Artists hoping to create change

A group hopes that by turning their art into activism, a movement will catch on across the country.
Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 4:17 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, MI. (IVANHOE NEWSWIRE) - As the federal government and states try to figure out how to stop deadly violence, a group of painters, musicians, singers, songwriters, poets, and dancers are using their talents to try to create positive change.

They hope that by turning their art into activism, a movement will catch on across the country.

“We’re tired of just seeing the same old, same old, and we want the change to happen,” explains She’Kinah Taylor.

She’s part of a group known as The Story Stitchers - an artist collective that’s creating positive change throughout St. Louis.

“I’m an artist, and I wanted to do something about gun violence,” said Susan Colangelo, the founder of The Story Stitchers. Colangelo and eight artists started the group in 2013 by stitching panels chronicling the violence in their city. Her passion grew into a larger calling, creating a pathway for young people to break out of the cycle of crime and poverty.

“We try to change the world through storytelling,” Colangelo explains.

Sixteen to 24-year-olds who live in under-invested neighborhoods hold socially conscious podcasts, create music together, hold community dance competitions and work to improve their neighborhoods. Each person who steps out on the stage gets paid for their performance.

“All of a sudden you get a hundred dollars for learning how to be a podcaster. And you’re on apple music,” Colangelo says. “The thing I love about The Story Stitchers is not only that they provide you with a safe space to learn, create an excel, but it also helped like you get funded from them too.”

The young people involved with The Story Stitchers all have to audition to become part of the group. Many times, those auditions are done right on the spot at community gatherings.

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