Curating Teen Voices: Coming of Age

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Stitchers Youth Council members at Bruno David Gallery Opening Night

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Curating Teen Voices: Coming of Age is a time capsule of teenage voices combined with adult artists living in St. Louis in 2015, all reacting to a critical and unique time in the history of race relations, gun violence, police roles and community relationships in the city of St. Louis, Missouri. The project was led by Story Stitchers artist in residence Mariana Parisca.

Financial assistance for this project has been provided by the Missouri Arts council, a state agency. This project is supported, in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The portfolio is on view by appointment at Bruno David Gallery, 7513 Forsyth Blvd., Clayton, MO 63105

Steps prior to the creation of the portfolio…

Curating Teen Voices: Coming of Age Portfolio Workshop Series


Coming of Age in St. Louis

3 First Place Winners iPad Mini & Case!!!

3 Second Place $100

3 Third Place $50


My Own Cooking Show Photographer: Stitchers Teen Council member
My Own Cooking Show
Photographer: Stitchers Teen Council member

DIVISIONS: 3 Groups of Winners!

Division I: Grades 5,6

Division II: Grades 7,8,9

Division III: Grades 10,11,12   

WHAT: An art & literary contest of original works created by St. Louis youth currently in grades 5-12 residing in St. Louis city or county and reflecting on the project theme, Coming of Age in St. Louis. Give us glimpses of what you are seeing, hearing, feeling as a young person coming of age in St. Louis right now. We want the inside scoop from your perspective. What do you like to wear, eat, and do with your free time? What are your likes, dislikes, problems, dreams? What is your average day like? What do you wish was different? What would you change in St. Louis? Who do you admire? Who are you, where did you come from, and where do you see yourself going? What do you wish…?

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.


Welcome                                   Susan Colangelo

Awards Ceremony                   Stitchers Teen Council

Division I, Grades 5, 6             Awards and First and Second Place readings

Division II, Grades 7, 8, 9         Awards and First and Second Place readings                       

Division III: Grades, 10, 11, 12   Awards and First and Second Place readings                      

Additional selected readings as time allows.

It turned out that everyone wanted to read their entry and while we love readers we regret that we do not have enough time at this particular event to accommodate everyone. However you are invited to come to the Stitchers Storefront Studio when it is open in June at 616 N Skinker and do a videotaped reading of your entry for our website. We would welcome you!

A simple publication of the winning selections will be available for $10.00 at the event.

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



Division I, Grades 5, 6

Judge: Jordia Benjamin

Jordia C. Benjamin is the 2014-15 Romare Bearden Graduate Minority Fellow at the Saint Louis Art Museum. Benjamin completed a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from the University of Central Florida and holds both a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Art History and a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in Studio Arts from the University of South Florida. She joins the Art Museum from the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, where she served as the Educational Officer. Benjamin is the Museum’s 21st Bearden Fellow, which is a one-year paid fellowship designed to prepare minority graduate students seeking careers as art historians and museum professionals. At the Art Museum, Benjamin works closely with the Learning & Engagement Department where she manages the Teen Arts Council, conducts tours for Art in the Basic Curriculum classes, organizes community programming for Friends of African and African American Art Collectors Circle, among other duties.

First Place:

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

Second Place:

“Coming of Age — Revolving” by Antigone Simone Chambers-Reed, Grade 6, City Garden Montessori Charter School

Third Place:

“My Passions” by Khadijah Eldarrat, Grade 5, The College School

Honorable Mention:

“Catching Music” by Ella Singleton, Grade 5, The College School


Division II, Grades 7, 8, 9

Judge: Joanna Hearne, Ph.D.

Joanna Hearne is Associate Professor of English and teaches courses in the Film Studies Program and the Digital Storytelling Program at the University of Missouri.  Her research areas include Native American and Indigenous film and media, Westerns, documentary film history, early cinema, animation, and issues of race and ethnicity in film history and theory. Her books are Native Recognition: Indigenous Cinema and the Western (SUNY Press, 2012) and “Smoke Signals”: Native Cinema Rising (University of Nebraska Press, 2012).

First Place: 

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

Second Place:

“Le Poids” by Yansen Starr-LeBeau, Grade 7, Hixson Middle School, Webster Groves School District

Third Place:

“The Resistence” by Raquel Lopez, Grade 7, Long Middle School, St. Louis Public School District

Honorable Mention:

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

“Life on School Grounds” and “The Girl” by Tamar Crump, Grade 8, Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School, Maplewood Richmond Heights School District

“Finding Home” by Demi Elrod, Grade 7, Bernard Middle School, Mehlville School District

“Dumb and Dumber” by Mady Evans, Grade 9, Grand Center Arts Academy


Division III: Grades, 10, 11, 12

Judge: Jeffrey Quinn McCune, Jr., Ph.D.

Jeffrey Q. McCune is Associate Professor, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Associate Professor, Performing Arts Department at Washington University in St. Louis. His research interests include popular culture; masculinity; critical/race/gender/sexuality theory; performance studies; queer theory; contemporary African-American Literature, Culture and Media communication. His books include Sexual Discretion: Black Masculinity and the Politics of Passing, (University of Chicago Press, 2014.) He has published articles including “Out’ in Da Club: The Down Low, Hip-Hop, and the Architexture of Black Masculinity.” Text and Performance Quarterly (2008) and “A Good Black Manhood is Hard to Find: Toward a Transgressive Reading Practice.” Spectrum: A Journal on Black Men.

First Place: 

“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

Second Place:

“Take Your Diagnosis and Kindly Shove It” by Kathryn Harter, Grade 11, Parkway West High School, Parkway School District

Third Place:

“Breaking Boundaries” by Raffael Holz-Eckmann, Grade 12, Clayton High School, Clayton School District

Honorable Mention:

“My Perfect World” by Courteney Hall, Grade 12, University City High School, University City Schools

CONTEST RULES: Saint Louis Story Stitchers will have sole discretion on the choice of contest judges. Judges’ decisions are final.



Photograph by Susan Colangelo, Detail of Untitled # 45 by Leonardo Drew in the Saint Louis Art Museum, 2013


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