Jon Spelman’s performing, writing, and teaching have been supported by individual grants from The National Endowment for the Arts, The Maryland Arts Council, the Arts Councils of Florida and The District of Columbia, the City of Baltimore, and the Baltimore Community Foundation. He has been a Creative Artist in Residence at the Blue Mountain Center in upstate New York, at the Hermitage Artist Retreat in Florida, and at the Bellagio Center of The Rockefeller Foundation, on Lake Como in northern Italy. Spelman has been called “World-Class” (Los Angeles TIMES), and “a stunning wordsmith and a riveting performer” (Washington POST). The Bluemont Concert Series has labeled him “The Dean of American Storytelling”. He has performed on National Public Radio; he is featured on five home videos and four audio collections and is a recipient of a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Spelman has received three EMMYS, presented by the Washington Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, for THREE STORIES TALL, which he hosted for six years on NBC4-TV in Washington, DC. He has been honored with a Children’s Radio Award and an Achievement in Children’s Television Award. He has six times been a Featured Teller at the American National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee.
In addition to performing and teaching, Spelman offers workshops and residencies through both the “Arts Coaches” and the Touring Programs of the Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts. He also regularly offers keynote programs, and college, school and community residencies, which include informal performances, workshops, classes, and work with communities in developing their own stories.
Spelman is married to the choreographer Liz Lerman, and they are the parents of photographer Anna Clare Spelman. Jon and Liz live in the historic Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland; Anna is currently based in Chapel Hill, NC.
Sketch of Jon is by artist, Arthur Gold