Cap’s Off to You!–Utah Museum of Contemporary Art and Celebrating Story

Utah Museum of Contemporary Art collageWe reached out to the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art as we were impressed by what they offered each year in the Children’s Yard at the Utah Arts Festival.  No matter what the theme, UMOCA always had activities that intrigued the 5-year-olds to the adults.  When we spoke with Elly Baldwin, the Curator of Public Engagement, she wished that the Art Truck could be offered.  Yet, knowing UMOCA had their own pop-up tents and supplies, Elly thought that a visual arts story activity could still solidify UMOCA’s involvement with the 2018 Story Crossroads Festival.

Elly turned to her staff and volunteers and they came up with a visual art story project involving flipbooks.  They had two different types depending on if they were working with young elementary students or upper grades into the secondary schools.  They were smart with using resources they already had on hand while also preparing die-cuts to be more efficient when working with the students.

As we worked out field trips for the 3rd Annual Story Crossroads Festival for May 23, 2018, we rotated classes from the sit-down storytelling concerts to these hands-on activities including with what UMOCA had to offer.  We told Elly that perhaps there would be 100 students per 1-hour session divided up amongst the other hands-on activities such as Karl Behling’s Mountain Man Petting Zoo or the Self-Led Story Walk.  Then, it turned out to be 200 students per 1-hour session.

Elly was wonderful and said that they would prepare more flipbooks.  We laughed about this “good” problem and knew we would be even better prepared when it came to 2019.

To meet Elly Baldwin as well as the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, see this 3-minute film through KUED’s “Contact with Mary Dickson” show:  https://www.kued.org/contact/utah-museum-contemporary-art-experiment-with-abstract-art.

Learn more about the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art at their website here:  http://www.utahmoca.org/.

From this same website it says:

The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art is proud to host a variety of special events throughout the year, including the popular Fluid Art, a pairing of arts and ales, as well as its annual gala, the museum’s largest fundraiser of the year. UMOCA also presents a variety of collaborations, including dance performances and film screenings, as well as monthly gallery exhibition openings.

So toss, tip, or take off your cap to the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art!

We also have year-round events such as the monthly house concerts and the 3rd Annual Story Crossroads Festival that will be on May 23, 2018.

Reflections & Complete Listing–A to Z Blog Challenge

A-to-Z Reflection [2018]StorycrossroadsLogo--more squareWe were pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/).  The Story Crossroads theme for this year was Kindness Across  Cultures: Stories to Prove We Care.  Below is the complete A to Z listing.

So now to reflect…

I have enjoyed each of the four years that we have participated in the A to Z Blog Challenge.  There were plenty of struggles and always a few posts that barely make it before midnight.  Yet, being able to not only post that many times AND on a topic of kindness…it was awe-inspiring.

Awe-inspiring to be affirmed that the world is full of kindness.

Awe-inspiring to be affirmed that all cultures reflect kindness in their traditional stories.

Awe-inspiring to learn about countries and cultures that I had never heard of before and now I feel connected like I never did before.

Each of the six major continents were represented.  Several different faiths were showcased including my own, which was nerve-striking yet satisfying.  I purposely chose some war-torn countries.  Those stories from those places was the most powerful to me of all for I know that most people are amazing and thoughtful.  Sometimes kindnesses are small and simple and sometimes kindnesses encompass ultimate sacrifices of time, money, and life.  The Ethiopian story touches on a kindness not often celebrated–of showing kindness to enemies, those who would use and abuse you.

I did find it amusing at how much easier it was to find kindness stories in some cultures as it was for others.  It was a little harder to find kindness stories in Caucasian-dominant cultures. Some stories had great potential and then turned bad, and I mean extremely bad.  I noticed that a lot of Latin American stories had this overall feeling that good eventually gets punished.  I found wonderful Latin American one from Peru.

For the first time since the other challenges, I had several posts “scheduled” for 7:00am MST.  It was a relief to know that those posts would easily make the deadlines.  Perhaps for 2019, I will “schedule” more of them in advance and my challenge will really be March instead of April…though time will only tell.

In the meantime, enjoy this complete listing from this A to Z Blog Challenge.

By the way, thanks to your kindness in reading (and commenting).

