Introducing “Ground Stories: Rooted in Traditions; Growing toward New Futures”, a collaborative project of The New York Mills Cultural Center and The Ministry Lab.
EXPLORING ART / SHARING STORIES
A core, committed team of youth and adults will create their unique stories utilizing numerous different art forms which will be explored along the way under the tutelage of local or regional artists from diverse backgrounds.
On the importance of sharing stories – and finding ourselves in stories greater than our own – see Rev. Dr. Michael Piazza’s Are We Really There?
First, participants will share their unique personal stories, learning about one another’s lived experience within their community.
Second, participants will learn their local history, developing a narrative to share with a wider audience.
Third, based on personal stories and historical discoveries they will envision a communal future. The final story will be expressed through a community art project within their specific community.
Through this project it is hoped that young people will feel more connected to their rural community and become future leaders.
The unusual partnership of the New York Mills Cultural Center and The Ministry Lab was established in an effort to broaden the net of potential participants while drawing communities together. We want to encourage religious organizations, business leaders, social services, public education, and local artistic and historical organizations to work together to create the cohort, support the cohort with human and material resources, and share the cohort’s artistry, learning, and vision with the broader community.
We envision two or three North Central Minnesota communities participating in our inaugural cohorts. Cohorts from each community will consist of approximately four people (at least one adult and at least two youth), but can/should have a larger network encouraging them, such as elders, educators, historians, artists, and other leaders and youth.
The New York Mills Cultural Center and The Ministry Lab will support cohorts by:
- engaging local artists for the teaching/learning opportunities
- facilitating monthly cohort accountability and support discussions
- offering material supplies for projects, including the final community vision story
- providing mentoring support for cohort adults
Individual commitment to the Ground Stories cohort consists of:
- participating in nine monthly learning events (through the program year)
- participating in nine monthly cohort support discussions
- creating and sharing one’s personal story
- developing and sharing a local historical narrative
- generating – and sharing in a community-wide event – a localized vision of the future
- learning art forms from established local/regional artists
- discovering the community’s or area’s past:
- through primary documents (plats, maps, etc.)
- historical centers or museums
- long-term residents with first hand information about what was, what has changed, what is missed, and what the future might be
- exploring current impacts on:
- social structures (families, safety nets, etc.)
- human health
- sharing stories
Utilizing one or more learned (or already established) art form(s), individuals from within the cohort and from around the community will be encouraged to:
Share their personal story:
- Where do they “fit” in their community’s legacy, tradition, history, etc.
- Where do they “not fit” in their community: do they see themselves as on the outside, excluded, etc.? How or why?
- What are their personal goals – situated within the history, traditions, and structure of their community?
- How might their personal goals intersect with or influence the community’s future?
Develop a local historical narrative.
Generate a vision for the future and share it in a community-wide art event inclusive of:
- safety and integrity
- participants’ individual stories
- the cohort’s historical narrative
- the cohort’s vision for their community’s future
We are counting on local clergy, youth workers, and other religious/spiritual leaders, educators, social workers, and employers to develop local cohorts. Cohort participants should embody any or all of the following:
- A commitment to learning, exploration, and personal growth
- A commitment to the community, the land, and/or the area
- A desire to develop artistic and narrative skills
- A voice that desires to speak but is not often heard
- An ability to learn, dialogue, work, and create in collaboration with others
Thank you, community leaders, for considering participation in The New York Mills Cultural Center and The Ministry Lab’s inaugural Ground Stories cohorts. We look forward to learning, growing, collaborating, and creating with you in the months ahead!
Invite youth and adults into collaborative conversation to share in one another’s story, learn the story of their community, and create a story of their community’s future.
The Ministry Lab
Cultivating vibrant church leaders and congregations by pooling the wisdom and resources of the Minnesota Annual Conference United Methodist Church, Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ, Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area, The Synod of Lakes and Prairies (PCUSA), and United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.
Rev. Emily Meyer
Executive Director, The Ministry Lab
tel | 651-279-1677
The Ministry Lab open hours are temporarily suspended. Contact Emily Meyer for consultations, to access resources, or to register for workshops.