Once Upon A Time in Brooklyn: Traditional Storytellers and Their Tales

Storybook from Gao Guangyan’s Loneoceans Freehand Art Gallery

BAC Folk Arts is kicking off a three month tour of storytelling in all it’s variations.

Beginning in April and ending in July, BAC Folk Arts presents a new project on narrative arts. Once Upon A Time in Brooklyn: Traditional Storytellers and Their Tales is a series of public programs and workshops featuring folktales, fairy tales, ghost stories, saints’ legends, personal experiences, spoken word, talking drum, narrative dance, and more from Brooklyn storytellers.

An opening symposium at Brooklyn Historical Society on Sunday, April 17 features folklorists and storytellers engaged in a lively discussion on Brooklyn’s narrative traditions. Later in the spring, BAC presents a variety of storytelling sessions in parks, libraries and community gardens around the borough. Once Upon a Time in Brooklynwill also include a film screening featuring films that have used traditional folk tales or fairy tales as inspiration as part of BAC’s Scene: Brooklyn film series this May.


What’s the Story? Diverse Storytelling Practices in Brooklyn
A Public Symposium
April 17
2:30 – 4 pm

Brooklyn Historical Society
Pierrepont Street, Brooklyn Heights

Storytellers and folklore scholars gather to discuss the relevance of storytelling in the diverse communities of Brooklyn. In the age of memoir, Facebook, and other means for promoting personal stories, we explore the important cultural practice of telling traditional stories—folktales, ghost stories, hero legends and myths—and the role of storytellers as community artists. Introduced and moderated by Brooklyn Arts Council’s Folk Arts Director, Dr. Kay Turner, the panel includes presentations by: Brooklyn folklorist Kathy Condon, who years ago ran the storytelling tent at the Welcome Back to Brooklyn festival, and who will discuss the art of Brooklyn stories; Aeilushi Mistry, Indian classical dancer, on Hindu myths of Lord Ganesha and narrative dance; musician Irka Mateo on the context for performing Dominican tales such as “La Ciguapa”; and artist and curator Maxine Alexander, discussing storytelling in the Jamaican diaspora. Engaged discussion with the audience follows these brief presentations and Dr. Turner will also video-record traditional narratives—folk tales, jokes, parables—offered by audience members.
Presented by Brooklyn Arts Council in cooperation with the Brooklyn Historical Society.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s