In Savannah, Georgia, the fabled city that has inspired so many novels and plays, residents are filled with stories to add to an already rich repository. After speaking to any one of the city’s colorful locals, it’s easy to infer that this small metropolis has something to say. Members of the Savannah’s West Broad Street YMCA recently started a project called I Am the Beloved Community, inviting children and seniors to work together, share, and visually document the stories of the neighborhood.
The project was started by Loop It Up Savannah, an art program formed in conjunction with the YMCA. ”Children love making things with their hands, and they love making things about the neighborhood where they come from,” says Molly Lieberman, who runs Loop It Up. The children began by writing and drawing stories about the street they live on, their favorite place to eat or a happy memory. After eight months sharing these stories, the older generations at the YMCA got inspired to make quilts based on the kids’ work.
“This is an opportunity for us to get together again as family — seniors, children, young adults and teenagers — and know each other again,” says one of the YMCA program leaders. In fact, the project was so inspiring, Loop It Up began a Kickstarter campaign to raise funding for a book documenting the journey. Molly hopes that the book will be a repository for the stories shared throughout the process: “Making a book is the best way for us to share our stories, to inspire other communities to take on this same project, and to celebrate our unique and most beloved community.”
Chappell Ellison is a designer, writer and design writer. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York where she serves as a contributor for The Etsy Blog and design columnist for GOOD.