Complete Listing – Kindness Across Cultures – Stories to Prove We Care

A = Afghanistan Affection & Altruism (Hired Hands)

B = Buddhist Benevolence & Big-Heartedness (Monkey King’s Bridge)

C = Chinese Charitableness & Care (The Girl and the Waterfall)

D= Damascus Devotion & Delight (The Power of Song, Syria)

E= Ethiopian Equanimity & Endurance (Shield of Kindness)

F= Filipino Fidelity & Forgiveness (Bridge of Flowers)

G= German Generosity & Goodness, (Grimms’ Golden Goose)

H= Hindu Harmoniousness & Humility (The Ideal Son, Sukrama)

I= Irish Intuition & Interconnectedness (Jack and His Companions)

J= Jewish Joy & Judiciousness (The Secret of the Innkeeper’s Blessings)

K= Kenyan Kindness & Keenness (How the Ostrich got its Long Neck)

L= LDS Love & Loyalty (10,000 Stripling Warriors)

M= Mosul Magnanimity & Mercy (Sparrow’s Wife, Iraqi tale)

N= Navajo Nobleness & Neighborliness (Little Dawn Boy and the Rainbow Trail)

O= Orkney Open-handedness & Oneness (Kate Crackernuts, Scottish)

P= Peru Peacefulness & Patience (Legend of Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo)

Q= Qatari Quality & Quick-Wittiness (Qatari Fsaijrah and the Magic fish)

R= Russian Respectfulness & Resilience (Vasilissa the Fair)

S= Swazi Sweetness & Sacrifice (The Collared Crow)

T= Torres Strait Thoughtfulness & Tenderness (Bia)

U= Ukraine Understanding & Unselfishness (The Birds’ Gift)

V= Vietnam Valance & Valor (The Legend of the Mia Flower)

W= Winnebago Warm-heartedness & Wholesomeness (The Orphan Who Was Blessed with a Horse)

X= Xhosa Xenial & Xenodochial (The Hare and the Tree Spirit, South Africa)

Y= Yonder Yukon Yoke-fellowship & Yarn-listening (The Orphan and the Polar Bear, Inuit)

Z= Zimbabwe Zeroth & Zenith (Children of Wax)

While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings including the culminating Festival on May 23, 2018 with free performances May 21-24, 2018 (see schedule here: https://storycrossroads.com/2018-schedule/).  

We thank our funders such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, the Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, the City of Murray, the South Jordan Arts Council, Utah Valley University and many other individuals. Join us in the support by attending or donating or both! (Click here to donate or get tickets.

Z is for Zimbabwe Zeroth & Zenith–A to Z Blog Challenge

Zimbabwe Sunset by Steve EvansZ imageWe are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/).  The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Kindness Across Cultures: Stories to Prove We Care.  Each post highlights present-day andfolktale examples.

Zimbabwe has vibrant sunsets and the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls.  People cherish the beauty surrounding them including family, especially as the average life expectancy is only age 45.  They know life is precious for everyone.  Absorb the beauty yourself by viewing these birds atop trees in Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe taken by by Steve Evans.  He has granted permission for Story Crossroads to use this image.

Please note, “Zeroth” means immediately preceding what is regarded as first in a series while “Zenith” means at time at which something is most powerful or successful.  By partaking in this A to Z Blog Challenge, my mind has been–even before the beginning of it and to the very end–been on the kindness of others from around the world.  All these kindnesses build on each other until we are to the zenith or the most successful that we can be as part of humanity.  A reflection of the 2018 Blog Challenge experience will be out on May 7th as will others participating.

Present-Day Zeroth & Zenith

Runyararo Children’s Home is run by Harvest Christian Fellowship and held at a high school.  They care for about 10 children and cover all their costs from food to school to clothing.  Some people help sponsor from the United States though mainly people from Zimbabwe help.  Learn more here:  http://www.zimbabas.co.zw/runyararo-childrens-home/#.WuYs2YjwaUk.

Past Zeroth & Zenith (Folktale)

This Zimbabwe tale entitled “Children of Wax” was collected by well-known author Alexander McCall Smith in his book “The Girl who Married a Lion and Other Tales from Africa,” published by Pantheon Books.

Here is a summary:

A couple wished to have children. Finally, they were able to have children though each time they were born, the children were made out of wax.  The parents loved them as they would any children.  Though, with the children being made of wax, they could not go outside during the day.  Instead, they did their chores and playtime at night.  The father made a hut that was gloomy and completely dark so they would be protected during the day.  The youngest of the children, Ngwabi, longed to see the sun. The other children tried to sway him from such dreams and they all knew he would melt and be no more.  As the years passed, the desire intensified until Ngwabi ran out from the hut.  He did not get far before he melted.  The other children could only wait until nighttime.  The oldest child molded the wax into the shape of a bird that Ngwabi loved so much.  The other children gathered leaves to be the feathers and placed on a branch.  When the sun rose, they children watched through the tiniest of slits of the hut as the wax bird came to life and flew away.  The children knew their brother was happy and free.

