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Sketches of Jonesborough : Program ‘well-received’ by townspeople

After months of collecting community stories, the International Storytelling Center hosted a special event last week to celebrate the first milestone in the recently introduced program, Telling Jonesborough’s Stories.
In March, leaders at the ISC announced plans for the program, which focuses on gathering the stories and history of Jonesborough and some of its most well-known people throughout the years.
“We actively harvest stories and then we take those stories and craft them into things — dance, theater, sculpture,” said Jimmy Neil Smith, founder and president of the ISC. “We’re trying to create a high performance community, one that can exceed our expectations as a great place to live, to work and to raise our families.”
While the program began by interviewing well-known Jonesborough residents, it has since branched out to include the memories of a wide variety of town residents.
The first performance created out of some of the local stories was put on last week. Nearly 100 town residents attended Sketches of Jonesborough, a special performance by Jay O’Callahan, a renowned storyteller, who has been collecting the stories and memories of Jonesborough residents since early this year.
He put together Sketches of Jonesborough to share his preliminary development of the Jonesborough story and seek input from those who have helped with the project.
“They were just snippets of what his full story will be, kind of threaded together. It was very well received,” Smith said. “We had an excellent turnout and it brought together a cross section of Jonesborough. And that’s what we are trying to do. We are trying to bring the community together.”
Following O’Callahan’s performance, those in attendance gathered to talk about the stories and enjoy homemade pie created from recipes of Pearl Jackson — Smith’ s grandmother.
Several activities featuring the stories of Jonesborough will take place over the next several months while the official kickoff of Telling Jonesborough’s Stories is scheduled to take place on the first Sunday in May. The program will include six months of activities related directly and indirectly to the stories gathered in Jonesborough, Smith said.