Cap’s Off to You! Collette Justesen and Celebrating Story

Collette Justesen and DaughtersVersión en Español se puede encontrar a continuación o haga clic aquí para ir allí. Haga clic en mí para saltar a la parte española. You can now donate as a one-time or as a recurring monthly with appreciation gifts by clicking here.  Give today!

Featuring:   Collette Justesen

Teacher, Lifelong Learner, & Mother from UT

I heard a rumor that the Jordan School District in Salt Lake County, Utah had a youth storytelling program called Story Weavers.  Though wearing my Dutch cap brought the eyes to me and revealed my status of undercover audience member, especially as I had no child attending the Jordan School District.  Collette Justesen gladly shared how the program worked while I sat in awe and applauded the youth tellers on stage.

Collette does not consider herself to be a storyteller yet her support of this art rivals any professional. Enjoy the past, present, and future influences of storytelling in Collette’s life.

Rachel:  What drew you to storytelling and stories?

Collette:  I love hearing stories! From the time I was small, my mother would always tell me stories. I feel storytelling is becoming a lost art and that is why I started the Story Weavers program.  A good storyteller can draw you into their world regardless of the listener’s age.

Rachel:  I am familiar with the Story Weavers program.  Share the basic idea of it for others to know.

Collette:  Story Weavers is the Jordan School District storytelling program for 4th-6th grades. The students retell a story of their choice (solo or tandem). Story Weavers is a storytelling showcase that engages students in the pursuit of literature and the arts and nurtures the preservation of the oral traditions. I know the Canyons [School District] has also continued with the program.

Rachel:  And please tell me more about the storytelling that your mother did.

Collette:  Everyday my mom would tell me stories while she rocked me in our old green rocking chair. They were mostly just the classics stories and always the Nutcracker.  (My aunt was the first dancer in Utah to be the Snow Queen.)

Rachel:  What wonderful memories. So now that you are back in the classroom, how have you seen the influence of stories and storytelling in what you do now (if at all)?

Collette:  I myself am not a great storyteller, but I love to see the students who find that this form of expression is for them. I always offer it as a way for them to present.  Sometimes through puppets and sometimes through videos that they create!

Rachel:  What are your plans for using stories in the future (no matter what role you have)?

Collette:  To be an advocate of not only for Story Weavers, but providing my students with opportunities to tell stories and experience storytelling at different levels from story games to festivals. I am trying to get more grades involved at my school, so we can have a school-wide festival. My principal is a big proponent of the arts….

Rachel:  Anything you would like to add about the importance of storytelling?

Collette:  I think our kids are growing up in such a technology enriched world that they need to have the human experience that a good storytelling experience provides. Kids need to be able to interact and use their imaginations to visualize a good story.

Thank you to the permissions of Collette to do this interview as well as the use of the photograph with her daughters that was taken by Crystal Keating, daughter-in-law.

I appreciate Collette sharing her experience and influence with storytelling.  You have those moments, too.

Here is why:

Collette has a story.  You have a story.  We all have stories.

Aquí lo tiene.

Collette Justesen and Daughters

De la pac para usted

Con: Collette Justesen

Profesor, estudiante en la escuela de la vida y Madre de UT

He oído un rumor de que el Distrito Escolar de Jordan Condado de Salt Lake, Utah tuvo una juventud narración programa llamado Historia tejedores. A pesar de llevar mi Holandés llevó a los ojos y me reveló mi estado de undercover miembro de la audiencia, sobre todo porque me había asistido a ningún niño del Jordán Distrito Escolar. Collette Justesen con mucho gusto de cómo el programa trabaja mientras me sentaba en la veneración, aplaudió los jóvenes narradores en el escenario.

Collette no considera que es un narrador sin embargo su apoyo de este arte rivales profesional. Disfrutar del pasado, presente y futuro para la narración de historias en influencias Collette la vida.

Rachel: ¿Qué le atrajo a la narración y las historias?

Collette: me encanta escuchar historias! Desde el momento en que era pequeña, mi madre siempre me contara historias. Creo que la narración se está convirtiendo en un arte perdido y por eso he comenzado la Historia Tejedores programa. Un buen narrador puede meterse en su mundo, independientemente de la edad de la persona que escucha.

Rachel: Estoy familiarizado con la historia Tejedores programa. Compartir la idea básica de lo que los demás sepan.

Collette: Historia Tejedores el Jordán Distrito Escolar programa de narración del 4 al 6o grado. Los estudiantes relatan la historia de su elección (solo o en tándem). Historia Tejedores es una narración escaparate que implica a los estudiantes en la búsqueda de la literatura y las artes, y alimenta la preservación de las tradiciones orales. Sé que los cañones] [Distrito Escolar también ha seguido con el programa.

Rachel: Y por favor, quisiera saber más acerca de los cuentos que su madre.

Collette: todos los días mi mamá me contara historias mientras ella me sacudió en nuestro viejo verde silla mecedora. Ellos eran en su mayoría sólo los clásicos cuentos y siempre el Cascanueces. (Mi tía fue la primera bailarina de Utah para ser el Snow Queen.)

Rachel: ¿Qué recuerdos maravillosos. Así que, ahora que estás de vuelta en el aula, ¿cómo ha visto la influencia de los cuentos y la narración de lo que usted hace ahora (si es que la hay)?

Collette: Yo no soy un gran escritor, pero me encanta ver a los estudiantes que esta forma de expresión es para ellos. Siempre se trata de una manera de presentar. A veces por medio de títeres y a veces a través de los vídeos que crean!

Rachel: ¿Cuáles son sus planes para con historias en el futuro (no importa qué papel tiene)?

