby Norfolk will follow the presentation.

Bobby Norfolk, a Story Stitchers featured artist in residence since 2017, three-time Emmy award winner and master storyteller; lives in St. Louis. Missouri and is committed to the project. In 1979, Bobby made his first appearance as a storyteller at the St. Louis Storytelling Festival. In television, Bobby won three Emmy awards as the host of the CBS TV show “Gator Tales”. Bobby was given the national Circle of Excellence Oracle Award, an honor presented by the National Storytelling Network, which recognizes the very best storytellers in the nation. Bobby has won the prestigious Parents Choice Gold Award. He has co-authored eight children’s books. He serves on the St. Louis Storytelling Festival Advisory Council and is a featured artist in festivals word-wide.  He lives in St. Louis, Missouri and joined Story Stitchers as an Artist in Residence in 2017.

John A. Wright, Sr. is a native of St. Louis, and holds a PhD from St. Louis University. Dr. Wright has had a long and distinguished career as a St. Louis academic leader and is an active member of the community, serving on numerous boards (e.g., the St. Louis World Trade Center and the Regional Arts Commission). He is the author of thirteen books about regional history, including Extraordinary Black Missourians (2013, Reedy Press).

The WHY of MY City is presented with support from Mid-America Arts Alliance and the National Endowment for the Arts, Missouri Humanities Council, a state agency, National Endowment for the Humanities, Missouri Foundation for Health, and Kranzberg Arts Foundation.