Almeta Whitis

CATEGORIES: Performance Arts, Language Arts
AGES: Pre-K-12, All ages
PROGRAMS: Available Virtual or Live
ALSO AVAILABLE: Customized Programming and Senior Living

Almeta Whitis is a storyteller, writer, poet and teaching artist, whose life work involves exploring, presenting and honoring cultural connections between people. She is a published author and a member of Just Poets. Her poems are featured in their anthology: Le Mot Juster 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2017.

“My work evolves from a feeling place into a thinking place. It endeavors to touch the heart and spirit in ways that are common to us all … a common ground place that transcends the divisions and separations we create in our minds, which influence our everyday actions, our community and society as a whole. Today’s students are hungry to learn and apply the lessons of history and culture and develop skills to become critical and creative thinkers, cultural bridge builders and compassionate doers. We artists enjoy helping students become more insightful, civic-minded, forgiving and caring members of our communities yet to come.”

- Almeta Whitis, Artist and Teacher

1993: Decade of the Child award presented by Governor Mario Cuomo for “her valuable, sensitive work with the children and families of New York State”

1997: Artis of the Year - National Chapter of Young Audiences (selected from 2000+ artists in 32 nationwide chapters)

2020-2021 school year, her life work is featured in a major exhibit: Changemakers: Rochester Women Who Have Changed The World at Rochester Museum and Science Center, Rochester, NY

Workshops: Available Online Only

Conduits of Time and Legacy
Told through oral storytelling, traditional dance and graphic visuals. It is a journey of The Beautiful Mother (water) through time and space where she meets The Magnificent Orb (our sun). Together they birth eight offspring (totem animals). Inspired by the universal cycle of life found in diverse folklore and the Medicine Wheel Teachings (4 Seasons and 4 Directions) of North America’s Indigenous and First Nations Peoples. Told over nine episodes, it combines traditional storytelling with science, history, geography and astrobiology as evidenced by recent space exploration.

Astrobiology is a new interdisciplinary science that seeks to understand the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe. As a fundamental requirement of living systems, water holds a special place in the conceptual framework of astrobiology - and - is the foundation of our story series.

A 15 minute story telling short that can be used as stand alone or interconnected virtual theater for a storytelling series. There are connections to history, geography, science, creative writing, debating skills, visual arts and philosophy/ethics.

A Party of Four: An American Symposium
The Greek god, Hermes returns to Earth as The Mysterious Herald, who invites four strangers to a banquet followed by a symposium. Unbeknownst to the four strangers, it is an invitation for them to prevent the destruction of the planet and humankind.

Each session asks students to choose a character, present “their” POV. They then must find avenues that bring about consensus to save the Earth and her peoples.

A 15 minute story telling short that can be used as stand alone or interconnected virtual theater for a storytelling series. There are connections to history, geography, science, creative writing, debating skills, visual arts and philosophy/ethics.

Storytelling Concerts and Workshop Residencies: Available Live or Online

Our Differences? ... Celebrate Diversity!

“We are born, not with purpose, but with potential.” - Octavia Butler, author of: Parable of the Talents

Currently, our country has become a more diverse and inclusive nation. Almeta’s presentation explores historic and contemporary beliefs and the societal changes that have been impacted or created by immigration. This presentation focuses upon the importance of creativity, self-awareness and inner motivation in order to build appreciation and foster open, honest and respectful communication, which is necessary for living peacefully together in a multi-racial and multi-ethnic society.

Grades Pre-K-12

Stories from the Black Worlds

“Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.” - Zora Neale Hurston

This fascinating program from the historic African Diaspora experience presents an in-depth look at diverse world cultures, by way of stories, songs, riddles, poems, legends and folktales. Using wonder, magic, mystery and humor, Almeta Whitis captivates her audience, while engaging them in the interactive aspect of the art of the storytelling.

Grades K-12

Harriet Tubman Pays A Visit

“Those who would tell a tale must look toward three ideals: to tell it beautifully, to tell it well and to tell the truth. The first is a gift of God, the second is the vision of genius, but, the third is the reward of honesty.” - W.E.B. Du Bois, author, philosopher

In a dynamic, costumed, first-person narrative performance, Almeta Whitis brings Harriet Tubman to life. The preeminent conductor of the Underground Railroad is portrayed for student audiences through a series of historical vignettes drawn from actual life experiences in Tubman’s fight for freedom and equal rights for Black people under the law.

Grades 4-12

An Incense and Silk Road Journey: Myths, Metaphors & Motifs

“Tell me a tale that always was. Read me a story that I can be in. Tell me a story that I can read. Tell me a story that I can believe. Paint me a picture that I can see. Give me a touch that I can feel. Turn me around so that I can see everything I was meant to be.” - Michael Kiwanuka, song lyrics from "Tell Me a Tale"

As human beings, we are fashioned to reason or think by using mental images or pictures. The intimacy and efficacy of storytelling hails back to ancient times when someone stood before a communal fire to engage a community’s imagination, foster understanding that lead to their values, morals and ethics, which a people use to develop cultural ethos or “the way we do things”. Often it was the teller of tales who proved to be the most valuable member of a trading caravan. By learning and sharing stories with diverse groups of the peoples, they seeded their journey with new, fantastic and intriguing tales. During our Incense and Silk Road Journey, we’ll learn of myths and stories, songs and poetry, history and traditions. All this will be embedded within the art forms and cultures of peoples, who lived along these important trading routes. We will learn and use five universal elements as the tools needed to release your creative energy and unleash the “storyteller in you”!

Grades 2-12