OVERVIEW
The Sit&Tell Project is a multi- participatory community project that uses the metaphor of a chair as an invitation for friendship and communication.

On World Storytelling Day, March 20, 2016. AIGA Toledo invited 100 storytellers who had benefitted from strong women in their lives to share their stories. The collection of stories was then interpreted by Toledo area graphic designers, painters, illustrators, and photographers who were carefully selected by a panel of experienced jurors. Their artwork was printed on graphic material and applied to 100 chairs provided by MTS Seating. 

Groups of the artful chairs, along with a corresponding link to their story, were featured in rolling exhibitions around Toledo Neighborhoods between June and September 2016, with a closing exhibition featuring all 100 chairs at the Toledo Museum of Art in late September.
PROCESS
To maintain the artistic integrity of the project, MTS Seating, AIGA Toledo and The Art Commission project, all interested participants submitted a digital portfolio of at least 3 examples of their work to be juried as a participant for the project.
The Sit & Tell project esteemed jurors
Juror Antoinette Carroll

Juror Andrew Shea

Juror Keetra Dean Dixon

Once the jurying was complete, selected artists received their stories and had roughly 7 weeks to complete their final artwork. Artists of a variety of mediums participated, and the work was transitioned to 2-D for final production.

For my portfolio submissions, I created two unique pieces on the theme of strong women and included a third previously created piece that I felt was a good reflection of my personal aesthetic.
Since I discovered the project late in the game, I submitted by portfolio on the final day of acceptance and waited impatiently to hear back from AIGA. After a few weeks, I received notification that I had been selected as a participant for the project, and that my porftolio was unanimously selected by all three jurors as a top portfolio, which earned me the prestige of designing two chairs for the exhibition.
Sit & Tell Chair #68: The story of a mother, told by Kathy Greene

Joanne Jorgensen Greene Deatrick epitomizes what it means to be a strong woman of Toledo. From the inspirational beginning of her story, which chronicles her driving cross country from California to Toledo at age 79, to the many chapters of her life that previously influenced the city of Toledo and the surrounding area.

The main illustration features the Rebel 16 sailboat developed and sold by her husband’s boating company with the mantra that Kathy’s story reverberated, “Coming back home to a life, well lived.” Also included are headlines from Joanne’s rich life and advertisements created by the WinYacht advertising agency she founded to advertise the products of Raymond Greene and Company.  The small selection of work stands as a monument to her positive impact on the boating industry of Northwest Ohio.
Sit & Tell chair #91: The story of my sister who is a nurse, told by Yuku Chen

Yuku's narrative painted the nursing profession (and her sister in particular) as heroic, which I have echoed in the stance and lighting of the foreground figure. The strong, tireless, and compassionate caregiver, standing at ready to face the next challenge. The diverse roles to which a nurse (especially an ER nurse) must attend are represented by the background tableau.

There was also an overarching theme of time throughout Yuku's narrative. From the time invested to earn one's nursing degree (seven years of study plus a minimum two-year internship), to the time spent in continued education to stay at the top of one's field, to the time factor in providing excellent patient care. I connected these elements by merging the clock, EKG line and colored bars (pink for the years of study and orange for the internship). The Mandarin pictogram for nurse (hushi) was also included to further link the art to Yuku's sister.
CONCLUSION
As the rolling exhibitions came to an end, all 100 chairs were displayed at the Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art during a reception, where the public could come and view the exhibition and meet the artists and storytellers behind the project.
Photo credit: AIGA Co-President, Jenn Stucker (also on screen)
Photo credits: @sitandtell and @aigatoledo on Instagram
Thank you to the Sit & Tell project sponsors.