BY JON CRONIN
After the success of the ‘Richmond Hill Love Letter’, project in September, organizer Bridget Bartolini, an aficionado of local oral history, has received a grant to expand the storytelling series this spring at the Queens Library’s Lefferts Branch.
Bartolini, a lifetime Richmond Hill resident, describes it as, “a storytelling, art, and oral history program, in September, where she was aiming to strengthen the community by highlighting all there is to love about Richmond Hill.”
She adds that this is, “The first in a series of Richmond Hill Love Letter programs, this Saturday’s ‘Richmond Hill Love Letter Story Circle’ workshop invites people to share stories and memories about the greater Richmond Hill area, and engage in discussion about the neighborhood’s past, present, and future. The facilitated discussion will explore local history and assets, examining positive and negative attributes of the area, and envision changes we hope to see. The public is also invited to bring any Queens photographs and memorabilia, which will be digitized for inclusion in the Archives at Queens Library’s collections, and saved to a thumb drive that participants can take home.”
Bartolini feels that the Richmond hill is “overlooked and underserved, but it’s incredibly rich culturally. I created this program because I deeply love my neighborhood, and I’m concerned with how a lack of community programs here has led to disconnected residents. At this Saturday’s event, people can expect to and connect with neighbors through shared stories and snacks from the heart of Little Guyana.”
The program will be run in two parts, the first will be run the local libraries from April to October 2016 with free monthly activities, including story circles, community discussions, and art-making and writing workshops in local libraries, community centers, and parks.
The second part will culminate in November and will showcase true life stories, poems and other art inspired by Richmond Hill. “It will be an ode to the neighborhood like we’ve never seen!” Bartolini exclaims.
Bartolini founded the Five Boro Story Project, three years ago as her passion project and since then has featured over 20 storytelling events in the five boroughs with artists, dancers and musicians.
She stated, “Our free, hyper-localized public programs create opportunities for New Yorkers to connect to our neighborhoods and our neighbors through stories, song, poetry, dance, film, and discussion about the places where we live. The programs aim to strengthen community connections, preserve personal histories, and challenge negative perceptions of the outer boroughs and marginalized areas.”
This project will be included in the Queens Memory, which is an archive run by the Queens Library and Queens College.
“According to their website, “The Queens Memory Project is a dynamic testament of collective memory for the residents of Queens, New York; the most diverse county in the United States. The interviews and archival records gathered here from many sources document the borough’s people and places; their differences, their changes over time, and their strong ties to one another.”
The Spring storytelling series began this past Saturday, April 9, at the Lefferts Library and continues to their big event in November.
Reach Reporter Jon Cronin at (718) 357-7400 x125, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JonathanSCronin