Fringe Festival 2020 is officially here, and although this year’s line-up is on the digital sphere, there are still plenty of events going on to keep Philadelphians occupied. One event taking place later this month comes from two organizations: First Person Arts teamed up with Da Vinci Art Alliance to produce “Mother Of Invention,” virtual StorySlam on September 22nd.
The StorySlam design is common for First Person Arts. The local nonprofit organization has been serving the City of Brotherly Love with memoirs and documentaries shining a light on unique personal experiences for almost two decades, and just because the world has seemed to slow down to stop the spread of the coronavirus, what hasn’t slowed down is the instinct to connect with others.
Most recently, First Person Arts also created their own digital platform after the pandemic hit titled “Covid Stories” which followed First Person Art’s enveloping creative model and offered everyone a chance to tell their story while self-isolating. The project asked people to sit in front of a camera (or microphone) and share their experience for 5 minutes.
For StorySlam, participants will be contacted prior to the event by local artist Vreeland-Moss.
“First Person Arts is thrilled to collaborate with Da Vinci Art Alliance for this year’s FringeArts Festival. 2020 has been a year of necessary transformations for everyone and there could be no better time than now for this collaboration. Visual artist, Patricia Moss-Vreeland, whose work is around memory is a perfect pairing to the evening’s stories of how we reinvent ourselves everyday,” said Marketing and Communication Director Tanesha Ford.
Vreeland-Moss is best known for her work which “explores memory as a meditation on who we are.” Her work, including her paintings, drawings and mixed-media have all been on display at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Institute of Contemporary Art.
“For this collaboration, as a visual artist, I see myself as a bridge between each storyteller and First Person Arts and Da Vinci Art Alliance,” said Vreeland-Moss in a statement. “In my art and poetry, I explore memory, often through metaphor, that connects the personal to the universal. My work with memory, through my research in science, history and language, influences me to compose my story through image and text that inspires and leads to this collaboration. I select artworks for Mother of Invention to become a visual response, to form a connection and be a counterpoint to the stories and each storyteller. I celebrate the power of story, of being curious, of being creative, of using our imagination, and how these link to memory, and to remembering Leonardo da Vinci.”
There’s something cathartic about unleashing your emotions. In the practice of meditation, one lesson learned is that you’re not as alone as you think. Sometimes in life, overwhelming thoughts or feelings can have you feeling isolated like you’re the only person going through a particular obstacle, the reality is though that millions of people every day feel those same emotions and have those same thoughts—we just don’t express them enough to make that link.
According to the release, the StorySlam is more than a storytelling competition. It’s an invitation to share five minutes of your life in a digital room full of people who appreciate a well-told tale. Audience storytellers take to the “stage” with real-life stories on the night’s theme. They’ll compete for the title of “Best Storyteller” free Slam admission for life, and $100. Tickets are $10 for the Festival StorySlam, and the show starts at 7:30pm on Sept. 22. The Virtual StorySlams will be shared through ZOOM video conferencing software. Audience members will be able to see and text chat with the host and timekeeper as well as choose the audience favorite. After guests register for their ticket, they will get an email with the link to join the StorySlam before it starts.
For more information, visit https://www.firstpersonarts.org/Online-Programs/COVID-Stories