NGS Storytellers Summit

National Geographic Storytellers Summit

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Stephen Alvarez at the NGS Storytellers Summit in LA.

I just returned from a wonderful week in Los Angeles at the National Geographic Storytellers Summit. The Summit is a gathering of National Geographic grantees who come together annually for a few days of inspiration and presentations.

I had the privilege of presenting the Mural of America project with my friend, Chickasaw artist Dustin Mater.

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Dustin Mater at the National Geographic Storytellers Summit. 

Dustin is the Mural of America’s art director. His experience as a Native American artist shapes how we approach storytelling. It was a pleasure to be on stage with him! 

The Mural of America reminds us all that the landscape can be sacred and that in the Americas sacred landscapes are indigenous. 

Our project seeks to reframe American History to include the first 20,000 plus years of human habitation of the American continents. We do this by looking at artwork -rock art, cave art, and geoglyphs that are embedded on the landscape. Those images tell a story of the complex human history and cultures that thrived in the Americas long before European contact. They link the past to the present and the present to the future.

We are building Virtual Reality models for 10 sites across North America and have a storytelling process that places Native American descendants at the root level of storytelling. We also assemble education activities around the sites as a way of bringing grades k-8 into the conversations started by Native Americans with their artwork on the landscape.

To find out more about the Mural of America watch the trailer below or head to the Ancient Art Archive. It’s a nonprofit I founded to preserve and share humanity’s oldest stories.

If you want to support our work, sales of the Chauvet limited edition prints benefit the Ancient Art Archive.

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-Stephen Alvarez

February 2024