Interesting Notes on Kindness  

  • The parents loved their children despite the differences of wax versus flesh and gave as much as they could for them to be safe and happy
  • The children were obedient and kind and a joy to their parents
  • The children tried to protect Ngwabi from the sun and sometimes kindness for others is unknown until the unthinkable happens
  • The children molded and created the wax bird to honor Ngwabi as a small kindness for what he loved
  • A higher power of some kind blessed that wax bird to life and offered that mercy to the family so Ngwabi was happy and free and the other children were happy knowing Ngwabi was happy

What stories of kindness do you know associated with Zimbabwe?  Anywhere in the world – past or present?  Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.

While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings including the culminating Festival on May 23, 2018 with free performances May 21-24, 2018 (see schedule here: https://storycrossroads.com/2018-schedule/).  

We thank our funders such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, the Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, the City of Murray, the South Jordan Arts Council, Utah Valley University and many other individuals. Join us in the support by attending or donating or both! (Click here to donate or get tickets.

Y is for Yonder Yukon Yoke-fellowship & Yarn-listening–A to Z Blog Challenge

Inuit boy by SashaY imageWe are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/).  The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Kindness Across Cultures: Stories to Prove We Care.  Each post highlights present-day andfolktale examples.

Yonder Yukon are the Northwest Territories and Nunavut of Canada where the majority of people from the Inuit Tribe live.  Though, Yukon itself is called home by some Inuits.  Traditional Inuits believe in spirits found in all living beings, which reflects on the value of sharing and reaching out in kindness to all–from the smallest of insects to the mightiest of animals and to people of all backgrounds.  Here is a picture of an Inuit boy taken by Sasha Leahovcenco.

Present-Day Yoke-fellowship & Yarn-listening

Tungasuvvingat Inuit is a not-for-profit organization that has a majority of Inuit who provide the service to fellow Inuits of urban or non-urban areas.  These people are made aware of their rights legally and what can help them economically.  The Board of Directors are all volunteers and have a passion for helping the Inuit people from schooling, hospital needs, lawyers, and employment.  You can learn more about this organization here:  https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/tungasuvvingat-inuit/.

Past Yoke-fellowship & Yarn-listening (Folktale)

This Inuit tale is found in the picture book “The Orphan and the Polar Bear” retold by Sakiasi Qalinaq, published by Inhabit Media, Inc.

Although not shared in summary form here, another story of interest is called “Old Woman who was Kind to Insects.”  Find that link to the story here:  https://www.learningtogive.org/resources/old-woman-who-was-kind-insects.

Here is a summary of “The Orphan and the Polar Bear”:

An orphan lived with his grandmother though often went out with the men to hunt along the ice.  Each time, the men left the boy behind and the boy had to find his own way home.  One day, the boy heard someone behind him and it was a huge polar bear that then transformed into a man that spoke to the boy.  This man felt pity for the boy and wanted to show a kindness by teaching the boy how to be independent and be able to have skills to survive.  The man changed back into a polar bear.  The polar bear took the boy to his village of bears and gave the boy a harpoon and taught how to use it.  As time went on, one of the bears in the village would wait for the boy to catch a seal and steal the catch.  The kind polar bear told the boy that he needed to confront the bear and use his harpoon.  The boy followed the instructions and stood up for himself the next time his catch was to be stolen.  The boy returned to the polar bear village and went to his kind friend.  The mean polar bear roared for the boy though the kind polar bear told the boy to stay inside the igloo and not to go out until the mean polar bear was done yelling.  Finally, the boy was encouraged to face the mean polar bear and by then the mean polar bear had great respect for the boy and gave back the harpoon that the boy had used against this polar bear.  The boy was never bothered by this polar bear or any other polar bear again.  When the boy learned all that he could from the kind polar bear, the polar bear journeyed with the boy back to the human world.  The boy grew to be a strong young man who could survive and choose to be kind than to be cruel.

Interesting Notes on Kindness  

  • The polar bear had love for the boy and offered skills to improve the boy’s chances of survival
  • The kind polar bear knew it was better for the boy wait than to face the angry polar bear so that respect and peace could be had
  • The polar bear continued to teach for an undetermined amount of time until he felt like the boy could be successful
  • The polar bear was willing to sacrifice and part with the boy as he knew it was best for the boy to be back in the human world
  • The boy grew to be a man which included the ability to be kind

What stories of kindness do you know associated with Yukon or Yonder with the Inuits?  Anywhere in the world – past or present?  Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.

