StoryArk provides a variety of creative programming for youth, allowing them to tell their story through their chosen medium – whether that be a novel, poetry, film, song, podcast or anything else they can dream up. Student inspired, relationship driven, community supported, and inter-generational in its leadership, StoryArk provides a safe place for students to challenge themselves, spark their imaginations and learn about the art of storytelling. Through StoryArk, students in grades six through twelve pursue their passion for storytelling through classes, workshops, writing clubs and a literary journal while developing communication, collaboration and leadership skills
Back in the summer of 2015 we began as “The Shire Literary Center”, offering novel, graphic novel and poetry classes to middle school and high school students. From there, we had the opportunity to start a radio show called Voices in the Valley (aired on KLBB and as a podcast). The radio show inspired us to offer a radio play class, and the next thing we knew, students were writing, performing, recording and producing a sci-fi podcast series called HUSH. Each of these three cultural projects took on a life of their own, and we were fortunate to receive several grants. It became clear we needed to become an official nonprofit, and in August of 2016, the IRS officially recognized us as a 501c(3) named StoryArk. StoryArk became the umbrella organization for The Shire, Voices in the Valley and #HUSHpodcast. However, as our programming grew, people became confused. It was hard to keep track of everything. It was clear that it made the most sense to drop “The Shire” and just use the name StoryArk. While nothing has changed about what we offer, we are hoping it is now much easier to understand who we are and what we do.
Who we are
StoryArk empowers student voices and equips young artists to succeed by nurturing storytelling across the generations and through multiple media. To do this, StoryArk provides a variety of creative programming allowing students in grades six through twelve to tell their stories to an intergenerational audience – whether that be a novel, poetry, film, song, podcast or anything else they can dream up. Find out more about StoryArk by clicking here and meet our Board of Directors.
Where we live
Stillwater is home to all kinds of imagination feeders: steps and vistas, lively streets, the old prison walls and Indian battleground, historic caves, Victorian houses, the St. Croix river and its iconic lift bridge. With it’s creative outlets and community of published authors, Stillwater offers a distinct advantage to StoryArk and makes us unique. As part of the learning process, it’s not unusual for our classes to field trip to different Stillwater settings. When it comes to providing a backdrop for student films, Stillwater offers an eclectic set of options that can’t be beat.
Unless otherwise stated, all classes take place at the Zephyr Studio, 421 S. Main Street in Stillwater and are geared towards either middle or high school students. #HUSHpodcast often meets at ArtReach St. Croix as well located at 224 N. 4th Street. Larger classes take advantage of the beautiful meeting space both indoors and out offered by the Stillwater Public Library. The library is just one of many non-profits the Shire handshakes with to provide an enriched experience to our students.