Brightside Creative Collective owner and Buckhannon-based photographer Leah Stankus recently raised the curtain on Brightside's first-ever gallery, entitled 'The Stories of Our Community.' / Photo by Monica Zalaznik

Brightside unveils ‘Stories of Our Community’ as first of more galleries to come

BUCKHANNON – Brightside Creative Collective recently debuted its first gallery highlighting stories penned by people from all walks of life.

Brightside, a creatively minded community center located on Main Street, featured its first gallery, “The Stories of Our Community,” on May 17 from 5-7 p.m.

Owner of Brightside and Buckhannon-based photographer Leah Stankus said the stories on display were written anonymously and could be about anything.

“It’s anonymous stories from community members, and they range from people who are in their 90s to elementary school-aged kids – they are all anonymous,” Stankus said. “They’re all displayed so people can read these stories, get a little peek into someone’s life, something they’ve experienced or their dreams for themselves in the next five years.”

“They’re just different stories, and they’re all anonymous, so there’s no judgment behind it; you just get a little peek into someone’s life,” she added.

Stankus left prompts throughout town, encouraging community members to pen a story.

“I left some at Moon Flower, Stone Tower, and there was a nursing home that made a little field trip to Fish Hawk Acres when I was having lunch, so I approached them,” Stankus said. “I just knew they would have stories, and they have the most beautiful, cursive handwriting, so you get a little look into their age by that, but it’s been a neat thing to read all of these stories.”

A few stories included accounts of someone’s first kiss, what another person planned to do in five years, how a couple had met one another, the love of someone’s life and someone’s happiest day.

“I hope to do this in a few more months and add to that list of stories; it’s been a really neat thing to be a part of and to collect,” Stankus said. “This was our first gallery, and I’m excited to host more, especially opening up during Strawberry Festival, a lot of people have not been inside of Brightside since it’s open, so this allows the community to get a preview of what’s inside.”

In a previous story, Stankus described her goals for Brightside.

“This is a creative collective where artists, business owners, creatives and photographers can come in and host events and workshops – and they can showcase their artwork,” Stankus said. “I really want this to be a community building that everyone in the community has access to, so there’s going to be monthly events, but it’s also going to be a place for creatives to come together and showcase their art.”

“I’m really looking forward to collaborating with everyone in the community and really making this a building everyone has access to,” she said at the time.

Stay up-to-date on the happenings and events at Brightside by following its Facebook page.

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