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Pearls of Wisdom Storytellers

The Pearls of Wisdom are a touring ensemble of elder storytellers, led by artistic director, Thelma Ruffin Thomas. In richly told presentations, the Pearls present stories that illuminate their individual pasts and, in turn, our collective histories.

Their lively, spirited, interactive, and authentic presentations not only promote the tradition of elder folk art stories but also inspire audience participants to share stories of their own. Presentations typically last sixty minutes and include an introduction, story presentation, and discussion.

Pearls present in a wide range of settings and presentations. Their performances are a great way to foster discussion during awareness months such as Black History Month, Women's History Month, and Older America's Month. To learn more about each Pearl, click on the "Pearls' Biographies" link in the side navigation bar.

"Often when older people are recognized for outstanding work, they are typically regarded as exceptions to the rule - as if creativity and outstanding performance were not significant parts of aging. But when you can identify an entire field like folk art that is dominated by older people, then outstanding performance by various older individuals cannot be trivialized as atypical or an exception to the rule. Folk art makes a profoundly powerful statement about the inherent capacity for creative expression throughout the entire life cycle." - Gene D. Cohen, M.D., Ph.D.

The video below is "The Art of Storytelling", presented by Pearls of Wisdom member Dr. Joyce Duncan. Please visit our Youtube page for other videos from ESTA.