Storytelling is an oral art form as ancient as the civilizations of the world, yet, relevant to our time and place.
Storytelling motivates reading and helps to develop listening, language, visualization and literacy skills. It is entertainment that provides a means of transmitting positive values.
Storytelling forges heart-to-heart ties between people by encouraging appreciation of one’s own cultural identity as well as understanding and appreciation of the diversity of people, ideas, and cultural traditions of the world.
Denise Valentine’s storytelling performance illustrates the power of story to transcend differences between people, inspire hope, and transform negativity. She tells stories that emphasize the dignity and power of the human spirit, and the inter-relatedness of life. Denise has a passion for researching history and folklore, then bringing it to life with her captivating voice.
Ms. Valentine presents interactive storytelling performances for schools, libraries, museums and community events. Her programs are designed to engage audiences of all ages, encourage exchange between generations, and promote a spirit of connectedness and community. As a teaching artist, she facilitates folk arts residencies and teacher/professional staff development workshops.
The storyteller made her debut with Keepers of the Culture, Inc. (KOTC) in 1997, and shortly thereafter joined theNational Association of Black Storytellers.
In 2004, she participated in a storytelling delegation to South Africa, with the National Storytelling Network, under the auspices of People to People Ambassador Programs. In addition, she was awarded The Leeway Foundation of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s 2004 Window of Opportunity Grant to study the preservation of folktale traditions in South Africa. Her essay, A Voice for the Voiceless© was published in the July/August 2005 issue of Storytelling Magazine, by the National Storytelling Network.
Beginning in 2014, the storyteller collaborated in "Reconstruction," a project funded by the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, with historian Phillip Seitz, Chair of Reconstruction Inc. William Goldsby, psychologist Thomas Gordon and a cohort of ex-offenders. Through a series of difficult history colloquia the cohort examined issues in the black past. Ms. Valentine introduced storytelling skills, techniques and concepts of African American storytelling traditions to provide a cultural context for navigating difficult knowledge.
Also in 2014, Denise Valentine was a featured presenter at Ananse SoundSplash Storytelling Conference and Festival, November 19 -24th, in Jamaica, West Indies REDISCOVER, RETELL, RENEW, hosted by Ntukuma, The Storytelling Foundation of Jamaica. honored Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey in the year of the 100th Anniversary of the founding of his UNIA. Together with an international contingent of storytellers, Denise presented at Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston, Moneague College in Saint Ann Parish, and Montego Bay Community College.
The storyteller was awarded the 2014 Sankofa Research Award by Linda Goss and Friends of the Artist (FOA). The award funded her journey to South Carolina to find and tell her personal family history. Currently, Denise is on the roster of The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Arts in Education Directory for Southeast Pennsylvania; the Pennsylvania Humanities Council’s Commonwealth Speakers Bureau, and the Art Sanctuary (ARTStac) Teaching Artists.
In 2015, Denise has been a featured performer at Pete Seeger's Clearwater Great River Festival on the east bank of the Hudson River, Art Sanctuary's 31st Annual Celebration of Black Writing Festival, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Folklore Project, Historic St. Georges United Methodist Church, The African American Museum in Philadelphia and dozens of other schools and community organizations.
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Denise Valentine - Storyteller, teaching folk artist, writer and humanist.
Denise believes that Stories are like Roots that connect us to the Past... and Wings that carry us into the Future. Storytelling forges heart-to-heart ties between people by encouraging appreciation of one’s own cultural identity as well as understanding and appreciation of the diversity of people, ideas, and cultural traditions of the world.
Denise is also a member of Soka Gakkai -USA. SGI is a religious organization, and a United Nations Non-Governmental Organization that promotes peace through education and culture. She has participated with SGI, since her youth, in various cultural presentations: a chorus of 1000 young women in the World Youth Culture Festival in Hawaii; The Cultural Exhibition of the World’s Ethnic Peoples; the United Nations 50th Anniversary Celebration and Exhibition, and the Books for Africa Project, in which 15,000 books were collected nationwide and presented to two universities in Ghana.
In 1992, she met South African exile, Godfrey Sithole. Inspired by the selfless determination of Nelson Mandela, she attended the National Conference in Support of a Democratic South Africa, on the 80th Anniversary of the ANC. In 1993, she was on the Welcome Mandela Committee, and attended a reception for Mandela when he came to Philadelphia to accept the Liberty Medal. These events inspired her to become an activist, and then a storyteller for social change.
Denise has also worked in the fields of international education, community advocacy and museum education. She is currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts degree completion program in Global Studies at University of Denver, University College. She is a proud mother and grandmother.
UPCOMING PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE