Talking Suitcases are a terrific prompt for writing. They offer a natural focus on something that people care about—and have had the chance to reflect on quietly as they worked to give it shape as a 3-D scene or object.

Working with 4 groups of youth (5-14 yrs) and teens (15-19 yrs) in two sites in the Stillwater area, I asked the young artists to talk and write about their work for display in the upcoming arts festival.

Some wrote quickly, others took their time and went deeper. Some wrote directly, and others, I recorded in an interview, then wrote down what they said. Everyone was eager to tell about what they had made. In a classroom situation, we could have easily written much more.

Here are some of the results:


Why I made this is because I love cats. They are my life. I want them by me all the time when I sleep, when I watch TV.  I love them. Go cats!
Writing_ Sarah

I made a science box. It has all sorts of things with science.

There is an arrow pointing to science cause there’s book about science so you can read about it and there’s some chemicals and another book and a table and that’s me doing chemicals…It’s me in the future when I grow up; I’m going to be a scientist.

I made a box dedicated to what’s my favorite thing to do in the summer.  I love water parks and that’s what I always do every summer.  So I thought I would do one about water parks.  Inside my box, you can see there’s a sky and the sand is right at the bottom.  People come and splash into the water.  I went on a water slide, on the family ride with my family, only once by myself – I went backwards and forwards and it was fun.
Writing_ Ariah


Mirror Box—People see what they want to see not a whole person – inside things that most people don’t care to see—don’t take the time. I wish people would see things like I could be a leader. I wish to be free from all the stereotypes and society’s rules. Inside I’m beautiful…amazing…maybe.

“The Road to Happiness”  A car with two figures. My daughter and I, riding this car to happiness. I want to be with my daughter all the time. Share everything with her. Bumpy, smooth, and curvy roads.  Together we will be happy and will never give up!Writing_Paloma

Hi everybody, my name is Jesus and this is my talking suitcase. Inside is me—I’m happy because I’m proud of myself.  In one of the boxes, it shows that I love going shopping and that I love music. But inside the box it shows that even though I could be feeling dark inside there’s something shining in there. In my white box, it shows that my dream for the future is going to Paris with my friend. And this is me.
Writing_ Iridiana

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