Collette: Para ser un defensor de no sólo de Historia tejedores, sino de aportar mis estudiantes con oportunidades para contar historias y cuentos experiencia en los diferentes niveles de historia juegos a través de los festivales. Estoy tratando de obtener más categorías participan en mi escuela, para que podamos tener una escuela de festival. Mi principal es un gran defensor de las artes….

Rachel: ¿Algo que quisiera agregar sobre la importancia de la narración?

Collette: Creo que nuestros hijos están creciendo en un mundo enriquecido tecnología que necesitan la experiencia humana que una buena experiencia. Los niños deben ser capaces de interactuar y utilizar la imaginación para visualizar una buena historia.

Gracias a los permisos de Collette para hacer esta entrevista, así como el uso de la fotografía con sus hijas que se han tomado por Crystal Keating, hija-en-ley.

AGRADEZCO Collette compartiendo su experiencia y su influencia a la hora de contar historias. Usted tiene esos momentos, demasiado.

Aquí es por qué:

Collette tiene una historia. Tiene una historia. Todos tenemos historias.

Arts Advocacy (Day 1–A-Z Blog Challenge)

advocacy

Enjoy all of these A-Z Blog Challenge posts.  Spanish versions of our posts are still planned.  Also look forward to the Story Crossroads crowdsourcing campaign May 1, 2015.

“A” is for Arts Advocacy.

Advocacy makes connections with other people and declares why something is important.  Some of those people could be legislators who influence or pass laws to make it easier to function as an artist or as an arts administrator.  See what I experienced followed by advice from Crystal Young-Otterstrom, Utah Cultural Alliance Executive Director.  

My Arts Day on the Hill Experience—Arts Day on the Hill--Promoting Story Crossroads on 2-17-15My palms pooled with sweat for my first Arts Day on the Hill on February 4, 2014.  I waited an excruciating 30 minutes so I could see a legislator for 1 minute and state why the arts are important.  Oh, I wished for the stage to tell a story rather than make an introduction and statement on this marble floor of the Utah State Capital Building.

Thankfully, being Arts Day on the Hill, many other artists surrounded me.  We had a purpose.    We stood for the arts.

I sent a paper slip to the legislator:

I would love to meet you.  Our Utah Storytelling Guild recently moved to Cache Valley.  Plus, we have a new festival for storytelling kicking off in May there.  Let’s share a story.

I was not a constituent of this particular legislator; I wanted proof that his area mattered to me.

In the meantime, I was coached by a lady from the Utah Festival Opera.  She said I would have about one minute to introduce my organization and then ask for certain bills or programs to be supported.

My note from the legislator came back and said, “I would be available to meet with you here by the door when we break for lunch.”

I wrote, “I will plan on it.” That was when my excruciating 30 minutes started.

I held my sign with the legislator’s name on it.  I prayed my palms were not too sweaty as I knew there would be the required handshake.  I did my introduction to the Utah storytelling scene, mentioned some successes in the form of specific examples (mini stories, really), and asked for the Professional Outreach Program for Schools (POPS) program to continue and supporting and legislature that strengthened that program.  Whew!  All within a minute.  It was such a blur.  The legislator even gave me a contact in the schools to boost support for the storytelling festival.  I turned to my friend from the Utah Festival Opera and asked with my eyes how I did.    She beamed and congratulated me.  Double Whew!

I still was nervous for my second Arts Day on the Hill on February 17, 2015.  This time I talked about Story Crossroads.  I met a different legislator and left a tri-fold with him as well as asked him to watch and support two bills that would make a difference for Story Crossroads.

Advice from Crystal Young-Otterstrom, Utah Cultural Alliance Executive Director—

Due to Crystal’s full focus on advocacy, she defines what she does as “speaking publicly to elected and business leaders about the issues that matter to you.”  She exclaimed, “Let people know where you stand.”  As for those legislators, she said, “It is all about being a constituent.  Unless you are a constituent, you do not really have their attention.”

Crystal talked about what the average citizen can do for Arts Advocacy:

  1.  Get to know your legislators.
  2. Once in office (after elections), continue that conversation.
  3. Keep yourself informed with groups following issues and advocating on a regular basis.

As artists and arts administrators, we have an extra responsibilityWe need to follow all three steps twice—once for us as an individual artists and another for our connection with an arts group or organization.  For example, if you live in a certain area of the neighborhood, then you are linked to certain legislators.  If your arts organization is housed and holds events or projects in another area, you could have a different set of legislators to know and keep in contact.

Get to Know Your Legislators

The best way to Wearing arts yes pinknow your legislators is to help them during the campaign.  She said, “Let them know you care about the arts and humanities.  As their constituent, you want them to represent the arts positively.”  She added, “If you do not like your current representative, then support the person running against them.”

Once In Office, Continue that Conversation

Crystal urged that notes be sent to your legislatures regularly.   I have a friend who sees his legislator all the time at the grocery store.  I have yet to have that skill in picking out my legislator from a crowd.  I also would have no idea where they shop, and perhaps that is for the best.  I do know how to email and to mail a message.

Keep Yourself Informed with Groups Following Issues and Advocating

Laws affect the arts in positive and negative ways.  The Utah Cultural Alliance and the Utah Nonprofits Association both have newsletters to find out about the bills and actions that affect the arts.  On a federal level, you can support the American for the Arts and the National Humanities Alliance.  These advocacy groups can let you know about important days held each year  “on the Hill” such as:  Arts Advocacy Day (or Arts Day on the Hill), Nonprofit Day on the Hill, Museum Day, Tourism Day, Multicultural Day, and Volunteer Day (as many arts organizations rely on volunteers).

So know you can make a difference.  Go get sweaty palms with those feet planted, ready to stand for the arts.

Thank you to the Utah Cultural Alliance for giving permission to post the pictures on advocacy such as the trio of advocates on top as well as the state senator wearing the “arts YES!” pin.