Pearls of Wisdom

I want to just share a heartfelt THANK YOU!!! The Pearls presentation was very inspiring! The students were clearly moved by the stories of resilience shared. Please express our gratitude to the Pearls of Wisdom!
— Suzette Ramsundar Associate Director of the Office of Campus Life, Lehman College, CUNY

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. Performing solo or in pairs, the Pearls travel to a range of community based sites, including senior centers, settlement houses, libraries, school assemblies, parks, and other neighborhood and cultural institutions exposing these communities to the art of personal storytelling. Presentations typically last sixty minutes and include an introduction, story presentation, and discussion.

Their performances are a great way to foster discussion around awareness months such as Black History Month, Women's History Month, and Older America's Month.

The Pearls have performed in partnership with: The Highline, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, and the New York Restoration Project. Additionally, they have presented at dozens of assemblies and classroom settings in schools around the city. 

Check out where they are performing next by clicking here

Current Pearls of Wisdom are: 

Joyce Bolden, Lorraine Currelley, Joyce Duncan, Linda Feller, L.D. Frazier, Gwendolyn Grant, Juliette Holmes, David Kaalund, Crystal Kilgore, Rebecca King, Eugenia Miller, Celestina Trower, Thelma Thomas, Ellen S. Shapiro, Tyrone Slater, Diana Rose Yates, and Shirley Young. 

Interested in bringing them to your community? Check out our brochure and email us at programs@estanyc.org