Smithsonian Experts Present ‘Speakology’

Scholars will bring the spoken word to life for 5,500 local students and 700 teachers during Smithsonian Week, March 10-16. This year’s theme is "Speakology... the art of words, tales, songs and secrets." With the help of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and the Arts Council for Long Beach, students will interact with three top Smithsonian scholars: • Jim Garry began his career as a naturalist but soon became interested in the people of the West, drawing natural history of the region into his work. He has been a cowboy, horse wrangler, media consultant, wilderness guide, teacher, political consultant, river runner, artist in residence, biologist, folklore collector and more. He now works as a freelance lecturer, writer and storyteller, teaching others about our Western and wildland heritage. • Rickey Payton, Sr. is a composer, arranger, producer, performer and teacher. His music scores include the Emmy Award-winning documentary "The New Cotton Club Revue" and NBC-TV’s "The Sunshine Store." He is the CEO of HIP-HOP (Hope, Integrity, Power – Helping Our People), a Washington D.C.-based choir that performs musical styles that evolved from the contributions of African-Americans, particularly spirituals, gospel, jazz, as well as folk, contemporary and classical music. • Dovie Thomason first heard the voices of the Animal People, Tricksters, and Heroes in the stories of her Lakota and Kiowa Apache relatives. With understanding and sly humor, she has spent a lifetime joining those voices to share wise, boisterous teaching tales with audiences globally. She was one of Connecticut’s original Master Teaching Artists, listed by state arts councils nationally, and recognized as a Master Traditional Artist by the National Endowment for the Arts. She is Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers Traditional Storyteller of the Year 2002, and a respected presenter at major festivals and conferences. LBUSD schools participating this year are Addams, Alvarado, Bryant, Buffum, Burroughs, Carver, Cleveland, Cubberley, Edison, Fremont, Garfield, Hamilton, Hill, King, Lafayette, Lakewood, Longfellow, Los Cerritos, Millikan, Monroe, Prisk, Renaissance, Roosevelt, Signal Hill and Tincher.