Peace in the Prairie

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Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective presents Peace in the Prairie, an original presentation exploring the concepts of peace and violence, juxtaposing urban life as experienced by African American people living in the city of St. Louis, Missouri and the state’s endangered prairie lands.

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

 

Peace in the Prairie’s 2020 public viewing will end April 6th at midnight.

Peace in the Prairie will return with additional work for a public viewing

June 15-29, 2021 at Laumeier Sculpture Park in Sunset Hills, Missouri.

Bookings for gallery exhibitions or lectures with screenings are available.

Prison and juvenile detention program managers are encouraged to reach out.

Please contact us to inquire.

Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective presents Peace in the Prairie, an original work of art newly expanded in its 2nd iteration, exploring the concepts of peace and violence, juxtaposing urban life as experienced by African American people living in the city of St. Louis, Missouri and the state’s unique endangered prairie lands. 

Peace in the Prairie is a lively video presentation that combines music and storytelling with stunning videography of Missouri’s endangered prairie lands. 

Peace in the Prairie is unique to Missouri, generated by local artists and residents reflecting on loss and resilience in the human experience and rejuvenation in nature. 

Leading Story Stitchers artists in residence Troy Anthony, KP Dennis, Ntegrity, and Superhood, Master Storyteller Bobby Norfolk, contributing artist Susan Colangelo, and special guest artists, legendary St. Louis soul vocalist, Roland Johnson, and videographer Meghan Kirkwood, Assistant Professor of Art in the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, joined by leading performing artists from Story Stitchers Youth Council, will treat you to a memorable and inspiring journey. 

Over the past four years, the artists have explored and recorded native prairie landscapes via trips to Missouri prairie reserves including Shaw Nature Reserve of the Missouri Botanical Garden in Gray Summit, with the Missouri Prairie Foundation at Prairie Star Restoration Farm in Osage County, Prairie State Park in Mindenmines, Missouri in Barton County near Joplin, and Dunn Ranch Prairie of The Nature Conservancy in Hatfield, Missouri

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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. 

For Missouri citizens, Peace in the Prairie gives voice to citizens suffering from the effects of gun violence, bridging rural and urban cultures. “Gun violence includes homicides, suicides, and accidental shootings resulting in injuries and death. In 2017, Missouri had the fifth-highest firearm death rate in the nation (per capita). The homicide rate in St. Louis continues to be far higher than the national average and roughly double the rate of cities of comparable size and geography. In addition, suicides have increased 36% from 1999 to 2018 in the state (the 19th highest rate in the nation). Firearms account for 61% of suicide deaths in Missouri, making it the leading means of suicide by a wide margin. Gun violence in all its forms leaves lasting scars on communities, affecting overall health and well-being,” explained Jessi LaRose, a Senior Strategist for Initiatives at Missouri Foundation for Health. https://mffh.org/our-focus/gun-violence-prevention/

For Missouri’s prairies, Peace in the Prairie brings exposure and greater awareness of the intrinsic natural beauty of the region, historically and currently, to new audiences. According to the Missouri Prairie Foundation, a tall grass prairie is an ecosystem dominated by grasses, with some non-woody, flowering herbaceous plants in the mix, and 10 percent or less of tree cover. “More than one-third of Missouri was prairie once upon a time,” says Doug Ladd, director of conservation science for the Missouri Nature Conservancy. “Fifty percent of St. Louis city and county was prairie, managed largely by Native Americans.” Less than one half of 1 percent of the original tall grass prairies remain in Missouri, making them one of the most endangered habitats in the world” (‘Restoring the prairie, Missouri’s endangered habitat’, by Hilary Davidson from St. Louis Public Radio, 2013).

Peace in the Prairie

Videography 

Susan Colangelo, Troy Anthony, Superhood, Meghan Kirkwood

Audio Engineering

Ntegrity, Chris Pendleton, Superhood

Poetic Interludes

K.P. Dennis

Storytelling

Fireside Chat — Bobby Norfolk, Master Storyteller

Music

Prairie Therapy

Featuring KP Dennis

with Stitchers Youth Council members Branden, She’Kinah, AnnaLise, and Emeara

Available on iTunes,  apple music, and spotify and major music platforms.

