Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Portage Library to host Artistic Director for The Story Line Project

This Story Line portrait of Lempi Johanna Naasko Heinonen, born in 1906 in Hancock, tells the story of a young girl who helped her family after her father was killed in the Quincy Mine. It was exhibited at Heikinpäivä, Hancock's mid-winter festival, in January 2011. Click on photo for larger version. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- Mary Wright, artistic director for The Story Line Project, will give a sparkling informational presentation about the project from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, May 13, at the Portage Lake District Library.

Many Upper Peninsula schools are participating in this project -- from Ontonagon and the Keweenaw to Marquette to Iron Mountain. This Library presentation is being offered at a time when it might be convenient for home-schooled children and their parents to attend and learn about the project.*

The Story Line Project is a powerful public art presentation that pays tribute to ancestors who were courageous while facing adversity. Its theme is derived from the opera Rockland, by Finnish composer Jukka Linkola, a Pine Mountain Music Festival production, which will premiere at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts in July. This major cultural event is based on a true story of an incident that occurred during a strike in 1906 in the copper mines in Rockland near Ontonagon.

"Each one of us comes from a string of ancestors who have shown courage in the face of adversity," Wright explained, "and everyone is invited to honor an ancestor by writing their story and using a photograph if one is available."

Courage during adversity is a universal theme, and the more diversity that is represented in this project, the better. Participants do not need to be Finnish or from the Upper Peninsula. Everyone is invited to join the 7,000 individuals, groups, and families who are participating in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to insure that their ancestors’ stories do not evaporate.

The Story Line Project will be displayed in communities throughout the western Upper Peninsula, then turned over to the archives of the Keweenaw National Historical Park for preservation. Suzanne Jurva, a well-known documentary filmmaker, will also document Story Line for showing to film festivals and public television stations after the opera premieres. The Story Line Project is generously funded by the Michigan Humanities Council and also by the Finlandia Foundation. More information can be found at

Mary Wright has been inspiring and directing large community art projects for years. In the Keweenaw, her projects include the hand painted blue and white chairs; the large, hand-sewn mittens; and the doors project, all of which were displayed along the length of Quincy Street in Hancock.

Library programs are free and everyone is welcome. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit www.pldl,.org.

*See map indicating schools that are participating or committed to the project.

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