The Inside Out Gallery isn't a spot that I frequent, but after visiting for Here:Say I couldn't tell you why I've not been there. They have awesome artwork, a full bar (you can bring in food), and essentially 80% of the people listening in for Here:Say we're under the age of forty. How has this place snuck under my radar for so long? The vibe is modern and unique, full of bright colors with a hip edginess. Plus, it touts that bold industrial vibe that I love so much! I'll definitely be checking the InsideOut Facebook for more great events in the future.
Here:Say is a local oral-storytelling group. According to their Facebook page, Here:Say is "a monthly storytelling event at InsideOut Gallery where we can reconnect through the stories that tell us life’s many truths. What would happen if we started telling our stories again?"
The topic for this week was stories from the water cooler...or, essentially, workplace tales. Like I said, I wasn't sure what to expect. I've not spent much time at these kinds of "artsy" events, but I love hearing my friends tell stories and listening to different tales on the radio essentially every time I'm in my car. I figured, what did I have to lose?
As it turns out, I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. The stories shared at Here:Say were sad, happy, heartfelt, tragic, touching, laugh-out-loud hilarious...and above all, fantastic. Even with what seems like a narrow subject matter, no two stories were remotely similar. It was amazing to see how each artist interpreted the subject and told their stories with such detail and honesty. I loved every story I heard for different reasons, even the one that stayed with me the rest of the night about a police officer who witnessed the death of a 6-year-old he tried to save from a car accident. Each one resonated with a part of me, and I felt connected both to the storytellers and the other people in the room sharing the experience with me.
My first experience with Here:Say will certainly not be my last. My favorite thing about Here:Say was how everyone turned away from their phones and completely focused on other human beings for two hours, listening to someone's story and connecting with the individuals around them instead of their technological devices. People were engaged, and we all tuned in to our fellow humans. We learned something about someone who was initially a total stranger but exited the stage as someone we felt we knew and understood. I feel that I rarely experience that so organically these day, and I was so honored to be a part of something so intimate. Each time someone approached the stage, I was excited to hear what they were going to share with the room and what part of their life we were going to have the privilege to learn about. How cool is that?
I'm already looking forward to hearing what stories will be told next month, and for visiting InsideOut again. If you're in the TC area complaining about there being nothing fun to do in the winter...come check it out! The next Here:Say is Monday, February 17 from 7-9 p.m. Hope to see you there!