The Sit & Tell Project: Call for Area Creatives

Take part in Sit & Tell by visiting the official site!


The Sit & Tell Project: Connecting communities through pulling up a chair and sharing our stories. In 2015 The Arts Commission released its Strategic Plan for Arts & Culture for the purpose of celebrating creative communities. AIGA Toledo is behind the spirit of this plan and is participating by engaging Toledoans in a creative projects that seek to reveal and illuminate our communities through communication and understanding.

Through a partnership with MTS Seating and The Arts Commission, AIGA Toledo is utilizing the metaphor of a chair as an invitation for friendship and communication. The Sit & Tell Project will be a series of chairs visualizing the auditory expressions of stories collected by enlisting Toledo citizens as storytellers on World Storytelling Day. Established in Sweden in 1991, World Storytelling Day is a global celebration of the art of oral storytelling. It is celebrated every year on the spring equinox (March 20, 2016) in the northern hemisphere or autumnal equinox in the southern hemisphere.

On World Storytelling Day, as many people as possible tell and listen to stories in as many languages, and at as many places as possible, during the same day and night. Participants tell each other about their events in order to share stories and inspiration, to learn from each other and create international contacts.


As Northwest Ohio residents, we value the opportunity to enroll this region in storytelling with each other and with the world. Following the Strategic Plan of the Arts Commission, they cited nine (9) neighborhoods to actively engage. Our project will start giving voice to these neighborhoods by collecting stories through in person interviews about Strong Women of Toledo on March 20, 2016. These stories may be told by strong women, or be about strong women told from anyone. Following the event of World Storytelling Day, the collection of stories will be reinterpreted by artists and designers to be produced on a series of chairs to go on display at an exhibition in those neighborhoods.

The object of the chair is an important component of the storytelling process; think how often we hear the sentiment, “pull up a chair” as an invitation to engage in a mutual exchange. Through video and audio recording, these stories will be archived visually through the object in graphic representations and housed digitally through a website where the chair will also be displayed.

Some of our suggested sites for the exhibition and storytelling collection include the Collingwood Arts Center, Toledo Public Library, East Toledo Family Center, Sofia Quintero Art & Cultural Center, and others that align with Toledo’s Strategic Plan for Arts & Culture.


1.) Artists submit work samples to take part. Jurors determine who will be selected to work on the next phase. Artists of all backgrounds are welcome to apply, but the final work will be submitted as a two dimensional piece that is applied to a chair by MTS Seating.

2.) World Storytelling Day, story tellers of any kind show up at designated sites in the city to tell their story. Stories have no time limit or format, they can be as brief as a sentence, or a longer story. You may write it in advance (we recommend it!) or you can deliver your story as a poetry slam, a short story, a poem, whatever you feel comfortable with that communicates your message. We want to hear your perspectives, your stories of strong women in your lives as they relate to our home here in Toledo.  Your stories will be recorded and used as springboards for the visual artists.

3.) Visual artists are paired with neighborhoods and stories. Using a story from one of our storytellers, visual artists will create a work inspired by or based on that storytellers story. Final artwork will be reproduced in high quality by MTS seating using state of the art reproduction printing and substrates to apply the artwork to one of 100 chairs, creating a permanent display on the chair.

4.) Exhibitions of the final collection will move throughout Toledo neighborhoods, spreading each distinct area of the city throughout one another and sharing our common bonds and histories through visual art.


AIGA Toledo, in partnership with the Arts Commission successfully produced the 2010 Urban Forest Project Toledo, the 2011 Downtown Windows Project and the award-winning 2012 You Are Here Project. With this strong track record of doing large scale community based projects it is AIGA Toledo’s hope that we are continuing this wonderful collaboration and work with the Arts Commission. Another significant partnership has been forged with MTS Seating of Temperance, Michigan as a major contributor to the success of this project.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou

Want to learn more and take part in this city wide storytelling, art & design project? Learn more and take part by visiting the official site!

By aigatoledo
Published February 9, 2016
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