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The Story of the Seal

We here at the International Storytelling Center are delighted to announce our new Storytelling Seal of Excellence program. Designed to recognize storytelling experiences of high quality across a broad spectrum of organizations, attractions, and even communities, the seal is our spin on a four-star review or a stamp of approval. It’s our way of letting you know the people, places, and institutions that we think are doing a great job of incorporating quality storytelling into the important work that they do.

The recipient of ISC’s first-ever Seal of Excellence will be our longtime friends and partners at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort & Spa, just down the road from us in Pigeon Forge. Our organizations have been working together since 2014 to highlight the distinct cultural offerings of the Northeast Tennessee region, which is steeped in special family-oriented traditions like storytelling.

Our work with the folks at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort & Spa began well before their doors ever opened. That beautiful property had been a dream of Dolly Parton’s for a long time. From the outset, when it was still just a set of blueprints, the resort’s planners had a vision of a place where stories weren’t just a form of entertainment, but a way for people to connect. ISC helped them execute that vision by developing special training for senior management and other employees that helped weave stories into each and every guest’s experience. We also introduced them to top storytelling talent who showed these seasoned professionals how to use the art of storytelling to take their relationships with their customers—and each other—to the next level.

In return, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort & Spa has been a great friend and ally as we continue to build our own footprint as a cultural institution. They have been a key sponsor of the National Storytelling Festival since 2015. It has been a natural and productive partnership stepped in shared values like community, authenticity, tradition, and excellence.

ISC’s Seal of Excellence will be unveiled on site at the resort during Lyrics & Lore, a brand-new annual event that’s bringing together some of the most talented storytellers with award-winning songwriters. Co-sponsored by ISC, the Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival, and the resort itself, Lyrics & Lore will offer performances and workshops throughout the long weekend of January 26-29, 2017. Storytelling heavyweights Bil Lepp and Beth Horner will both be there, and their performances are free and open to the public! We hope you’ll go if you can.

You can find out more about those free storytelling concerts, as well as the rest of the schedule for the festival, on the resort’s website. Please note that some of the musical concerts are ticketed separately.

As a celebration of two of our most crucial performing arts here in East Tennessee—story and song, which are very close to the heart of Ms. Parton herself—Lyrics & Lore seemed like the perfect setting to unveil our new Seal of Excellence. It’s a sincere pleasure to offer this special designation, the first of its kind, to our friends and colleagues at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort & Spa, not just in recognition of the beautiful retreat that they’ve built, but also all of the memories their guests are making there each and every day.