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Cincy Stories launches new community-building project through storytelling

Cincy Stories storytelling producers are launching a multi-media website project, Street Stories, to feature stories from each of Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods, starting in Walnut Hills in partnership with Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation and LISC.
“When Cincy Stories started, our plan was to build community through story, which has given us room to grow and evolve and innovate in ways we didn’t originally anticipate,” founder Shawn Braley says.
Cincy Stories originated as a series of live events in order to get people together to share stories. As it has grown, Braley has been cataloging stories of the city in short, documentary-style segments for the website. Cincy Stories also recently launched a podcast, and now Street Stories will expand the program’s reach even further.
“We’re hoping that we can gather more stories from more people, especially those who maybe aren’t going to find us but still have stories to share,” Braley says. “We see this as continuing to get our hands dirtier, digging deeper into the exploration of how story and community are intricately connected.”
The Walnut Hills portion of Street Stories will feature an interactive Story Gallery at 961 E. McMillan St. It will be an art gallery for storytelling, complete with video gallery, timeline of the history of Walnut Hills and a place where people can get together and share stories.
The gallery is being made possible through a LISC placemaking grant, and Model Group is providing the gallery space.
The Story Gallery is a way for Cincy Stories to engage the community on the ground and invite them into the space for events and to share stories.
Cincy Stories will capture Walnut Hills stories over the next few months, and then in July there will be a party to unveil the website. The next neighborhood hasn’t been announced yet, but it needs to be a partnership between Cincy Stories and the community.
Braley says it made sense to team up with the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation, which is working to connect people and build a diverse, inclusive and vibrant community, and doing it creatively.
“We have this crazy notion that if we all just shared our stories, any tension or wall or misconception that hinders the community would fall, and empathy and understanding would be built in its place,” he says.
The gallery will open on June 1, with regular hours of 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. There will be a Street Stories gallery opening party from 6-10 p.m. on June 10.

Read more articles by Caitlin Koenig.

Caitlin Koenig is a Cincinnati transplant and 2012 grad of the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. She's the department editor for Soapbox Media and currently lives in Northside with her husband, Andrew, and their three furry children. Follow Caitlin on Twitter at @caite_13.  
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