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Art of the Story: 15th annual storytelling event returns to Washington County

The Banks Public Library. Photo: Chas Hundley

WASHINGTON COUNTY –  The 15th Annual Storytelling Festival “Art of the Story” takes place across Washington County libraries, schools, cultural, senior and recreational sites April 27 – May 4.

This year’s festival includes 14 events focusing on a variety of storytelling formats and presentations by local, regional, and national storytellers.

The Forest Grove City Library will host Kelly Hoffman for a program described as “stories that turn for love, for better, for worse, for everything that keeps us all turning” on April 30 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

The Banks Public Library is hosting a festival event this year — an adult program performed by professional storyteller Jasmin Cardenas on Thursday, May 2 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Four professional storytellers from the midwest and the Portland region — Rev. Robert B. Jones, Sr. of Detroit, Mich; Jasmin Cardenas of Chicago, Ill.; and Lawrence Howard and Kelly Hoffman of Portland, Ore. — each will present one-hour performances at various sites across Washington County.

A new addition to this year’s events is the “Older and Wiser Showcase,” a partnership between Washington County Cooperative Library Services (WCCLS) and Aging and Veterans Services, and the Elsie Stuhr Senior Center. This event is set to feature five local storytellers: Cynthia Butts, John Wylder, Janis Collins, Chuck McConnell, and Frances Hunter.

The 5th Annual Adult Story Slam competition, hosted this year at the Beaverton City Library on Saturday, April 27 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., showcases five contestants from the Portland metro area: Janet Liu, Patrick Gannon, Sankar Raman, Norina Beck, and Mike Devenney. The winner will be determined by audience vote and receive an invitation to return to the stage at the May 4 Festival Finale Showcase.

The 2019 festival also features the second-annual Student Story Slam contest in partnership with the Beaverton-based Arts and Communication Magnet Academy (ACMA). Three student contestants will share their stories in front of an ACMA school-wide assembly, which is not open to the public, with the winner receiving a cash prize and an invitation to perform at the festival finale.

The Festival Finale Showcase takes place Saturday, May 4 from 6:15 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the ACMA auditorium, featuring performances by the four professional storytellers — Jones, Cardenas, Howard, and Hoffman — and the student and adult story slam winners.

A WCCLS press release states that most events are designed for the enjoyment of adults, however, additional shows welcome children six years old or older.

Directions to the performance venues and additional festival details, including descriptions of all 14 storytelling events, are available online at Additionally, festival newsletters are available at all local WCCLS member libraries.

WCCLS includes the Aloha Community Library, Banks Public Library, Beaverton City Library (and Murray Scholls branch), Cedar Mill Community Library (and Bethany branch), Cornelius Public Library, Forest Grove City Library, Garden Home Community Library, Hillsboro Public Libraries (Brookwood and Shute Park), North Plains Public Library, Sherwood Public Library, Tigard Public Library, Tualatin Public Library, West Slope Community Library, and the WCCLS Outreach to Homebound.

For those who wish to attend festival events who may require assistive listening devices or sign language interpreters call 503-846-3222 no less than three business days prior to a festival event to schedule services.

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