Go on an Arts Adventure with Stillwater Public Library’s “NEA Tails and Tales” Summer Reading Program

Story provided by Stillwater Public Library

*EDITOR’S NOTE: The following release was posted with two incorrect dates originally, but have now been corrected: “Teen’s Comic Art Workshop” is June 9 and “OSU Art Walk” is Thursday, June 17 at 6:30 p.m.

Adventure into the wild world of the arts with Stillwater Public Library’s “NEA Tails and Tales” 2021 Summer Reading Program. This year’s program will take place virtually and explore a wide range of the arts, with performances and workshops on topics like dance, music, writing, songwriting, acting and more. Participation in the SPL’s annual Summer Reading Program is free and registration begins May 24, with reading challenges and online activities running through July 31. Readers of all ages are encouraged to sign up and join the fun.

“Thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), we are able to include performances and workshops with our summer reading program again, a long-standing tradition that we all truly missed last year,” said Elizabeth Murray, SPL’s Children’s Librarian. “We’re excited to have found a new way to continue this community-favorite element of our annual program in a way that allows the whole community to continue to participate,” This year’s focus on the arts gives children, teens and even adults a lot of fun options to participate in programs and workshops highlighting various artistic endeavors.

Families with children and teens are invited to virtually attend four different performances: a comedic show with an improv group, an origami demonstration and class taught through storytelling, a concert featuring animated illustration and a traditional storyteller diving into animal folklore. These performances will take place every other Tuesday at 2 p.m.

·         June 1: “Family Improv with OKC Improv” – Improv players use games and audience suggestions to create silly, artistic fun for all.

·         June 15: “Storigami with Shiri” – Shrikant Iyer uses the power of storytelling to teach the tradition of origami. 

·         June 29: “Gustafer Yellowgold” – Two-time Grammy nominee Morgan Taylor performs a family-friendly music and animated illustration concert featuring live music, colored-pencil animations and storytelling.

·         July 13: “Lessons Learned from Animal Tales” – Oklahoma storyteller, DWe Williams dives deep into traditional and new animal folklore.

Along with these family programs, children in grades 1-5 will have the opportunity to participate in artist workshops where they will learn to create art of their own. These workshops require registration to receive the Zoom links and will have a limited number of slots for the live events, which will take place on alternating Tuesdays at 2 p.m.

·         June 8: “Children’s Comic Art Workshop” – Aaron Polk, NYT Best-selling cartoonist  and colorist for the “Dog Man” books, provides instruction on the basics of comic art.

·         June 22: “Tales Behind Fairytales” – Author Liesl Shurtliff discusses fairytales, their origins and how she used them to spin her own unique tales.

·         July 6: “Children’s Songwriting Workshop” – Two-time Grammy nominee Morgan Taylor presents the basics of songwriting.

·         July 20: “Children’s Dance Workshop” – Broadway dancers from the Passdoor Company deliver the basics of dance.

Parents with babies and toddlers can enjoy the arts with their little ones each Saturday in June at 10 a.m. with Bounce’n Beethoven’s music and movement classes for ages birth to 5 years.

Teens in grades 6-12 will also get a chance to participate in arts-focused workshops. These will be held on Wednesdays at 2 p.m., the same weeks as the children’s workshops.

·         *June 9: “Teen’s Comic Art Workshop” – Aaron Polk, NYT Best-selling cartoonist  and colorist for the “Dog Man” books, provides instruction on the basics of comic art.

·         June 23: “Author Visit with William Ritter” – NYT bestselling author, William Ritter speaks and answers questions about writing and publishing.

·         July 7: “Teen’s Songwriting Workshop” – Two-time Grammy nominee Morgan Taylor presents the basics of songwriting.

·         July 21: “Teen’s Dance Workshop” – Broadway dancers from the Passdoor Company deliver the basics of dance.

Adults are invited to enjoy this summer’s Arts extravaganza with their own special programs.

·        *Thursday, June 17, at 6:30 p.m.: “OSU Art Walk” – Explore the art on campus with a guided tour.

·         Saturday, June 26, at 10 a.m.: “Butterfly Walk” – Enjoy a walk, led by members of the Payne County Audubon Society, through the OSU Botanic Gardens to look for butterflies and other pollinators during International Pollinator Week.

·         Thursday, July 15, at 6 p.m.: “Author Visit with Will Thomas” – Local Oklahoma Victorian mystery writer of the “Barker and Llewelyn” series talks about his books and answers questions.

·         Saturday, July 24, at 6 p.m.: “Library StorySLAM” – Everyone has a story and we want to hear yours! Attend a StorySLAM, a live storytelling competition popularized by “The Moth.”

The library’s Summer Reading Program wouldn’t be complete without reading challenges and this year readers will use the online BookPoints program to track challenges and award prizes. Digital badges will be awarded for reaching reading goals and completing activities related to reading such as visiting the local Storywalk in Couch Park. BookPoints allows participants to log the amount of time they spend reading and track specific books read, activities completed and digital badges earned. The program also has a family registration feature that makes it easy for parents to enter reading time and claim badges for all household members. Paper trackers will be available at the Help Desk for those who wish to use them instead of tracking hours with BookPoints.

All registered participants will be reading to earn prizes. At 10 and 20 hours, readers will choose from a selection of coupons and specialty items, such as a screen-printed tote created by the Prairie Arts Center. These prizes may be picked up starting July 1. After logging 30 hours kids and teens will earn a free book, which may be selected beginning August 2. All readers will earn grand prize drawing entries for every five hours of reading. The winner of each age division (kids, teens and adults) may choose from a list of prizes including a pet adoption fee and supply gift card, bookstore gift card, or gift card to a local art shop, studio or class with a max total of $150.

Participants who attend the online programs will receive activity codes that can be submitted via BookPoints to be entered into raffle prize drawings every other week. There will be four total drawings for each age group (kids, teens, & adults).

The library thanks The National Endowment for the Arts, Friends of the Stillwater Public Library, the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and the Institute of Museum and Library Services for sponsoring the 2021 Summer Reading Program, and the local businesses who generously donated prize coupons for participants, including Chick-fil-A, Freddy’s, Texas Roadhouse, Simplicity & Co., Whataburger, OnCue and Blue Spruce.

For more information, contact the Stillwater Public Library by phone at (405) 372-3633 or by e-mail at [email protected] or visit the web site at http://library.stillwater.org.