Crankies & The Art of Storytelling
In May, the Lotus Education & Arts Foundation officially launched the 2017 visual arts project, “The Art of Storytelling.” As an art, storytelling contains both visual components, like drawing and coloring, as well as the folk art of oral storytelling.
Lotus will partner with local social service and community organizations, as well as local artists for multi-day cranky storytelling workshops and performances. Cranky performances will be recorded and shared with the public in a “Cranky Experience Tent” at the Arts Village on Friday and Saturday, September 29-30, during the 24th annual Lotus World Music and Arts Festival.
Learn more about our 2017 Visual Arts project during months leading to the Festival at at family and community including Arts Fair on the Square and the 4th Street Festival of the Arts and Crafts, where Lotus invites exploration into the art of storytelling with make-and-take crankies and other cranky activities. During the Festival, find similar activities at Arts Village and Lotus in the Park.
In parallel, participants from Rhino’s Youth Center will collaborate with local artist, Sam Bartlett, on a larger “Life is Real: Lotus Dickey Cranky” to be performed at this year’s Festival opening concert.
This project is supported in part by the City of Bloomington Arts Commission’s Arts Project Grant Program.
Crankies are an old storytelling art form consisting of a long, illustrated scroll that is wound onto two spools and loaded into a box with a viewing screen. The scroll is hand-cranked while the story is told, brought to life with a song or tune. Crankies date from the 19th century and have strong ties to ballad songs and old-time American music traditions. Previous 2016 Festival artists Anna and Elizabeth are known for their crankies. Catch one during a NPR Music’s “Tiny Desk Concert Series” (cranky begins at 1:25).
Lotus staff and volunteers will facilitate workshops this summer with community partners. Local storyteller Patty Callison, of the Bloomington Storytellers Guild, will provide assistance at workshops by sharing stories and explain the elements of creating a story. A typical workshop will begin with participants being given a story strip of paper, given story prompts or possible themes, which could include stories from one’s family and how has music played a role in your life, basically sharing stories of our lives with one another. Further, visuals and/or words will be put on to paper to create a cranky, then rolled on to a wood frame and “hand-cranked” and one’s story will be told and shared with co-participants. Selections from the workshops will be then be part of the “Crankie Experience Tent” in the Arts Village at the Festival.
Visit our Events Calendar for dates & details for upcoming opportnities to participate in Cranky-making or other storytelling adventures.