What is Story House?
Story House Ithaca is a new organization that brings people together to share, study, create, and enjoy stories in all their forms. We are a project of the Center for Transformative Action.
We define "story" very broadly, to include fiction and nonfiction, poetry and song, journalism and documentary, photography and film, theater and dance, puppetry and mime, graphics and games, and every other way of communicating ideas and experience.
Our definition of "house" is also broad. We hope eventually to settle into our own space, but for now we're excited to be popping up online and around the community.
Story House Ithaca is a local initiative, but it was inspired by Story House Belvédère in Rotterdam and Alphabet City in Pittsburgh. Both serve as important gathering places in their communities while promoting human rights and free creative expression.
What do we do?
WE CREATE. Story House dreams up, organizes, and presents workshops, presentations, participatory projects, performances, and other activities.
WE COLLABORATE. Story House teams up with organizations, artists, activists, scholars, and others to create new programming, find new partners, and reach new audiences.
WE EMPOWER: Story House helps members of our community acquire and practice the skills they need to tell the stories they want to tell.
Who are we?
Story House Ithaca grew out of discussions among local writers, artists, teachers, activists, business owners, and other community members.
Co-Directors Lesley Greene and Jonathan Miller. Photo by Casey Martin/Ithaca Times.
Lesley Greene is a sound designer, composer, video editor, playwright, and director. She worked for many years at the Kitchen Theatre Company as a producer, grant writer, and theatrical jack of all trades. The holder of no fewer than three science degrees from Cornell, she is co-founder and co-organizer of Porchfest, a festival that began in Ithaca in 2007 and now takes place in more than 150 cities across North America. More complete bio here.
Jonathan Miller is a print, radio, and podcast journalist and executive director of Homelands Productions, a nonprofit journalism collective specializing in radio features and documentaries. His work has taken him to more than 20 countries in Asia, Latin America, Africa, Europe, and the Pacific. He was co-chair of the University Neighborhoods Council and a board member of the Light in Winter Festival. He currently serves on the board of Ithaca City of Asylum. More complete bio here.
Our indispensable advisory board members are Jonathan Plotkin (top left), Fred Schoeps (top right), Marietta Synodis (second row left), Kathryn Henion (second row center), and Kenneth McLaurin (third row center). You've already met Lesley (top center) and Jon (second row right).
Our inestimable planning group includes Kathrin Achenbach, Shola Ajayi, Brett Bossard, Anna Canny, Regi Carpenter, Kelsey Gardner, Kitty Gifford, Peaches Gillette, Eleanor Henderson, Scott Hitz, Rachel Lampert, Laura Larson, Aimée Lehmann, Johannes Lehmann, Barbara Mink, Steve Paling, Eric Pritz, Mickie Quinn, Sara Stamatiades, Neil Schill, Elbonee "SingTrece" McLaurin, and Elizabeth Wolff.
Why are we doing this?
Stories have always brought people together. They're how we make sense of ourselves and how we learn about one another. They’re the paths we take to explore the world, and the tools we use to report what we discover.
Yet stories can also deceive and divide us. To thrive in a world of stories, we need to open our minds, pay attention, and be unafraid to ask each other questions. We need to spend time in one another's presence, and to interact in meaningful ways.
In all our programs and activities, we are committed to creating inclusive spaces that welcome diversity. We strive to foster interactions between people of different cultures, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds, with the goal of working toward shared understanding and a more equitable, anti-racist society.
What can you do?
Join us! We love to work with creative and passionate people. If you have an idea for a program, there's a handy form here. If you'd like to be a part of our planning group, or if you'd like to donate your skills or ask us a question, shoot us an email at email@example.com. If you want to donate money (and of course you do!), it's easy with GiveGab. If you want to keep up with what we're doing, please sign up for our mailing list and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube!