Bloomfield Public Library draws $10,000 grant for storytelling festival

June 25 celebration will feature storytellers, musicians, comics and more

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Even though he lived and worked in Ruidoso before relocating to San Juan County in 2020, Corey Bard says he was a regular at the Four Corners Storytelling Festival that was presented each year by the Farmington Public Library until it was discontinued in 2019.

Bard, now the director of the Bloomfield Public Library and the Bloomfield Cultural Center, said he has missed that event and wondered if something like it couldn't be organized elsewhere in San Juan County.

"It's not that I wanted to steal anything from that event, I just thought I could bring something back to the area in the form of storytelling and celebrating Native American and Latino culture," he said.

Bard appears to have gotten his wish after being informed recently that the library and culture center have been awarded a $10,000 grant to stage a storytelling festival in Bloomfield this summer. Bard, who wrote the grant application, said the funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and is administered through the American Library Association.

The Bloomfield Public Library and the Bloomfield Cultural Center will present the Bloomfield Day of Stories celebration on June 25.

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"I've had success with things I've done in the past with things they've sponsored," Bard said. "I thought this was a great way to bring people out in public and into the library. This is what I had hoped for, and I think this could really be a good event in the summertime when kids are out of school."

The Bloomfield Day of Stories celebration will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 25 at the Bloomfield Cultural Center and Library, 333 S. 1st St. It includes a full day of Latino, Native and New Mexico storytellers, singers, musicians, comics and fitness instructors.

Bard said Storytellers of New Mexico, a Cedar Crest-based nonprofit organization that promotes, supports and encourages storytelling across the state, is partnering with him to make sure the festival is a success. Sarah Malone from the organization will begin the day's activities by telling stories in English and Spanish at 11 a.m.

Bard said he attended a workshop the Storytellers of New Mexico conducted last fall and came away from the event with a fresh appreciation for how engaging the art of storytelling can be. While speaking to several performers after the event, it become clear to him that while there are plenty of talented storytellers in New Mexico, there aren't a lot of chances for those folks to show what they can do, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I discovered the role I can play was to produce an event and get funding for an event," he said. "They encouraged me to do it. There are lots of storytellers in New Mexico, but finding events to perform at has been challenging."

Admission to the event is free. Additional sessions or performances will be led by Ashley Prelo, Eldrena Douma, Lyla June, Jay McKittrick, the Organo Ambiente Duo and Elizabeth Ellis.

Call Bard at 505-632-8215 for more information.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or Support local journalism with a digital subscription.