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Joy Koonin, 16, of Concord, will return to Creekside Arts 2013, for some historical storytelling through the eyes of a Clayton girl in the early 20th century. Her program dovetails with the county library's 100th anniversary.

Joy Koonin thinks about history and often spends time "living" in an era more than 100 years ago.

The 16-year-old high school sophomore said, "I love local history. I know Concord and Walnut Creek history."

She's taken her research about the mid-19th century and the turn-of-the-20th century "on the road" dressed in period attire she made herself and telling the public stories about life "long, long ago."

Her presentation was such a success at the annual Creekside Arts at the Clayton Library that Joy will return at 3 p.m. March 24, with an historical story she wrote to entertain readers.

"Last year, I dressed up as a pioneer," said Joy, a Concord resident and volunteer docent at the Shadelands Ranch Historical Museum. "I love quilting, history and sharing, and wanted to tell the story about a 14-year-old who traveled from upstate New York to Clayton in 1855. It was a good fashion point. I researched on period dress and sewed my own dress."

She also researched Civil War-era ball gowns and made her own, wearing it to the Walnut Creek Library's recent event honoring Abraham Lincoln.

"On opening night of the exhibit in Walnut Creek, I sang Civil War camp songs," said the Berean Christian student.

She has "something a little different" planned for this year's Creekside Arts.


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"I'll be dressing up as a Clayton girl from 1913 to celebrate the opening of the first Contra Costa County Library 100 years ago," Joy said. "I'll be telling a story through quilt blocks of my adventures in Clayton and show the public how to make a faux quilt block."

A real quilt block is sewing pieces of fabric together but for the event, she'll have participants glue the pieces together instead.

Joy said she wishes to major in international relations in college and wants to work in the Foreign Service as a diplomat.

"I love languages and different cultures," said Joy, who speaks Korean fluently. "I have an uncle in the Foreign Service and my Dad was interested in it. They both influenced me a lot."

Arlene Kikkawa-Nielsen, organizer of Creekside Arts, said the community is thrilled to have Joy's storytelling back again.

"She was not just drawing teens, but also adults," said Kikkawa-Nielsen. "She's really bright and loves history. She's been a volunteer for us since she was 13."

Kikkawa-Nielsen said that she's hoping to forge a more literary connection -- especially with the 100th anniversary celebration of the county library's first library -- to the Creekside Arts event that has focused on fine art and nature activities since its inception.

"In the past, we've touched on the literary side of things," she said. "We want to focus on integrating the literary aspect more starting this year. We'd like to merge the artists with the writers more."

One of the ways the event is doing that is by introducing Elizabeth Tuck, the president of the local branch of the California Writers Club as one of the art jurors.

She said many of the events, such as Joy's historical storytelling and a drum circle presentation, will be interactive and include more audience participation.

Concord resident Susan Pace-Koch, author of the children's book "Get Out of my Head, I Should Go to Bed," who recently won a Bay Area Independent Publishers Association award, will also be among the presenters at Creekside Arts.

Leslie Wilson, who teaches watercolor classes through Civic Arts Education, will be painting a live Great Horned Owl, presented by Clayton resident Elaine Friedman of Corvid Connection, at 7 p.m. March 22.

While the audience members' focus will be on the owl named "Obiwan," and the talk about him, Wilson said that the public gets to see firsthand how a watercolor painting is created.

"I do lots of demonstrations and the purpose of this is to engage the audience and to enhance the experience of the talk about the owl," Wilson said. "I think I'll be in a position where people can look over my shoulder, see the painting come to life and see the owl at the same time."

The public will get to see the owl come to life in an artist's rendering in watercolor.

"It's almost like painting a portrait," Wilson said. "The owl will be at a certain angle and he'll have light on him. Whenever I'm doing a demo, I always see the subject in the light and its environment at that time. A lot of people are intrigued by watching artists paint."

If you go
WHAT: Creekside Arts 2013
WHEN: 6-8:30 p.m., March 22; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. March 23; noon-5 p.m. March 24
WHERE: Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road
INFORMATION: www.clayton
library.org