published Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Cleveland schoolchildren get an earful at Ocoee Story Fest

Storyteller Megan Hicks engages students at Hopewell Elementary with fairy and folk tales on Wednesday. Hicks is the featured artist of the 18th annual Ocoee Story Fest, which will be held Friday evening at the Museum Center at Five Points in Cleveland, Tenn.
Storyteller Megan Hicks engages students at Hopewell Elementary with fairy and folk tales on Wednesday. Hicks is the featured artist of the 18th annual Ocoee Story Fest, which will be held Friday evening at the Museum Center at Five Points in Cleveland, Tenn.
Photo by Paul Leach.

OCOEE STORY FEST

When: Friday at 7 p.m.

Where: Museum Center at Five Points, 200 Inman St. E, Cleveland, TN 37311

Admission: $5 per ticket; maximum $15 for a family

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Megan Hicks, the featured artist of the 18th annual Ocoee Story Fest, is inviting Bradley County students to share imaginative space with her while she spins a mixture of fairy and folk tales this week.

On Wednesday, Hicks -- a professional storyteller from Philadelphia -- kicked off a three-day tour of six schools at Hopewell Elementary. The festival will put her center stage at the Museum Center at Five Points on Friday.

"You're creating your own unique universe," Hicks told a gymnasium full of Hopewell students. "I need your faces, I need your attention and we all come together in the same place, and we're all committed to creating works of art. I call it collaborative art -- it's very, very active."

The students responded with wide eyes, laughter and breathless moments as Hicks engaged them with tales of evil giants, clever girls and her own grandmother.

"I liked the humor," said third-grader Kennedy Pickel. "I liked that we could see the stories in our heads."

"It's the ultimate communication," Hicks said before the performance. "Once two people have heard the same story, they have a bond."

"Students ought to be exposed to storytelling," said Tim Riggs, principal of Hopewell. "It can spark something within a child's mind."

After seeing Hicks' performance at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tenn., Cleveland's storytellers wanted her to perform for their own event.

"We were very impressed by her," Cleveland Storytelling Guild member Judy Baker said. "We selected Megan because we thought she would be a very good fit for this area."

In addition to Hopewell Elementary, Hicks will appear at Tennessee Christian, Cleveland Middle, Parkview Elementary and Taylor Elementary schools.

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