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Untold Black Stories:
A Downtown Alton Visual Listening Tour
To celebrate and share the conversations recorded for Untold Black Stories of Alton by StoryCorps, large-format portraits of over 30 Alton residents have been commissioned to animate windows along the Broadway corridor with portraits of the participants.
Through this listening tour and photography exhibit, we discover a rich and often untold history. We see ourselves in these stories. They help us find our way back to one another and imagine a more inclusive society.
These are personal stories of family devotion, faith, dedication to hard work, friendship, honor, and reciprocity. They are filled with laughter, humility, and respect.
Professional Photography by Bishoppe Kamusinga and Cedric Parker. Design by Tyrone Stevenson.
This is a collaboration between Jacoby Arts Center, Alton Main Street, Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau, All Town, USA, and Hayner Public Library designed to catalyze diversity, inclusivity and equity within the downtown Alton historic district and engage the community with these Untold Black Stories of Alton.
Printing of the portraits is sponsored by The Mythic Mississippi Project, a public engagement venture of the University of Illinois that promotes community development through Cultural Heritage programming.
This project was made possible with support from Illinois Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Illinois General Assembly.
The Exhibition will run May-July 11 2021
Listen to Full 40 Minute
StoryCorps Recordings Here:
Listen to Short Excerpts
Edited by All Town, USA:
Untold Black Stories of Alton: Live Listening Session & Discussion
DATE: 3/5/2021 at 5pm
Live Listening Session & Discussion of Untold Black Stories of Alton is a public virtual listening event of first-person stories of Alton residents documenting their lives and the town’s past, present, and future. Highlights:
Listening session of StoryCorps' stories via Zoom from StoryCorps’ Virtual event
Discussion with featured Alton participants
Untold Black Stories: A Downtown Alton Visual Listening Tour
DATE: 5/15/2021 - 7/11/2021
In honor of the participants recorded for Untold Black Stories, large-format portraits of participants have been commissioned to activate downtown Alton storefront windows and engage the community with these Untold Black Stories of Alton. Through this listening tour, we discover a rich and often untold history. We see ourselves in these stories. They help us find our way back to one another and imagine a more inclusive society.
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OUR ALTON STORIES: A Collaborative Community Art Installation
DATE: 3/5/2021 - 7/1/2021
To further engage our community in Untold Black Stories of Alton visual artists will invite the community onsite at Jacoby Arts Center and out in the Alton community to create individual visual art “stories”. A collection of fabric stories will integrate into a large collaborative community visual art piece that represents this diverse & unique community. Fabric Stories will represent personal stories and emotions from the community of Alton. Each fabric strand of color and texture represents an idea, emotion, and story. Oftentimes, words aren’t enough to communicate. A final visual portrait will be completed and on display through 2021, then moved to other areas to continue sharing and engaging with Untold Black Stories of Alton.
Untold Black Stories in Contemporary Art Exhibition
DATE: 6/2/2021 - 7/11/2021
To further engage our community in Untold Black Stories visual artists will be invited to submit their work for a showcase of art exploring the theme “Untold Black Stories.” Art of all media will be reviewed by a committee and selected pieces will be displayed in an exhibition at Jacoby Arts Center Main Gallery. Special emphasis will be placed on interactive art to help the community engage with the art and stories presented. The exhibit will run through June to align with local Juneteenth celebrations.