On February 21st-22nd, the Lao Assistance Center will be presenting the first Lao American Storytellers Festival at the Harrison Neighborhood Center at 503 Irving Avenue N. in Minneapolis, MN.
The festival will include formal presentations of traditional folk tales, oral histories, worship sessions and cultural exhibits from 1pm to 3pm each day.
Thursday, February 21
Sunny Chanthanouvong: 30 Years, A Community of Stories
Chanida Phaengdara: Little Laos on the Prairie Review
David Zander: Discovering our Stories
Saymoukda Vongsay: No Regrets 5th Anniversary Reading
Sue Veerasaeng: Lao Minnesotan Journeys. Documentary and Discovery
Friday, February 22
Bryan Thao Worra: Beyond the Other Side of the Eye
Phouthakannha Nantharath: Elder Voices, Youth Visions
Chay Douangphouxay's Remission: Finding Light in the Midst of Social Darkness.
Komany Saopathong: Speaking Memories of Secret Histories
This activity was made possible in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Metropolitan Region Arts Council, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature from the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.
In the United States there are approximately 200,000 Lao with the largest populations residing in California, Texas, and Minnesota. Minnesota has the 3rd largest Lao refugee population in the US with 12,000 to 25,000 residents.
There are still many gains to be achieved in both education and the arts. Many members of the community expressed concerns regarding the preservation and transmission of traditional culture to the youth.
The Lao American Storytellers Festival is a key outcome of a year-long intensive apprenticeship program of the Lao Assistance Center to encourage the next generation of Lao American storytellers. This is the first year such a program has been implemented.