Storytelling is often defined in a very limited manner as entertainment for children or as 'reading a book' to children. This concept of storytelling is also often limited into narrow folk art or ethnic art classifications which ignore the artistry and scope of storytelling. Most cultures view storytelling as an art form of adults first and entertainment for children second.

A move is in place to shift the current thinking to bring storytelling to broader audiences and for it to be recognized as an art form.

The National Storytelling Network has prepared a recommendation that storytelling be listed as a Fine Art, as well as a Folk/Traditional Art. Read their memo at http://www.storynet.org/downloads/NSNtoNEA.pdf.

Where Are You on the Story Road?

A simple rubric which may open dialogue and assist storytellers in deciding where they are in their development and help them map out their own skill building and training.

NOVICE - You enjoy listening to stories told but have not yet told a story in public. Have no formal stories to share.

BEGINNER - A few stories to share, little public telling experience, attended 1-5 workshops or classes, still learning .

APPRENTICE - A handful of stories, some public experience (1-15), have attended 5-20 workshops and classes, still learning.
STORY COLLECTOR - A small treasure chest of stories have been collected, polished through workshops and hearing others tell, and made your own through multiple tellings.

TRAVELER (a journey man/woman/one)- A larger store of stories, shared in 20-50 public concerts, programs, had varied story experiences, able to teach others basic techniques, have developed some specialized telling ability, still learning.

ARTISAN - Greater wealth of stories to share, have done many concerts, programs, workshops 60-100); able to teach skillfully basic to intermediate level classes; have developed a highly personal style and ability; have explored other arts and experimented with merging them with storytelling or explored ways to expand skills and delivery in new and innovative ways.

MASTER - A wealth of stories, publications, recordings, experience in many venues, frequently cited/quoted, able to teach others more advanced techniques, skillfully presents storytelling as an art form, highly developed general and specialized ability/style, adds to the philosophical and artistic understanding of storytelling as an art form through mentoring, writing, teaching; still learning...

--Marilyn A. Hudson