Storytelling since 1977 (officially, it’s “Storyspinning,” as her business name), Loralee Cooley was active all through the 1980s with launching Southern Order of Storytellers, a.k.a. S.O.S., and serving as director for the original winter festival, Olde Christmas Storytelling Festival, which began in 1983. Those festivals were held at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center until the early 1990s, after she and her husband had already “flown the coop” from Georgia, and were in Anderson, South Carolina.
She’s been listed on both the South Carolina and Texas Touring Artist rosters for both state arts councils, and did an extensive residency with Texas Tech University’s International Cultural Center, presenting “Stories (and Songs and Language Games) Around the World,” covering all inhabited continents by using a representative country from each. She presented this program to schools in around 30 different school districts in the Panhandle and South Plains of Texas from 2000 until 2003.
Her most recent story-related project has been to research and write a children’s biography of Barack Obama’s childhood through his 10th year (example of artwork from the book below). The manuscript has been submitted for consideration with NAPPA awards, pending publication.
Above: Example of artwork by Jillian Gilliland of Kingston, Ontario for Loralee’s book Island Child.