The story programs described below are available to qualifying organizations in Alabama through the Alabama Humanities Foundation. Program organizers contribute $50 towards the cost of the program (and overnight accommodations, if necessary; the AHF underwrites the rest of the speaker fee and mileage.
These AHF-sponsored programs are limited in number, and are allocated on a first-come, a
first-served basis, so if you'd like to discuss scheduling a program through AHF, please contact a
Every Picture Tells a Story: The Storytelling of Norman Rockwell
Norman Rockwell didn't just paint pictures; every picture told a story.
As he wrote: “My life work – and my pleasure – is to tell stories to other people through pictures.” This program shares a behind-the-scenes look at how Rockwell created his one-image stories in some of his best-loved covers for the Saturday Evening Post. In his autobiography, My Adventure as an Illustrator, and his guide to painting, How I Make a Picture, Rockwell described his storytelling process. Using slide images of his sketches, models, paintings-in-process, and finished work, this program follows the step-by-step process Rockwell used in becoming “America’s painter” – and storyteller on canvas.
Through the Back Door: The Music that Bridged the Bayou
They say in Southwest Louisiana that you can be a Cajun in one of three ways: by blood, by the ring (marriage), or through the back door (by befriending the culture).
This program paints a portrait of Cajun and Creole music and musicians and the role that music played in allowing non-Cajuns to slip "through the back door" into the world of the spirited people of Southwest Louisiana. The presentation includes stories and anecdotes collected from more than 50 Cajun and Creole musicians as they talked about the importance of music in their own lives and the lives of their families. The stories are funny, touching, sometimes irreverent, and often deeply moving.
The program includes samples of the music itself, both in its early style and its modern-day sound.
Footprint on the Sky: Memories of a Chandler Mountain Spring
"Dolores' story takes you into the head and heart of the mountain people. Her stories flow bittersweet , poignant, funny, startling, and lovely."
Bonnets, bow-tie quilts, poke salad, tomato stakes, and an old-timey cure for hiccups -- they're all part of this funny and touching portrait of an Alabama mountain community in the 1970's. Memories, family histories, and superstitions are brought to life in this story of strong women, Southern hospitality, and the generous spirit of a close-knit community.
Click here for a review of a live performance of this story.
Literary Treason: The Writing of Bess Streeter Aldrich
This program looks at the life and work of Bess Streeter Aldridge, a Midwestern woman who accomplished what few others did: She had a successful, self-supporting career as a female writer during the first half of the 20th century. The program describes her early life and later career success, and includes a telling of Juno's Swans, Aldrich's funny, touching short story that's a reminder that there's no disaster like an elementary school play, and no friend as important as your best friend when you're ten years old.
Putting Down New Roots
This story puts a human face to the experience of early 20th-century European immigration to America, and Depression-era family life, through the detailed story of one Polish-American family. It describes the Ellis Island experience for many immigrants who passed through that entryway in the early 1900s, and details about individual experiences translate immigration data into a moving, human-scale story.
The story then follows one immigrant family as it settles into "American" life during the 1920s and 1930s. Stories of the small neighborhood grocery store they ran during the Depression, their family life, their troubles and joys, and snapshots of their daily life create a personal portrait of what it was like to "put down new roots" in unfamiliar soil.
Click here to read an article about how this story came to life.