Jenn Stucker, Associate Professor, Bowling Green State University
This poster will highlight the Sit&Tell Project as well as explain how students are able to experience the process (warts and all) for tackling community-based projects. The Sit&Tell Project was a multi-participatory community-based art project, led by a graphic design educator, which connected communities through pulling up a chair and sharing stories of Strong Women of Toledo. The project collected 100 stories as told by Toledo citizens as storytellers on World Storytelling Day (WSD), March 20, 2016 under the global theme of Strong Women. On WSD, teams were sent to eight neighborhoods to collect 100 stories through in-person interviews. These recorded stories were told by or were about women recognized by their families, communities or organizations as strong and influential people. Following the collection, the stories were assigned to juried artists/designers to visualize on 100 chairs. The chairs went on display at rolling exhibitions (10 at a time) in neighborhoods throughout the summer with each chair containing a specific URL numbering to direct viewers to the corresponding audio recording of the story. Along with the physical exhibition, a chair a day for 100 days was featured on social media. All chairs were part of a final closing exhibition at the Toledo Museum of Art, followed by an online auction of the chairs. The $7,500 raised was donated to the Toledo Arts Commission for art classes for young people in those neighborhoods.
The project participation included 180 storytellers and artists, eight community exhibition locations, 20 WSD listeners and video/audio recording volunteers. Of the designed chairs, the juried pool included: 21 undergraduate graphic design students, eight faculty members, one chair by a graphic design class at a Toledo high school and the remaining designs by Toledo area artists/designers. Through Sit&Tell, students were active observers and participants in the creation, implementation and challenges of producing a highly visible community work, which empowers a student for creating their own community impact projects.