Read what supporters are saying about The Center for Story:
I enthusiastically support Orem’s Center for Story as a place for our community to experience rich cultural events that feed the mind and soul. Spaces like this provide countless opportunities for us to encounter art that challenges us to remember, at the most basic levels, who we are and who we want to become.
Matthew Holland, President, Utah Valley University
I am writing to express to you my commitment to the proposed Center for Story to be built in Orem. As a former Orem City Arts Council Chairperson, I am aware of the desires of many of the citizens of our community - particularly the cry for arts facilities and a city identity. I believe now is the time for the City of Orem to fully put their resources and their support behind the Center for Story. The crowded Orem Library already plays host to many types of community cultural events, yet we need a venue suiting such events, not just a "make-do" facility.
Ronda Walker-Weaver, founding chair Orem Arts Council
When I attended BYU I was lucky enough to live near the Orem library and I studied there frequently. From its vast media library to its knowledgeable children's & nonfiction librarians, all pieces of it combine into a resource as beautiful and as intricate as their stained glass windows. I've chosen story as my life's work and I am grateful the Orem library has been an instrumental part of that. I love the Orem Library. I think an auditorium is the perfect thing for it!
Heather Dixon, bestselling Young Adult Author
Why stories are not just entertainment, but essential to our survival:
There are many ways to share knowledge, facts, information. But there is only one really truly effective way of giving that knowledge meaning. And that is through story. Story is about people, about how they deal with life in all its facets. It is by seeing others responding to life and putting ourselves in their place that we can comprehend the meaning of what they, and we, have gone through. Story is how we learn compassion. So many times I have read reports of starvation, of tragedy, and the response to those reports is academic, understanding that the tragedy exists, but not what it means. It is not until reporters bring back images of the people who are suffering, and we see the stories in the victim’s eyes, and hear the stories from their mouths, that we finally get it, that we finally say, “Oh no! People are starving!” And we spring into action. Why was the world engrossed in the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping? Because the media told her story. Why do we always perk up at church when the speaker says, “I remember the time when…” or “I once met a man who…” or any other indicator that they are about to tell a story? It is because stories engage us. Information flows into our minds, but story touches our minds, our hearts, our souls, our everything. We know that through story we find meaning, and we want meaning.
Have you ever read a nonfiction book on an historical event, and then read historical fiction on the same event? The nonfiction is full of facts. Presumably nothing made up. The fiction has a great deal that is made up. And yet, so often we find that the historical fiction is what helps us to truly understand the event, to comprehend its meaning. And over the past few decades nonfiction writers have taken notice. And thus we get creative nonfiction, which is basically nonfiction told with the techniques of story. National Public Radio reports are frequently in the form of story. When presidents campaign for office, they find that we respond less to astute and precise analysis of issues and more to story. And so they tell us stories. And that is why the promotion of story, written, acted, spoken, painted, of all kinds, is so important. And that is why the library and The Center for Story are so important.
Yes the library is important as a resource for people to be exposed to story in many forms. And yes, the Center for Story will be an important venue for sharing and promoting storytelling. But the Center for Story might have an even more important, if less glamorous, role. Everyone I have ever met is amazing in some way. Yet many of them believe that their life, their story is not interesting. That it is not valuable to anyone else. They need to know that every life, every story is valuable. They need to be shown how their story matters, and how they can get their story down. They have learned things in their lives, experienced things that their descendents, that we as a society need to know. The more of the stories we have, the more we understand the meaning of our lives, our history, our families, our religion, everything. The Center for Story, more than anything, will help people see the attraction, and the importance of story, and will help them to tell their own stories.
The name of the classic Biblical movie is not, “the greatest Scripture ever written,” or “the greatest commandment ever given,” but rather, “The Greatest Story Ever Told.” The library has done an excellent job, and will continue to do an excellent job in helping people of our valley gain meaning through the stories of others. The Center for Story will help them share meaning through stories of their own.
Rick Walton, award-winning author
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