BIG HUG in a Bag

Stitchers Teen Council members applied for and received a $1,000 Youth Mini Grant from the Saint Louis Mental Health Board to create resource support backpacks for children attending Patrick Henry Downtown Academy Elementary School, Saint Louis Public School District. Bags will be stuffed with a sleeping bag, flashlight, toiletries, a poncho, and snacks.

Life Foundation and Ready Readers are partnering organizations supplying books and school supplies.
Additional funds are being collected by the Saint Louis Story Stitchers to create additional backpacks through June 1st, 2015. See home page for details. Be sure to mark your check “Big Hug in a Bag.”

Please remember to VOTE for the Weight of Words Cause today and everyday until June 4th.


Youth Art & Writing Contest Awards and Recognition Ceremony

Saturday, May 16th we are honored to celebrate our local youth with the awards and recognition ceremony for the Youth Art & Writing Contest, Coming of Age in St. Louis. Thank you to the young people for participating and thank you to the parents, guardians, teachers and principals who helped them to submit their work! We thing you are all amazing!! Congratulations!!!

11:00 am  – 12:00 pm

Kranzberg Arts Center

501 N Grand Blvd. in the Studio Theater

Awards presentation and selected reading by young authors

Presented with support from the Regional Arts Commission.

The Weight of Words Cause

The mission of this cause.

Through the power of young voices, art and the Internet, The Weight of Words sees inner city teens put down guns for books.

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The community need this cause addresses.

St. Louis, Missouri is the 6th most segregated city in the United States, with the highest crime and poverty rates in North County where 95% of residents are African American. St. Louis recorded nearly 160 homicides in 2014 and is on pace to top that in 2015. Teenagers living in North St. Louis report that sleeping can be difficult due to the sound of gunshots and sirens on the streets at night. In 2012 one in ten black 9-12th graders in St. Louis dropped out of high school. Literacy, avoiding guns and gang membership, and graduating high school are key to a young black male’s future and to staying out of jail. If he doesn’t graduate high school, his chances are 1 in 4 of being in jail on any given day. Literacy is key to graduation, employment and a longer, healthier and more prosperous life. The Cause is The Weight of Words. A book and a gun each weighs 2 pounds and each has the power to change the story of your life. Which one will you pick up?

How will this cause use the $25K to address an unmet need?

Funds will be used to create an outlet for powerful teen voices calling for literacy and unity in a city that is reeling from the effects of gun violence. Through a partnership between the Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective, the University of Missouri’s Digital Storytelling Program and its Extension Office’s St. Louis Storytelling Festival, Collective artists and teens will create and disseminate art works that motivate youth to put the gun down, pick up a book and take control of their own life stories to create a safer community. Funds will be used to train teens in digital storytelling. Stitchers will purchase Ipads, cameras and computers and use the newly acquired technology to create original music videos that can help to generate a new image of young men of color and a greater acceptance of differences. Messages of anti-bullying, anti-guns and an understanding of implicit bias and the importance of literacy will help to prevent violence by and against youth.

How much of a lasting impact on the community will this cause have?

Teens will develop and utilize their own strong voices to express the anguish caused by gun violence and the path they see forward to safety through reading and education and away from pain, poverty and prison. Youth listen to one another and they listen to music. They are on the Internet. They will hear the message from voices that they understand and can believe. It’s time for lasting change in St. Louis. The Weight of Words has enormous potential for impacting education and community safety. By collecting, reframing and retelling local stories, Story Stitchers artists and teens can help people understand today’s youth and their neighbors, help erase negative biases – generating understanding through art and word. Through the power of the arts and the Internet, The Weight of Words can spread literacy and stop violence. Education leads to employment, better health, and safer and more prosperous communities.


Will you help us by voting for our Cause?

Great news! Story Stitchers are in the top 200 in the State Farm Neighborhood Assist program with our Cause The Weight of Words asking teens to put down guns for books.

The Contest is LIVE as of tonight and finalists are competing for the top 40 spots by the highest accumulation of voting numbers. We will need to generate over 50,000 votes to be one of the 40 winners who bring home $25,000!

Can you help us get out votes? Use your social media accounts to support the Story Stitchers in making a positive change by voting for our Cause. Invite your friends local and national to vote for The Weight of Words.

We need everyone to vote once a day until June 4 and to allocate ALL10 of your daily votes to us every day each day when you go on facebook. It’s very exciting!!

Help us bring $25,000 from State Farm home to St. Louis to fight gun violence and promote literacy and education.

CLICK HERE TO VOTE !!!  Then please share with your friends!!

Youth Art and Writing Contest Awardees Announced!

Congratulations to the First Place awardees!!!

Division I: Grades 5, 6

“Touch the Sky” by Saivion Spellman, Grade 6, Northwest Middle School, Hazelwood School District

Division II: Grades 7, 8, 9

“Home” by Sophia Beiermann, Grade 9, Grand Center Arts Academy

Division III: Grades 10, 11, 12

“Ambulatory Mess” and “The Girl in Black Lipstick: Collaborations of Multiple Poems that Define Me” by  Abby Cohen, Grade 10, Lindberg High School, Lindberg Schools

PUBLIC RECOGNITION EVENT: Saturday, May 16, 11:00am-12:00pm 

Culminating in a public event at the Kranzberg Arts Center, 501 N Grand, in the Grand Center Arts District: Recognition and Awards Ceremony; Curated Video projection exhibition of artists; Public readings by select young authors

For the full list of awardees CLICK HERE

Thank you for participating! We think you are all winners!!!

Teen Council LIVE at SLAM today!

Saturday, May 9, 2:00-4:00

St. Louis Art Museum

Performance at 3:00 in the Auditorium (20 minutes, free and open to the public)

Saint Louis Art Museum
Saint Louis Art Museum

The Stitchers Teen Council has been invited to present and perform at the Teen Council Third Annual Young Artists Exhibition (YAE). The Teens have accepted the invitation! One Youth Art and Writing Contest submission will be previewed as part of our presentation. Teens will present a short video and perform spoken word, dance, and hip hop. Come hear their voices.

Give to Change Lives Today

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Help us build out the new Stitchers Storefront Studio. We want you to become an important part of a great St. Louis story!

Give on May 5th to help us open the Stitchers Storefront Studio at 616 N Skinker, just off the Delmar Loop.

We are opening a creative space for community engagement, documentation, recording and editing.

Let the Saint Louis Story Stitchers Stitch YOUR STORY!


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Critical Conversations: Socially Engaged Art

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Critical Mass for the Visual Arts is presenting the inaugural event in a new series entitled Critical Conversations.

When: Wednesday May 6, 2015- 7:30-9:30 pm

Where: The Stage at KDHX, 3524 Washington Ave., St. Louis, MO 63103

Critical Conversations seeks to spark revolution in the St. Louis Artworld. We aim to strengthen vital connections between individuals, institutions, spaces and creative communities, and to set the stage for profound criticism and discussion on a wide range of topics. We inspire action through increased understanding, agency and accountability among creatives, administrators, academics and critics.

Story Stitchers’ president Susan Colangelo will serve as panel moderator for the first conversation which will center on socially engaged art.

Panelists include:

Stefani Wheeden Smith, Project Director for the NCCJ, Faculty Member for RAC’s Community Arts Training Institute

Freida L. Wheaton, owner of Salon 53, Founder of the Alliance of Black Art Galleries, Curator, and Arts Advocate

Christine Illewski, Creative Stimulus Award-winning artist, Founder of the Faces Project

Marcus Curtis, one half of Citizen Carpentry and co-founder of Human Current