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Arkansas voices needed for national program
Posted 14 Aug 2020
Arkansas PBS, The Yarn shine a light on personal experiences
for national storytelling project ‘PBS American Portrait’
CONWAY, Ark. (Arkansas PBS) — Arkansas PBS and The Yarn, a storytelling initiative based in Little Rock, are seeking participants to share and shape their true life experiences of living, working and dreaming in the U.S. for “PBS American Portrait,” a national conversation about what it means to be an American today. In an effort to shine a light on life in Arkansas and share it with a broader audience, Arkansas PBS will make The Yarn’s workshops available to the public for the first time with two virtual opportunities during August.
On Thursday, Aug. 27, at 7 p.m., participants will share their personal hopes, dreams and successes with the prompt “My American dream …” A second workshop, scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 29, at 10 a.m., will explore career paths, proudest accomplishments, sacrifices and challenges like unemployment with the prompt “To me, work means …” A national producer from “PBS American Portrait” will be joining the workshops.
Participants in each workshop will gain tangible skills on how to structure their experiences for an audience and connect with others around these shared themes. Participants will leave the workshop with the makings of a story ready to post to the “PBS American Portrait” website. Teachers, poets, parents, musicians, students, athletes and others have already shared their stories about life in Arkansas from Monticello to Pine Bluff, Ulm to Brinkley, Paragould, Bella Vista, Bismarck, Cave City, Mountain View, Arkadelphia and other cities throughout the state. Their personal experiences can be uncovered at myarkansaspbs.org/americanportrait, on Facebook (facebook.com/arkansaspbs) or at pbs.org/americanportrait.
Offered free to participants, these workshops are for those interested in communicating and connecting with others, making sense of their experiences through narrative or simply finding their voices. Registration is required at myarkansaspbs.org/americanportrait and is limited to 40 participants per workshop. Each participant will receive a “PBS American Portrait” storytelling kit.
More information about “PBS American Portrait” is available at myarkansaspbs.org/americanportrait. Viewers may join and follow the conversation at #AmericanPortraitPBS on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to view the thousands of stories already being submitted. Arkansans who have recently participated in the project include poets Chris of North Little Rock responding to “When I step outside my door …,” Stacey of Little Rock responding to “You don’t know what it’s like to …” and Crystal of Little Rock responding to “What gets me out of bed in the morning,” among several others.
The Yarn (theyarnstorytelling.com) is a storytelling initiative founded in 2017 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Through the power of story, The Yarn creates space to amplify voices, build understanding and create space for human connection. Productions are centered around themes that reflect the reality of life in the local community.
Launched on January 10, 2020, “PBS American Portrait,” a national storytelling project aligned with PBS’s 50th anniversary celebration, is the organization’s most ambitious multiplatform project in its history. A digital-first initiative produced by RadicalMedia, “PBS American Portrait” begins as a platform for user-generated content participation, and is envisioned to encompass publishing, short form content, classroom engagement, a web miniseries, public art installations, live events and, in January 2021, a nationally televised documentary series. Leveraging the local reach of PBS through its member stations, “PBS American Portrait” presents a mosaic of our country’s diversity by connecting tens of thousands of people across the country, creating a communal voice through individual stories of joy, hardship, triumphs and sorrow. Participants will be able to tell and share their own stories, and see the stories shared by a wide panorama of Americans, united by a series of prompts that will serve as conversation starters, including: “I was raised to believe…,” “The tradition I carry on is…,” “What keeps me up at night is…,” “When I step outside my door…” and “Most days I feel…,” among others like, “I never expected…,” added in response to COVID-19, “Now is the time…” added to encourage people to share their stories about race in light of recent events.
Target is a major funder and national promotional partner for “PBS American Portrait.” Additional funding is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Anne Ray Foundation.
Arkansas PBS is Arkansas’s only statewide public media network, which enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. Arkansas PBS delivers daily, essential, local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers through multiple digital platforms, including on-demand services and YouTube TV, and the distinct channels Arkansas PBS, Arkansas PBS Create, Arkansas PBS KIDS, Arkansas PBS WORLD and Arkansas PBS AIRS on SAP. Members with Arkansas PBS Passport have extended on-demand access to a rich library of public television programming. Arkansas PBS depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. Additional information is available at myarkansaspbs.org. Arkansas PBS is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro) and KETZ (El Dorado).