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AFP 2014: Change Through Stories

September 8-10


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” 

― Margaret Mead

We are asked to be flexible, adapt, and move forward in times of change, but that isn't always easy. Stories can guide us. Stories fuel or extinguish change: either they are expressed or they are suppressed. AFP 2014: Change Through Stories is a laboratory and a meeting place for all disciplines to tell stories that inspire change, engage people in the lessons of those stories, and provide tools and vocabulary that encourage people to change their world.

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Frederick Douglass: Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory

André De Shields







A story about brutality and deliverance—implausible yet historically accurate—that will captivate you with a slave ballet, hand-to-hand combat and impassioned singing. These are but a few of the elements that make up the journey from human bondage to freedom experienced by the young Douglass as performed by celebrated actor André De Shields in his self-crafted solo performance depicting the Great Black Emancipator: FREDERICK DOUGLASS: My Eyes Have Seen The Glory. Gripping shackles, De Shields infuses his performance with dance, song and rousing spoken word as he transforms from embittered and illiterate slave to America’s incomparable orator and abolitionist right before the eyes of his audience.  As performed by De Shields, Douglass’ ultimate escape from chains to freedom is full of hope and achievement as it is darkness and anger.



Ibrahim Miari







In Between is a semi-autobiographical one-man show that portrays the complexities and contradictions inherent in Palestinian-Israeli identity. On the precipice between two cultures stands Ibrahim Miari. His play recalls his childhood in Acre, memories of his Jewish and Palestinian grandmothers, of war, and of the struggle to shape and understand his own multi-faceted identity


Featured Speakers

KARIMA AMIN is a storyteller, educator, and author from Buffalo, NY who shares tales in her repertoire throughout the US and Canada and beyond with story lovers of all ages. With 24 years in public school education to her credit, and more than three decades of storytelling, she provides performances, workshops, keynotes and author visits to promote literacy, increase cultural awareness, enliven staff development, and improve human relations. She is known for creating programs that are tailor-made to suit the needs of her audiences. Her voice is very familiar in a community where she shared fables on local radio (WBLK-FM) for a decade.


Storytelling for Joy and Justice

9/8, 9:30am, Donald Savage Theatre






André De Shields’ nurturing relationship with Buffalo State College began 1996 with the debut season of the Oasis Theatre Company, founded by then Theatre Department Chair and Artistic Director Drew Kahn. Mr. De Shields performed in revolving repertory as Willy Loman and Kalidasa in Death of a Salesman and King Dusyanta respectively. The association has persisted, culminating in two of several memorable events: in 2004, a Doctor of Fine Arts Degree honoris causa, followed in 2008 by a celebrated production of Hair, The American Love-Rock Musical, directed by De Shields in the Warren Enters Theatre. Mr. De Shields experiences palpable excitement regarding the collaboration between Frederick Douglass and Anne Frank. Namaste! 


The Wisdom of the Ancient Art of Storytelling

9/9, 9:25am, Donald Savage Theatre






Teresa and Carl Wilkens travel the world telling stories, believing that stories can heal and unite. They were building schools in Rwanda when the genocide against the Tutsi exploded in 1994. Together they decided Carl would stay while Teresa and their young children evacuated. Carl was the only American among ten Europeans to remain.

Their stories begin with the relationships Carl formed with killers in efforts to save children during those dark times. They end with Rwanda's inspiring recovery and healing process.

The Wilkens formed an educational nonprofit, World Outside My Shoes. Carl has written a book titled “I'm Not Leaving”. 



rEi: Exploring Global Turf

9/10, 9:00-10:30am, Donald Savage Theatre


"I Am Poor, I Am Hungry"

by James A. Allen

The existential and humanistic issues of poverty and hunger are reflected in the series, “I Am Poor’ I Am Hungry” by James A. Allen. His shaped, cut‐out forms are mounted as ensembles; the human figure is allowed to communicate a condition of life through the power of gesture and expression and the formal qualities of the surface. The white of the gallery walls serves as a timeless, generalized place in which the narrative of the piece unfolds. Allen uses the artist’s tools of form, color, and texture to create striking human presences whose surfaces convey a sense of transience, mutability, and vulnerability. Yet, there is a certain edginess that suggests the impossibility of fully understanding their situation, their story, although the viewer is, at the same time, fully immersed in their lives.
Had Anne Frank lived, she certainly would be a champion of the voiceless, especially the social injustice implied powerfully by the stories that Allen's figures tell so well. 


Czurles‐Nelson Gallery from September 8‐12.
Artist’s Talk on September 9th from 12:15‐1:30.
Opening reception from 5‐7 on September 9th in Upton Foyer. 

"Spirit of Life Tree" by Valeria Cray

On the corner of High and Ellicott Streets, near the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, rises an eight foot Corten steel "tree" from its concrete pedestal. Commissioned by the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation, it is the first of many permanent public art pieces designed to tell the story of Buffalo. The artist, Valeria Cray-‐‑Dihaan, says, "The tree is called the Spirit of Life, and I think it's also about healing, because of where it is. People come here to be healed, and I hope this sculpture can give them a sense of that while they are here." Hearing Valeria's story, it's clear that a great deal of positive energy went into its creation, as this monumental sculpture is a departure in scale for her and requiring new research, learning, and sacrifice. The relationship of the material itself with Buffalo's story as an old steel town is clear as is the relationship to the chestnut tree that stood outside Anne Frankʼ’s hiding place, both serving as source of hope. Anne wrote on February 23, 1944, “From my favorite spot on the floor I look up at the blue sky and the bare chestnut tree, on whose branches little raindrops shine, appearing like silver...” 

September 8‑12, 9:00 to 6:00.
Opening reception from 5‑7 on September 9 in Upton foyer.
Artist's Talk on September 11th from 12:15‑1:30.

The Anne Frank Project

Buffalo State •  1300 Elmwood Ave  •  Savage Theater Building 212
Buffalo, NY 14222  •  Phone: (716) 878-5559 •  Fax: (716) 878-4409

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