Recorded and produced by Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective for Peace in the Prairie 2020. Copyright Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective. All rights reserved.

Missouri Waltz

Featuring Roland Johnson, St. Louis soul and funk legendary vocalist

Missouri Waltz was first published in 1914 and adopted by adopted by the Missouri General Assembly as the  on June 30, 1949 as the official Missouri State Song

Lyrics revised by Susan Colangelo, 2019

Recorded and produced by Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective for Peace in the Prairie 2020. Copyright Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective. All rights reserved.

To The Prairie

Featuring KP Dennis, Ntegrity and Troy Anthony

Video Editing by Superhood, Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artist in Residence

Filming by Artist in Residence Troy Anthony, Contributing Artist Susan Colangelo, and members of the Stitchers Youth Council

Available on SPOTIFY, iTunes, Apple Music

Recorded and produced by Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective for Peace in the Prairie 2019. Copyright Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective. All rights reserved.

America the Beautiful

Featuring Roland Johnson, St. Louis soul and funk legendary vocalist

with Stitchers Youth Council members Branden, Jawaad, Rachel, and Emeara

Lyrics Katharine Lee Bates, 1895
Music Samuel A. Ward, 1883

Audio Engineering by Demil Johnson aka Superhood

Mastered by Preston Jones at Sawhorse Studio, St. Louis, Missouri

Video Meghan Kirkwood
Video Editing Susan Colangelo

Filmed with permission at Missouri Botanical Garden’s Shaw Nature Reserve, Gray Summit, Missouri during Saint Louis Story Stitchers 4th Annual Prairie Trip in 2019.

Recorded and produced by Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective for Peace in the Prairie 2020

Bios

Troy Anthony joined Story Stitchers as an Artist in Residence in 2018. Anthony started plays classical and bass guitar. He joined the Army at the age of 17 where he has achieved the rank of Sargent First Class and is currently retired from the 1st Infantry Division Band. He support Story Stitchers as both a visual artist and musician. He currently resides in East Saint Louis, Illinois and maintains a photography studio in St. Louis, Missouri. 

Emeara Burns, serves as the Steward Family Foundation Program Director at Story Stitchers Stitchers since 2019. Burns is a performing artist, poet and songwriter. She is a graduate of Central Visual and Performing Arts High School and is a featured leading youth artist at Story Stitchers since 2015, performing original work created at the Stitchers Storefront Studio at Washington University, Harris Stowe University, Annie B Casey National Conference at Union Station, Sheldon Concert Hall, .ZACK Theater, and 60 other venues throughout the city of St. Louis.  She lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Susan Colangelo, the Story Stitchers President & CEO, MFA, LSU ‘83, is the founding president of the Saint Louis Story Stitchers Stitchers Artists Collective and currently serves as president and CEO. Susan brings 30+ years of social justice arts practice experience and work with six school districts as an artist and consultant to the organization. Specializing in large scale community-school-university programs, she developed WOW! World of Wonder for West Virginia University, bringing the arts to 20,000 school children, and coordinated the first contemporary African music and dance concert at the University of Georgia. Susan is an advocate of literacy and a proponent of reading aloud to the young. She brings creative work in photography and videography to the project as a contributing artist (pro-bono). Colangelo lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

K.P. Dennis, Story Stitchers Artist in Residence and co-founder, and serves as the lead rap artist. He is the multi-talented director of Save Our Sons, Urban League of St. Louis, with over 22 years of professional music recording and performance experience and 7 years as a teaching artist. Dennis has a background as a professional touring rap and recording artist. “Mr. K.P. (Killa Poet)” was the lead artist in the group Out of Order in the 1990’s, has served as an educator for the Missouri History Museum. Dennis has received awards including the United States Congressional Award Bronze Medal and the Outstanding American Youth Foundation Award. Dennis lives in St. Louis. Missouri.

Superhood is an audio engineer, photographer and videographer with over 25 years of experience in the hip hop world. Super was the editor of the Who’s Ready? music video
produced by Story Stitchers in 2018 and was audio engineer for the Pick the City UP song, produced by Story Stitchers in 2016. He edited To The Prairie music video in 2019 for Peace in the Prairie. He is based in Atlanta, St. Louis and Chicago.

