Adored by parents and children throughout the New River Valley for her interactive storytelling sessions at libraries and other local venues, Blacksburg artist Joelle Shenk shares her passion for the performing arts during a free lunchtime talk on Friday, Aug. 20, at noon.

Moderated by Jon Catherwood-Ginn, Moss Arts Center associate director of programming, this 45-minute Zoom discussion with Shenk is the latest installment of the center’s online series, “In the Moment: Artists and Their Work.”

This talk is free, but registration is required. Find registration information on the Moss Arts Center website.

Shenk will discuss the role of improvisation in education, specifically how theatre skills can prepare students for much more than the stage, helping strengthen students’ sense of self, esteem, actualization, and ability to collaborate with others.

Shenk has spent the last 19 years directing, writing, producing, and performing across the United States and overseas. She currently owns and operates JoELoe Productions LLC, in Blacksburg, where she teaches community and school-based theatre programs for all ages.

In addition to her interactive story times, which she presents at several area venues including Blacksburg’s Lyric Theatre, she leads summer reading programs at libraries across Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. When in-person events were restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Shenk shared her stories, dances, and other creative activities during regular Zoom sessions. 

Shenk leads theatre workshops, classes, and camps in the New River Valley, and has presented similar activities while travelling abroad in places like England, Scotland, Uganda, Ecuador, Haiti, and China.

In the Moment: Artists and Their Work” provides an opportunity to meet notable creators of Southwest Virginia — from visual artists to theatre-makers to choreographers to musicians — and learn more about their creative processes in this unusual time. The series of 45-minute chats gives an exclusive look inside the homes and studios of the artists, providing a chance to experience their work, ask questions, and discuss how creative luminaries are approaching art in this moment.

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