Telling and Teaching

sheila’s way of life! 

Within History’s Alive! Sheila provides

  • storytelling programs,
  • historic character presentations,
  • Christian monologues,
  • dramatic/creative writing workshops,
  • professional development and
  • inspirational/motivational speeches

at schools, churches, libraries, professional organizations and museums, nationally and internationally and has since 2003.  Sheila has been distinguished and recognized as an artist with several fellowships and residencies including

  • Hewnoaks Artist Colony summer residency (2019)
  • Vernon (George Washington estate) Research Fellow (2020)
  • Ernest and Red Heller Artistic Fellowship at McDowell (2021) 

Sheila is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Artists Standing Strong Together (ASST, pronounced assist), a non-profit founded during the Covid19 Pandemic.  This growing community aims to support the arts and artists through digital performance and exhibition opportunities, workshops and an emergency support fund.  The National Storytelling Network awarded Sheila and her Co-Founder Donna Washington the 2021 Distinguished National Service Award for their efforts with ASST.  

In 2019 Sheila was honored to be the initial presenter/storyteller for “Freedom Stories”, the International Storytelling Center’s National Endowment of Humanities project. She is a sought-after historical consultant for museums/exhibit designers helping to develop engaging stories from historical documents, artifacts, buildings and the historical use of land and water.  Sheila has presented/told/performed at educational conferences and teachers’ institutes, including Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute, Valley Forge Teacher Institute, Mt. Vernon Teacher Institute, Westchester Regional Social Studies Conference and other educational conferences in New York, Louisiana, Virginia, South Carolina, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Mississippi, the National Council of Social Studies.  In addition, she has appeared for many Teaching American History Grant programs around the country. 

As an Historical Consultant, Sheila worked with Montpelier in the creation of their short film, “The Mere Distinction of Colour”, a part of their African American exhibit.  In addition, she created scripts for Montpelier’s recreated buildings as portrayed by the enslaved persons on this site.  She worked in creating scripts for the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad project, collaborating with Abigail Schumann in creating a theatrical reading for the premier of historian Edward Ayers book, The Thin Light of Freedom. In 2021 Sheila was commissioned to craft and perform the story of the Scarboro 85 detailing the integration of the Oak Ridge Schools in 1955.  Sheila crafted a moving and engaging performance which was premiered as the featured story of the 2022 Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival in Oak Ridge, TN. Called by her faith, Sheila also wrote and produced the full-length play, “And the Women Were There”, which focuses on 7 women who followed Jesus, and received local acclaim for this work. 

 

Sheila has a long history of being a featured Storyteller at Storytelling Festivals nationally and internationally including: 

  • National Storytelling Festival (Jonesborough, TN)
  • Timpanogos Storytelling Festival (Lehi, UT)
  • Toronto International Storytelling Festival (Toronto, ON)
  • Paris Storytelling Festival (Paris, KY)
  • Connecticut Storytelling Festival (New London, CT)
  • Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival (Young Harris, GA)
  • Hearts Afire Storytelling Weekend (Richmond, VA)
  • Stories: From Sea to Shore Storytelling Weekend (Norfolk, VA)
  • Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival (Oak Ridge, TN)
  • Culpeper Tells (Culpeper, VA)
  • Storytelling Festival of the Southeast (Laurinburg, NC)
  • Moonshell Storytelling Festival (Omaha, NE)
  • Stone Soup Storytelling Festival (Woodruff, SC)
  • Story Celebration Weekend (Kansas City, KS)
  • Florida Storytelling Festival (Mount Dora, FL)
  • The Clearwater Festival (Croton-on-Hudson, NY)
  • Lititz Storytelling Festival (Lititz, PA)
  • Colonial Williamsburg Storytelling Festival (Williamsburg, VA)

 

Previously, Sheila worked at Colonial Williamsburg Foundation embracing many roles including Coordinator with the Teacher Institute, Public Relations, Event Manager, and Storyteller/Theatrical Interpreter.  She has also been a Social Worker, Hampton City Schools Substitute Teacher and a Mary Kay, Inc. Independent Senior Beauty Consultant.  She is a graduate of UNC-Charlotte with a B.A. in African American & African History. 

Sheila has 2 books:  a picture book, “Weeping Willow, or, Why the Leaves Change their Colors”, and an historical fiction using biblical persons, “David’s Mighty Man:  Benaiah”.  She also has two storytelling CD’s, “Mini, Many, Minnie Tales” and “Hands Wide Open”.  Books and CD’s can be purchased by contacting Sheila at sheilaarnold39@aol.com or through her website, www.mssheila.org.  

Sheila lives in Hampton, VA close to her son, Kristopher; her grandsons, Brooklyn and KJ;  and her father and stepmother, Wallace & Vera Arnold.  She also communicates often with her Atlanta-based sister, Stephanie.

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