BEMUS POINT - After a summer spent collecting stories, the Bemus Point Heart and Soul Project is ready for its initial presentation.
The project, which began early in the summer, is described by Kathleen McCarthy-Wooler, Bemus Point Library manager, as "a community-building project that weaves stories and multimedia materials to present an interpretive picture of the rich history, culture and identity of the Bemus Point community."
"The event is the first public presentation of the Bemus Point Heart and Soul Storytelling Project," said McCarthy-Wooler. "Right now, on the website for the project (www.bemuspointheartandsoul.org) we have about 14 stories that people have recorded, and we've tried to get images to represent the stories. What we're hoping to do with the event is to get even more people to tell their stories. We're going to have story cards where those new to the project can write down their stories (about their relationship with Bemus Point). So while the event is an opportunity to show off all our hard work from over the summer, it is also an opportunity to encourage more people to tell their stories and add depth and breadth to the project."
At the event, a set of panels about the event made by Jennifer Champ will be displayed for the first time. The panels will feature different quotations, photographs and stories from the project so far. Though they will be kept at the library for a time, McCarthy-Wooler has said she hopes to employ the panels as part of a rotating exhibit around Bemus Point in the future.
"At this point, I think our goal is to really display and talk about the first phase of the project," said McCarthy-Wooler. "I think, down the line, if we get more funding, we could make more panels or make the project more of an exhibit. However, what doesn't cost us any money at all is the website, we want to continually build upon that. We want more stories, photographs and testimonials, and we want the website to grow indefinitely. The more eyes we can get on (the website), the better chance we have to continue to expand it."
While McCarthy-Wooler acknowledges that many of the summer residents of Bemus Point have left for the season, she hopes to get as many of the contributing members to the project as possible to show up.
The event is free and open to the public. It begins at 7 p.m. today and will be held inside the Bemus Point Library. Light refreshments will be served. Any questions about the event can be answered by calling 386-2274.
"It would be terrific if we could fill up the library, but we're prepared for whatever," said McCarthy-Wooler. "I really hope to just emphasize the continual building of the project and inform the public about it."
The Bemus Point Heart and Soul Project has been made possible with support from: the United Arts Appeal, the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, the Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation and the Bemus Point Library.