Roland Johnson is— “One of the smoothest voices you’ll ever hear. A seasoned treasure of the rich soil of the Saint Louis Rhythm & Blues scene.”
Drawing inspiration from the 1960’s reminiscent of Otis Redding & James Brown, Roland Johnson turns out Ballads to Booty Shakers and everything in between with an authenticity that captivates profoundly. Roland joined Story Stitchers in 2019 as a featured Guest Artist for Peace in the Prairie.

Meghan Kirkwood  Assistant professor, Kirkwood earned a BA from Grinnell College and a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design before completing her MFA in Studio Art at Tulane University. She has received numerous fellowships, including funding to participate in artist residencies through the National Park Service, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Lakeside Lab (Iowa). Kirkwood’s photography has been exhibited throughout the United States, as well as in Europe and South Africa.

Branden Lewis, Stitchers Youth Council leader, is leading performing artist, poet and songwriter. Lewis is a graduate of Central Visual and Performing Arts High School and is a featured leading youth artist at Story Stitchers since 2017, creating and performing original work created at the Stitchers Storefront Studio at Washington University, Harris Stowe University, Annie B Casey National Conference at Union Station, ZACK Theater, and 50 other venues throughout the city of St. Louis. He lives and works in St. Louis, Missouri.

Ntegrity joined Story Stitchers as an Artist in Residence and part-time employee in 2018, lives in St. Louis. Missouri and is committed to the project. Ntegrity is a recording artist, songwriter, producer. Ntegrity has been professionally recording, engineering and producing for over twelve years. In December 2015 Ntegrity graduated from Extreme Institute as valedictorian with a degree in Recording Engineering, and Production with management & Avid Pro Tools 110 certified. He released his album, View from the Inside Out, in November, 2018 at Harris Stowe University. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri. 

Bobby Norfolk, Story Stitchers guest artist 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.

Acknowledgements

Story Stitchers would like to express our sincere thanks to the many friends and contributors who care deeply about Missouri’s people, the state’s endangered prairies, and the arts. Thank you for sharing your stories and memories, your knowledge and opinions, the parks and lands under your care, and your support and friendship. We look forward to continuing our work together and with new friends and supporters in the coming years. To get involved please email us storystitchers@gmail.com.

Thank you to Carol Davit, Executive Director of Missouri Prairie Foundation. The Foundation protects and restores prairie and other native grassland communities through acquisition, management, education, and research. 

Thank you to Chris Hansen, Executive Director of Kranzberg Arts Foundation, and the all the magical staff at Kranzberg Arts Foundation for helping us prepare and then pivot with the pandemic to present Peace in the Prairie to you.

Thank you to Julian Keaton for working on marketing and helping us get the word out with the changes.

Peace in the Prairie is sponsored in part by Missouri Arts Council, a state agency, Missouri Foundation for Health, and Kranzberg Arts Foundation.

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Post-Viewing Q&A

Ask Story Stitchers artists or Prairie Ecologist James Faupel a question 🙂

Questions and Answers will be posted below the comment box.

Ask a James Faupel, restoration ecologist at the Litzinger Road Ecology Center, a division of the Missouri Botanical Garden. He has been working with Missouru native plants for over 14 years and greatly appreciates their ecological importance. Of all the native plant habitats, James appreciates the value of the prairies of Missouri most.

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About Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective

STORYSTITCHERS.ORG

The Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective is a non-profit organization engaged in urban storytelling. The mission of Saint Louis Story Stitchers is to document St. Louis through art and word to promote understanding, civic pride, intergenerational relationships and literacy.

Collective artists work alongside twenty 16-24-year-old urban youth to collect stories, reframe and retell them using the arts to promote a better educated, more peaceful and caring society. Saint Louis Story Stitchers are a resident organization at Kranzberg Arts Foundation where members rehearse, present and perform in the Foundation’s first-class spaces. The Collective also maintains the Stitchers Storefront Studio in the historic Loop District for recording, editing and publishing. Current projects focus on public health issues including gun violence.