Storytelling Contest in the Berkshires Celebrates a Sense of Place

Story Slam at the Clark Art Institute Celebrates a Sense of Place

Stone Hill is a prominent geological formation at the heart of the Clark’s campus.

Celebrating the Clark Art Institute’s current exhibit, Sensing Place: Reflecting on Stone Hill, a community story slam will coincide on Friday, July 22 at 7pm. Community members are invited to The Clark in Williamstown to hear and tell stories that center around the topic of place.  Stories about the place called home, a particularly meaningful place, or moments of feeling in place, out of place, or displaced are all welcome at this community story slam

On the evening of the event, names of those interested in sharing place-related stories are chosen at random, and those selected are invited to tell their stories up to five minutes in duration. A panel of judges provides feedback and prizes are awarded. 

About the Exhibit

Sensing Place: Reflecting on Stone Hill
The Clark Museum
July 4, 2016 through October 10, 2016

Mark C. Taylor, the co-curator of this exhibition, states that “In today’s high-speed world, place disappears in screens where reality becomes virtual. Sensing Place creates the opportunity to slow down and re-discover who you are by reflecting on where you are.”

Multiple media are used in this exhibition including a sonogram and recording of a bird song, video representing the melting of glaciers and creation of Lake Bascom, and historic maps, photographs, and ephemera that illustrate the rich history of Stone Hill. The objects presented in the exhibition are varied and include historic artifacts. Each of fourteen participants chose a single object to reflect upon and interpret in a short text.

Author Jim Shepard tells the story of John Barney Wright by showing the mid-nineteenth-century sharp-shooter’s rifle that Wright modified to hunt bear. Another author, Elizabeth Kolbert, uses soil monoliths to illustrate how Stone Hill has evolved, and continues to evolve, throughout the centuries. Soil monoliths detail natural intervention, such as climate change, and human intervention, such as a plow, in the evolution of place.

Stone artist Dan Snow reflects on a recreated field wall that would have been common on Stone Hill in the eighteenth century. The wall intersects interior and exterior spaces as a reminder of Stone Hill’s agrarian past.

Artist Stephen Hannock reflects on the passage of time by presenting a root ball of a fallen cluster of buckthorn trees that was found on Stone Hill Road. For Hannock, the growth rings of the tree show how time has passed and been recorded.

Sensing Place: Reflecting on Stone Hill at The Clark Museum immerses visitors in the rich natural and cultural history of Stone Hill from its geological formation to the present. It examines the broader concepts of place through objects linked to Stone Hill, as interpreted by those familiar with the richness of this special place.

The exhibit is currently on view through October 10, 2016 at The Clark Museum. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA. (FREE W/ADMISSION)

[Photo credit: (c) Tucker Bair]

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