While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings including the culminating Festival on May 23, 2018 with free performances May 21-24, 2018 (see schedule here: https://storycrossroads.com/2018-schedule/).  

We thank our funders such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, the Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, the City of Murray, the South Jordan Arts Council, Utah Valley University and many other individuals. Join us in the support by attending or donating or both! (Click here to donate or get tickets.

X is for Xhosa Xenial & Xenodochial–A to Z Blog Challenge

Xhosa WomenX imageWe are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/).  The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Kindness Across Cultures: Stories to Prove We Care.  Each post highlights present-day and folktale examples.

Xhosa is a language and a people who are the second largest ethnic group in South Africa right after the Zulus.  At least a dozen kinds of clicks are part of this language.  Nelson Mandela sought for peace in a troubled land and came from Xhosa.  These Xhosa women are having great laughs and is seen on the South African Explored website here:  https://www.sa-venues.com/language-xhosa.htm.

Present-Day Xenial & Xenodochial

The Ubuntu Cultural Festival celebrates humanity by bringing many tribes together and sharing the traditional dances, songs, and stories of each area. Though, it is more than entertainment and strives to educate through inspirational speakers on the following topics as listed on their website:  prevention of community crime/violence, teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, women/child rape/abuse, xenophobia, rhino poaching, importance of education and more.  Explore this Festival’s website here:  http://xhosaculture.co.za/ubuntu-cultural-festival/.  You can also see an article about the inaugural event on August 27, 2016 here:  http://xhosaculture.co.za/ubuntu-cultural-festival/.

Past Xenial & Xenodochial (Folktale)

Although the book is titled “Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales,” it is fitting that the story “The Hare and the Tree Spirit” is from Xhosa of where he originated.  Most of the other tales in this book are from many different countries and tribes.  As can be figured out from the title, the author–or who retold these tales–was Nelson Mandela and this link is to a reprint published by W. W. Norton & Company.

Here is a summary:

An old woman tripped on a broken pot on the path.  She cursed that whoever left that broken pot would have their firstborn struck dumb and the only way to break the curse was for someone to be as foolish. A hard-working couple happened to accidentally leave that broken pot and their only child–a daughter named Tembe–was struck dumb. Although they consulted with medicine men, no one had an answer as to why it happened or how to release the curse.  The girl still grew up to be beautiful and kind, though not a word escaped her lips.  The hard-working couple were worried that despite her beauty, no one would marry their daughter.  No one did want to marry her except a young man named Nthu.  Before asking to marry her, he wanted her to be released from the curse. He walked to an euphorbia tree and poured out his wishes to it, hoping that the spirits of the tree would gran t his request. Mvundla the Hare happened to have his home under that tree and was awoken by all the pleading.  The Hare responded in a deep voice as if it was a tree spirit.  The Hare said he would think about Nthu’s wish if vegetables and berries were left at the bottom of the tree every day.  Nthu did as was desired.  Though, the longer that Nthu did this kindness, the more guilty that Hare felt in not fulfilling the wish.  Finally, Hare hopped to the Tembe’s home and investigated. The girl planted millet seedlings and did not notice the Hare.  To gain the girl’s attention, he followed the girl and re-planted her millet seedlings upside down.  The girl turned to do the next row, saw the foolish way the Hare had planted, and spoke for the first time to chastise the Hare.  When she realized she had spoken, she laughed and ran to talk to her parents after so many years of not being able to do so.  The Hare knew he would not get a thank you though knew it was only a matter of time before Nthu would stop giving him vegetables and berries.

Interesting Notes on Kindness  

  • Great unfairness can come to the most kind yet life still goes on
  • The girl’s beauty and kindness was enough for Nthu though he thought more about her than for his sake on having her voice return
  • Nthu sought to help and turned to what he thought would have enough power or abilities to accomplish the deed
  • Hare, although still the trickster, turns it into a kind deed
  • Receiving kindness long enough can eventually change someone’s heart such as it did for Hare when receiving those vegetables and berries for so long
  • Kindness is not always thanked yet still makes all the difference to the recipient (and assumed the giver of the kindness)

What stories of kindness do you know associated with Xhosa or South Africa?  Anywhere in the world – past or present?  Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.

While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings including the culminating Festival on May 23, 2018 with free performances May 21-24, 2018 (see schedule here: https://storycrossroads.com/2018-schedule/).  

We thank our funders such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, the Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, the City of Murray, the South Jordan Arts Council, Utah Valley University and many other individuals. Join us in the support by attending or donating or both! (Click here to donate or get tickets.