J. J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Award for 2024

Announcement from Artists Standing Strong Together and the National Storytelling Network:

ASST and NSN are delighted to announce that LAURA DEAL, of Boulder, Colorado, has been awarded the 2024 J.J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Grant. Please help us congratulate Laura!

A gifted writer and performer, Laura Deal brings vivid words and images, engaging presentation, spatters of humor, and much wisdom and kindness to her storytelling. Even though she has come to storytelling only in the past decade, her repertoire now spans a variety of genres, including personal stories, lies, literary tales, folk and fairy tales, historical character presentation, and her own creations.

Laura arrived at storytelling by a long and fruitful path. She began as a historian, a passionate reader, and a creative writer, then moved to study the deeper meanings of dream symbols and focused on the importance of the language of metaphor. As she advanced in dream work, she created a website (https://firstchurchofmetaphor.com/) to explore metaphor and symbol in a number of different art forms. When she finally witnessed professional storytellers – first, Liz Weir and Claire Murphy – she was captured immediately.

In recent years Laura has seized diverse opportunities to develop her storytelling: Spellbinders, story slams and circles, fringes, the Timp Tell competition, and finally, festival invitations. During the pandemic Laura was one of the first supporters of ASST, and her gift with artful words led her to found a poetry gathering, PSST!, within that organization. Through the Chautauqua Training Institute offered by Humanities North Dakota, she researched and developed a powerful performance of the character of Jungian psychologist Marion Woodman. Since so much of her burgeoning career has necessarily involved performance online, she has become an effective teller on Zoom as well as in person. Laura will use the Emerging Artist Grant for further coaching by experienced tellers.

The J. J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Award is presented to a storyteller of major and unique performing talent who has not yet received wide public recognition. J.J. Reneaux was a storyteller, children’s book author, singer and songwriter who grew up poor in the Delta bayous and rich in the lore of her Cajun people. She succeeded by virtue of a native talent fired by passion and uncompromising dedication to her heritage and storytelling. Never forgetting her own struggle, she dreamed of helping talented people succeed. J.J. died too soon in the winter of 2000, but she left her family instructions to create a fund that would support exceptionally gifted tellers in the early stages of their careers. J.J.’s family, ASST, and NSN are proud to make J.J.’s dream a reality and proud to support Laura Deal’s growth as a storyteller.

Like this Article? Please share:

You may also enjoy these:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *