Tuesday, July 26, 2016

How The I Becomes the We

Cover Art: Olivia McGiff
Kim Weild, artistic director of Our Voices, pulled off an admirable accomplishment in orchestrating the completion of How the I Becomes the We under the constraints of an incredibly tight timeline.

The book is an eclectic collection of artwork, photography and children's writing designed to promote storytelling through writing, drawing and conversation. The components of narrative stories (e.g. setting, character and plot) are addressed individually, guiding children into the creative realm one sentence at a time. This structure is quite helpful for young children because narrative writing is the most challenging form of writing in lower elementary school.

The How the I Becomes the We project originated with Broadway Books First Class. I originally invited Kim to visit following her work as Associate Director on Amazing Grace the Musical. Her visionary leanings led to a three-day generative storytelling workshop developed in collaboration with a group of teaching artists (myself included).

Afterwards, Kim contacted designers and artists to illustrate the children's words and bring new dimension to their ideas.

Oni is depicted on the left signing while I am on the right holding a book

Illustration by Leontine Greenberg
How the I Becomes the We then morphed into a performance piece/children's show under Kim's direction.  It was performed in American Sign Language on The High Line as part of the Culture Shock Festival.

I was honored to take part in this project with such a talented group of performers (even though the long days of teaching and rehearsal left me exhausted and sick).

The Wolf Family on The High Line with Onudeah (Oni) Nicolarakis, Gary Wellbrock, Siena Rafter, John McGinty and Jon Riddleberger

Photo Credit: Nina Wurtzel
In the end I am left in awe of the creative, can-do spirit of the indefatigable Kim Weild who continues to push forward in her vision of equal access and opportunity.

I realize how lucky I am that for a brief time we got to walk hand-in-hand on that quest.  

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