Many cultures celebrate the coming-of-age, when a child enters adulthood. As any parent can tell you, it is a time of seismic change, yet the person who was still remains.
So it is with Odyssey Storytelling, which celebrated its fifteenth anniversary in March 2019. During the past year Odyssey moved into a new performance venue and increased our social media presence with a wildly popular podcast, overseen by newly appointed community outreach coordinator, Miles Schneiderman. We bid a reluctant farewell to long-time Executive Producer (EP) Jen Nowicki Clark, and then enthusiastically welcomed incoming EP Ana Gaskin. All the while, our membership and volunteer corps continues to grow, and we have welcomed new storytellers, curators and producers.
And yet, the Odyssey Storytelling that was still remains.
Founded in 2004 by Penelope Starr, who is still actively involved, as is former EP Adam Hostetter, Odyssey Storytelling remains true to its original mission and is best described as it was in an article in Borderlore, a publication of the Southwest Folklife Alliance:
“The big picture is that sharing stories is about building community. On a personal level it is about being honest and being seen for who you are. Both of these things are basic human needs. Everyone benefits from a storytelling event either as a teller or as a listener. Odyssey Storytelling offers a showcase for people of all ages, cultures, gender expressions and sexual orientations.”
We incorporated StoryArts Group, Inc., a 501(c)(3) community funded arts organization, in 2009 with the mission to create, support, preserve, promote and celebrate the art of storytelling.
In spite of all that’s new, Odyssey is still about building community through storytelling and providing the opportunity for storytellers, new and old, to find their voices and express their truths. Or, as Ana put it to the Daily Wildcat in September 2019, “Everybody brings their own experiences to the table. You learn unexpected, intimate things about people that you probably wouldn’t otherwise.”
Now that’s something to celebrate!