Remembering Yostie Ashley

Barbara “Yostie” Ashley, one of our most active and enthusiastic teaching artists, passed away Dec. 20, 2012. Yostie was involved in the South Carolina Arts Commission’s artist residency program for many years. We always looked forward to seeing her at the annual Arts in Education Booking Conference, and in more recent years, at Artists’ Ventures Initiative workshops. We will miss her very much.

More information about Yostie’s life and work is available in her obituary.

Yostie Ashley

Yostie Ashley at the 2007 Arts in Education Booking Conference

Tribute to Yostie Ashley
By Margie Willis Clary
The Backporch Storytellers of Charleston

The stage is dark, the music is hushed, and the sound of children’s laughter is absent today.  Teachers, children, school administrators and storytellers of South Carolina were saddened to hear of the sudden death of our dear friend Barbara “Yostie” Ashley, artist-in resident with the South Carolina Arts Commission. Yostie died December 20th after a brief illness.  Yostie, as she was called, worked with the South Carolina Arts Commission as a puppeteer for more than 25 years.  She was known throughout the state for her residencies in puppetry. Her business, Yostie’s Fun Stuff, located on Hilton Head Island, will be silent today.

The loss of this educational entertainer will be felt beyond the borders of South Carolina.  From Inman to Indonesia, and from Rock Hill to Russia, Yostie influenced young writers and actors through the use of puppets and stories.  Adults and children participated wholeheartedly in her interactive performances and learned from her.  She was loved by all who knew her.  Yostie’s infectious sweet smile, energy and kindness will be long remembered.  She loved working with children and acknowledged that every child should have a chance to succeed through the arts.

She was a true educator, having taught at the University of South Carolina, in elementary schools, and as a facilitator for many educational workshops and conferences throughout the nation and the world.  She was past president of the South Carolina Storytelling Network, and past president of The Puppeteers of America.

As a long-standing (20+ years) member of The Backporch Storytellers of Charleston, she will be missed as the group’s publicist.  Her organizational skills and her ability to keep our group on time (similar to herding butterflies) for functions such as the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN, were remarkable.  The Backporch Storytellers’ goal will be to embrace her primary focus, which was to make the world a better place through the arts.

Yostie’s life was a story of goodness and love.  She will be greatly missed by all who knew her. Light the stage, bring up the music, and we will laugh as we remember this talented friend.