Storytellers abound in weekend’s events

During this weekend’s Artist in Bloom Festival, performers and organizers alike hope to educate and entertain members of the entire family.

“They can expect an experience of the black storyteller, through slavery finally to freedom,” storyteller J. Richard Woodward said.

Woodward performs under the name of Dr. Gee Pop.

The majority of the performers in the storytelling portion of the festival use stories inspired by and taken from African culture to relay their messages of morality, respect and learning.

Dr Valencia E. Matthews, director of the Artists In Bloom Festival, said she feels the stories told use their characters to teach audiences.

“The characters have a moral lesson to teach,” she said.

Matthews also feels that the art of telling a story takes the people on a journey.

“Basically, storytelling is taken them (the audience) on a trip.”

Feeling there is a need for spoken performances, Olusegun Williams uses his stories about mythical African characters to get his moral point across.

“I think it’s helping to the tradition alive,” Williams said.

“There is a difference in writing a story and telling it. In written stories some of the emotion is lost.”

Organizers involved in storytelling for the festival place family as the center of inspiration for the segment.

“Storytelling is an artistic endeavor that can be enjoyed by everyone,” Matthews said.

“Because, it really captures the imaginations of all age groups.”

Family is also at the center of the inspiration for some of the performers.

“The main element (of motivation) is that I was always moved by my mother, who was the best story teller I ever heard,” Woodward said.

All involved with the storyteller’s portion of the festival believe that audiences will be taken on a pleasant journey from which they will return better educated.

Matthews said: “Storytelling is taking them on a trip, your saying come, co with me on this journey.”

Garrison L. Vereen II can be reached at