Featuring: Beverly Cottman
Marvelous Multi-disciplinary Artist, Long-time Teacher, Awesome Activist
Beverly Cottman was really known as Auntie Beverly or Sister Beverly. She worked with the Minneapolis Schools for such a time, but it was more than being with those students. She felt it important to support and love the next generation and was truly like family to so many.
She had so many talents from dancing to teaching to storyteller. She earned her title of “multi-disciplinary artist.” Deservedly, she received the COMPAS Teaching Artist of the Year in 2022. She felt that all arts could be accommodated. Arts gave the chance to use your unique talents combined with the “wisdom of the ancestors” to empower, transform, and transcend.
She made her purposes known. While all artists could use an artistic statement, Beverly wished for everyone to know and posted it on her website.
Here is her artistic statement:
I am a storyteller. The stories I tell are based on African and African-American folktales, myths, fables and traditions. The audiences are children and adults in venues as varied as libraries, birthday parties, theaters, conference rooms and school auditoriums. I practice the African Oral Tradition for education and entertainment. The stories teach values, instill pride, evoke self love and celebrate culture.
I use an ancient technique with a contemporary twist. The language of the village is given city syntax; African rhythms are juxtaposed on urban beats; flowing traditional garments are transformed into hip outfits. I place old stories in modern settings keeping the themes of peace, love, friendship, culture and unity in tact. I am a modern-day “griot” delivering wisdom of the ages in a voice of the present for the future.
What an example for all of us artists and humans!
Thank you, Beverly–really Auntie Beverly–and what you will continue to influence for good.
If you have links to add – video, audio, articles – please share by emailing email@example.com or commenting on this blog post.
You can see more details on Beverly Cottman with the Story Artists Memorial.
The video below is an educational presentation blended with story. Being a multi-disciplinary artist, it felt appropriate to share this particular piece here.
Do you know a Story Artist who has passed on and want others to remember them? Memories? Pictures? You can submit names and memories of Story Artists who have passed on through our online form.
I appreciate Beverly Cottman for always educating people about storytelling by example. Her legacy is forever and celebrated. She is reunited with her husband Bill (Uncle Bill). I look forward to when I am reunited and can hear her wisdom again.
Beverly still has a story. You have a story. We all have stories.