In September 2013, Jeri Howitt founded Stories on Stage Davis with the support of a small grant and a group of volunteers. We started out in the cozy, upstairs Learning Center at the Pence Gallery and quickly outgrew the space. To accommodate our loyal audience, we moved downstairs to the main gallery, where, every month, we continue to present fiction introduced by authors and read by actors, surrounded by beautiful, sometimes surprising, and always thought-provoking art.
From the beginning, we have been committed to paying our authors and actors for the work they share with us. This August, in need of additional funds to sustain the series and help cover the costs of our 2016-17 season, we launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. We are thrilled to announce that, on October 5, hours before our deadline and with the help of 70 backers, we met our fundraising goal. (If you selected a perk with your donation, know that we’re busy fulfilling them this week and next!)
More than ever, we are proud to call Pence Gallery—and Davis—home, and we offer our sincere thanks to you for supporting our fundraising campaign by donating, telling your friends, and sharing our links; for joining us month after month at the Pence to celebrate the literary, theater, and visual art that makes our region special, and to our authors, for trusting us with their words, and our actors, for bringing words to life.
At our October 8 event, we were moved by author Carmiel Banasky’s remarks on the power of fiction: “Especially in the immediate political climate, fiction is a tool for empathy,” she said. “It is not an escape from reality. It is an invitation to think broader, deeper, and beyond our own skin. It is an invitation to figure out how we are connected.” In the months ahead, we hope every event—every story—will invite you to reflect on the many connections we share as a community, here in Davis and beyond, and inspire conversations that will continue outside the gallery doors.
And yes—Naomi Williams is getting that tattoo!
Elise Winn Pollard and Naomi Williams, co-directors, and the entire Stories on Stage Davis board