South Charlotte

Storyteller and arts groups rewarded

Storyteller shares tales

In spite of torrential rain, wind and warnings of worse to come, those faithful to storytelling made their way to Jonesborough, Tenn., the first weekend of October for the Annual International Storytelling Festival.

One of the competitive events, The Story SLAM, featured local professional storyteller Linda Goodman. When the telling was done, Goodman came away with second place in what might be considered the Super Bowl of storytelling.

First, second, and third place winners are awarded a cash prize and bragging rights. Along with Goodman, Wanda Violet of Florida won first place and Anne Rutherford of California took third.

Goodman explained how the competition is structured: “For the SLAM, each teller has five minutes to share a complete story. Stories must be true and must be centered around a pre-announced theme.”

This year’s theme was “Thanks a Lot.”

“Over 100 storytellers auditioned for the six slots available in the SLAM,” Goodman said. “The six finalists were judged on performance, how well the story is crafted, its connection to the theme and adherence to the five-minute time limit.”

For the competition, Goodman chose to share a story titled “The Best Birthday Present Ever,” which she also told at The UCCAC Annual Breakfast for the Arts in May. In case you missed it, or weren’t in Jonesborough on Oct. 3, you can hear her tell this prize-winning and heart-warming tale at

The rain and wind put a mild damper on the overall festival, but the tent where the SLAM was held was packed with 1,600 people.

Goodman said, “I was honored to have been included.”

Goodman has been at the forefront of the effort to establish storytelling as a popular art form in Union County. She is co-founder of Speak Up Union County open mic nights, and will also be a part of the Halloween Celebration in Waxhaw. On Oct. 30, she will perform “Whispers and Shadows: Scary Stories for Grown-ups,” at City Tavern in Waxhaw at 7 p.m. The cost is $30 and reservations can be made by calling 804-687-6341 by Oct. 24.

On Oct. 31, she will perform “Spine Tinglers” at Created in the Carolinas in Waxhaw at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. for children. The cost is $5 per session and reservations can be made by calling 804-687-6341 by Oct. 24.

Grassroots arts funding announced

The Union County Community Arts Council announced that seven Union County arts groups were selected to receive funding from the council’s Grassroots Arts Grant program. Funds have been made available to nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations whose purpose is to promote and develop diverse cultural arts programming in Union County.

According to Barbara Faulk, executive director of the Union County Community Arts Council, a panel of board and community members reviewed all applications and made a recommendation to the board of directors. The board awarded grants to the Union Symphony Society, Union County Youth Ballet, Union County Playmakers, The Storefront Theatre, the Andrew Jackson Historical Foundation, The Artists Music Guild and the Town of Wingate. The total amount of funds was $32,500.

These grants are key to the continued accomplishments of these deserving arts groups.

Barbara Faulk, executive director of the Union County Community Arts Council

According to Faulk, Union County Youth Ballet will purchase a “Nutcracker” costume, Union Symphony Society will support their 10th anniversary concert series, Union County Playmakers and The Storefront Theatre will both use funds to support upcoming theater programs, Andrew Jackson Historical Foundation (The Museum of the Waxhaws) will purchase digital cameras for a student photography project, Artists Music Guild will support arts education in UCPS schools, and the town of Wingate will support the annual Summer Fun Festival.

Additional information about the Grassroots Arts Grant program is available at

John Anderson is a freelance writer: