Portraits

Capturing Regional Heritage
Robert Wolf's 25-year cross-country documentary project has resulted in a series of regional self-portraits, beginning with 1997's Heartland Portrait, a compilation of stories from Midwest farms and villages.

Wolf's unique method of story writing and literacy development enables anyone who can tell a story to write it. Communities who participate in this process capture their heritage in the written word, in book form, for posterity. By doing this they are describing who they are, where they have come from, where they might go. Their history and heritage is no longer defined by outside experts.

From the Past to the Future
It is imperative that as this country undergoes unprecedented change that communities and regions reassess all aspects of their heritage. Storytelling is the most powerful way of portraying a community's assets--past and present--and of describing its needs. Published stories reach out to the entire community and can be a first step in community redesign.

The Marshfield Project
Robert Wolf ran an innovative project in Marshfield, Wisconsin where a three-day workshop kicked off Marshfield's Community Story Project. The project's goal is to define Marshfield's assets and needs through local stories. Wolf edited the stories from his workshop, which were collected into a book, Seeking Community. Wolf also conducted a one-day training session for those workshop participants who are conducting ongoiig workshops for the Community Story Project. The second book in the project series, written by high school students in workshops conducted by the trainees, has been published.

"This project could've gone awry in so many ways (as experiments often do). Your flexibility and steady hand kept us on track. It was wonderful, also, to watch a master at work at his craft. I'm in awe, actually, so much impressed with the experience and skill it takes to do a good job at running a workshop of this kind. You've made many friends here, so we hope that you'll consider us a home-away-from-home whenever you're in the neighborhood and in need of a bed or at least a watering hole."

- Georgette Frazier, Community Stories Project, Marshfield, Wisconsin