About Us

Our Roots

The name “Rabbit Box” is a tribute to Athens songwriter/musician Vic Chesnutt (1964-2009) whose music is cherished worldwide. “Rabbit Box” is a song off his first album, “Little.” In Athens Vic is celebrated not only as a prolific, powerful and original artist but missed as good friend, collaborator and unique local character.

Rabbit Box was started in May of 2012 by local activist, writer and artist Marci White. The first event took place at Avid Bookshop. That first event generated a lot of enthusiasm and it was clear Rabbit Box would grow quickly. For the second event, Rabbit Box moved to the second floor of The Globe bar in downtown Athens. After several months of packing the house like sardines and turning many people away, the board decided a bigger venue was in order. Beginning in November of 2012, Rabbit Box has been held at The Melting Point, now known as The Foundry.

Rabbit Box is inspired by The Moth and other storytelling series around the country. We’re different from a Moth Slam in that:
– At Rabbit Box, it’s not a competition.
– Our time limit (8 minutes) is a little longer.
– People sign up ahead of time to tell stories rather than having their name drawn at the event. (The one exception to this rule is our “crackerjack surprise” storyteller whose name is drawn from the box at halftime for a short story.)

Meet the Board

Raquel “Raqi” Durden, Interim Director

Rabbit Box’s interim director Raquel (“Raqi” pronounced Rocky) Durden wears many hats: retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, combat veteran, cancer survivor, (mostly) vegan, mom, wife, small group leader, prayer warrior, dog lover, reader, storyteller, and full-time “encourager.” She holds an MBA from SUNY Oswego and a BA from University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point among other qualifications. A lifelong learner, she enjoys riding motorcycles with her husband Dave, walking her dog Radar, and visiting family and friends.

Pat Priest, Story Coach

Rabbit Box’s story coach Pat Priest dreams up and produces events such as “Athens in Harmony,” WUGA’s Artists in Residence series, the step show “Stomp Out Domestic Violence,” and New Friends for the New Year. A third-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, she loves ballroom dancing, reading, and preparing plant-based meals with her husband Neal. Long ago she worked at NBC in Burbank and then earned a doctorate in Journalism from UGA but nowadays produces the occasional radio feature for “Living on Earth”and writes opinion pieces for local media.

Nikaela Frederick, Secretary

Nikaela grew up in Decatur, GA and completed her undergraduate studies at Emory University. She moved to Athens for grad school and never left. Since graduating from the UGA College of Public Health, she has worked at the Athens Community Council on Aging keeping retirees in the community active and engaged. She stumbled upon Rabbit Box while researching things to do as a young professional in Athens. Nikaela has been on the Rabbit Box board for 3 years. Outside of work you can find her traveling or taking dance classes.

Andrea Wellnitz, Treasurer

Andrea Wellnitz loves creating art from fibers and mixed media, spending time with her two teen daughters, and reading. She has had the opportunity to travel around the world and grow in her experiences meeting people in new and different places. Her family moved to the area in 2015 from Indiana, where she worked on a project at Purdue University that helped veterans — a job she has continued part time because the work is so meaningful. Because she loves helping families and individuals find a place to call “home,” she’s also a realtor with CJ&L.

Connie Crawley, Board Member

Connie Crawley has been a registered dietitian for over 45 years. She did her training at the Cleveland Veterans Administration Medical Center and received her Master’s in Nutrition from Case Western Reserve University. Since then she has worked at a hospital in Indiana, in public health in the mountains of North Carolina and as a nutrition and health specialist for the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Now that she is retired, she works part time for the medical school as a simulated patient and volunteers at Mercy Health Center as their dietitian. In between she is an active member of the OLLI Memoir Writers Group and has told three stories for Rabbit Box.

Sean Polite, Board Member

Sean Polite, aside from joyously serving on the Rabbit Box board, is a Navy veteran and a board operator at public radio station WUGA. He is an active member of the community theatre scene and has on occasion performed in UGA theatre productions. He is a Modern Foreign Languages major with fervent passions for good books, crossword puzzles, music, films and shows, and most of all, suggestions on what should be for dinner.

People We’d Like to Thank

  • Marci White
  • Elise Stangle
  • Flagpole Magazine
  • Daniel Rodriguez-Granrose
  • Emberly Jay
  • Kristen Smith
  • Melissa Harward
  • Jessica Magnarella
  • Earnest Thompson
  • Chad Whitley
  • David Ferreira
  • Apurba Banerjee
  • Patty Tacuri
  • The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens
  • The Globe
  • Avid Bookshop
  • Ben & Jerry’s Athens
  • Mary Whitehead
  • Heidi Ferreira
  • Alan Black
  • Matthew Epperson
  • Christina Ward
  • The Foundry
  • Sandy Creek Park
  • Randy Smith
  • Bart Lemahieu
  • Eleanor Davis
  • Ellen Everitt
  • Agatha Coggins
  • Tom Kenyon
  • Jamie DeRevere
  • Betsy Bean and Boom Magazine
  • Rachel Bailey
  • Neal Priest
  • David Noah
  • Christopher Parsons
  • Ari Lieberman
  • Agatha Coggins
  • Jan Turner
  • Nina Kelly
  • Ivan Sumner
  • Jack Webster
  • Mark Woods
  • Troy Aubrey