Bil Lepp telling at the 2017 Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival -- photo by Nathan Baerreis

Become Part of the Story at the Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival!

Many travelers don’t realize that Georgia has mountains–wild, beautiful, and home to a rich legacy of Appalachian culture. Minutes away from Brasstown Bald, the highest peak in Georgia, but only two hours from Atlanta, Union County Schools Fine Arts Center in Blairsville, GA, will celebrate Appalachian culture, particularly the spoken word tradition, by hosting the fourth annual Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival on 13-14 April 2018. The festival will showcase the art of Southern storytelling with a particular focus on Appalachian stories, both traditional and contemporary. The GMSF offers storytelling and musical performances, children’s events, and workshops.

In addition, The Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival will offer a free workshop for veterans titled “Story Medicine: Healing through Storytelling.” “As part of our mission of bringing storytelling to underserved audiences, we are developing community outreach programs to meet the needs of specific groups in our region for whom storytelling can be a source of healing: veterans, those affected by terminal illness, and victims of domestic abuse, for example. This year, we will offer an intensive workshop for military veterans,” said Ruth Looper, festival co-director. “Sharing stories about wartime experiences, whether verbally or in writing, is widely recognized as an important mechanism for healing. New York City’s Warrior Writing Project, the Veterans Writing Projects at VA medical centers in San Diego and Washington, D.C., and The Telling Project in Seattle have enabled thousands of veterans to speak about and come to terms with their experiences. Veterans living in rural communities like ours have less access to these kinds of programs, and we aim to change that.”

This interactive workshop will combine listening, writing, sharing, and discussion in small and large groups. Participants will be given the tools to increase mindfulness and develop a sense of belonging, a capacity for personal reflection, healthy emotional outlets, and a livelier imagination. The workshop will be led by Regi Carpenter (www.regicarpenter.com), a professional storyteller and workshop facilitator who has presented her therapeutic workshops throughout the United States, South America, and Asia for hospice organizations, non-profits, hospitals, veterans, cancer treatment centers, and bereavement organizations.

This free workshop will take place Sunday, April 15, from 2-5 PM at the Union County Community Center in Blairsville, Georgia. Seating is limited, so please sign up early by emailing info@gamountainstoryfest.org. Workshop participants will also receive free tickets to this year’s Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival.

About Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival, Inc.

Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to providing meaningful opportunities for an underserved audience to engage with storytelling through hearing stories and attending workshops that will develop their cultural intelligence through the arts of listening and speaking. We celebrate a variety of diverse traditions while showcasing the voices of Appalachia.  For more information, go to www.gamountainstoryfest.org.

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