The Update | Storytelling Event at Stage Left; Arts Festival Seeks Works from the Public

LISBON, Ohio – Stage Left Players will present SPARK! An Evening of Storytelling at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 11, at Trinity Playhouse, 234 E. Lincoln Way.

The event, funded by a $14,000 grant from the Ohio Arts Council, is designed to promote the art of oral storytelling and to share personal stories that reflect the unique struggles and successes of the community.

Stage Left has hired renowned storyteller, author and teacher Kevin Cordi as a consultant for the group of novice storytellers. Regina Rees, professional storyteller and literacy advocate; and Will Flannigan, mutimedia journalist for the Wall Street Journal, also are consultants.

For over 25 years, Cordi has told stories in North America and abroad. His work has been commissioned by the National Youth Storytelling Hall of Fame, Newsweek, and The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

SPARK (Storytelling to Promote Acceptance, Respect & Kindness) is a community outreach effort, says Kandy Cleland, artistic director of Stage Left.

“A caring family. A caring community. Both begin when we share and listen to each other’s stories,” Cleland said. 

The June SPARK cohort includes Connie Baer, Marci Burgett, Cleland, Gloria Matthews and Betsy Williams, who have prepared their stories to align with the theme of “Home… or Something Like It.”

Admission is $10. Tickets are available in advance at and at the door.

SFA Launches Public Art Initiative

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Youngstown State University Summer Festival of the Arts will include The Wishing Flag Project, a new public art initiative.

Working within the confines of a 12-inch by 18-inch blank vinyl banner, which will be provided, artists are invited to create artwork expressing their specific wishes on any topic.

Organizers, which include Lit Youngstown, explain that the project as a whole will be a visual representation on the topic of what one wishes, with finished works to be displayed at the YSU Summer Festival of the Arts, July 9 and 10 at Wean Park, downtown.

Artists may be professional or amateur, and their work can be two dimensional or three dimensional. Any media may be used to decorate the banner, and only family friendly work will be accepted.

Submissions are limited to one per person; groups or organizations may work together to create multiple banners.

Banners may be picked up in Bliss Hall, near Ford Theater (first floor), through June 17. The finished product must be returned by July 1 to Bliss Hall or to the Summer Festival of the Arts at the Lit Youngstown booth on-site.

For information, email or call 330 941 2307.

Strawberry Fest at McKinley Concert Series

NILES – The Rotary Club of Niles will bring back its Strawberry Festival this evening, June 9. The event will  coincide with the kickoff of the summer lawn concert series at McKinley Memorial Library, 40 N. Main St. At the opening concert, which starts at 6 p.m., the Rotary will offer strawberry shortcake  for $5; strawberry sundaes, $4; ice cream,  $3; and bottled water, $1. There will also be a 50/50 and basket raffles. All proceeds benefit the club’s Niles McKinley High School Scholarship Program. The Girard Swing Band will play from 6:30-8 p.m.

Juneteenth Celebration at Quinby Park

WARREN, Ohio – The annual Juneteenth celebration in Warren will take place June 17-19 at Quinby Park, 525 Austin Ave.

Youth Day will be June 17, with climate justice activities, movie night and cultural games. On June 18, the event will include historical teachings and a traditional African garment show, and dancing with The Matrix band.

The final day, June 19, will honor all positive community men with singing, a fishing derby and a vigil to call attention to violence locally and nationally.

Juneteenth will also include vendors; free food, haircuts and gift cards; and prizes.

Butler Accepting Summer Art Camp Applications 

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Butler Institute of American Art is still accepting registration applications for its two-week Summer Visual Arts Day Camp (SVADC) for children between the ages of 8 and 13 years. Camp will take place July 19-July 22, and July 26-29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Butler, 524 Wick Ave.

Now in its 33rd year, the program instructs campers in drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture. Campers must be between the ages of 8 and 13 by July 19, turn in required enrollment forms, attend the registration on the first day from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., and commit to attending all eight days of camp.

Parents or guardians can register their children by downloading and completing the application form at or by requesting a registration form via email from education director Joyce Mistovich at with the subject line Summer Visual Arts Day Camp.

For help with registration, call camp coordinator Lisa Rohrbaugh at 330 743 1107 ext.1155. A completed registration form and a fee of $135 per camper is required. Mail completed forms and  fees to:

The Butler Institute of American Art, Attn: Lisa Rohrbaugh, 524 Wick Ave., Youngstown, OH 44502.

Families with more than one child attending camp will receive a 10% discount. Free enrollment is available on a limited basis.

This year’s camp will focus on pop art.

Pictured at top: Professional storyteller Kevin Cordi will be present at Stage Left Players’ storytelling event.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.