Monday, April 7, 2003

Good News: Art bash for children

By Karen Vance

MONTGOMERY - Puppets, origami, people drumming on buckets and mimes are all a part of a daylong celebration of the arts.

The Bigg's Family Art Bash, from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at Sycamore High School, 7400 Cornell Road, Montgomery, is a the hypermarket's way of recognizing its relationship with Cincinnati area schools, said Pierre Wevers, president and CEO of the Cincinnati-based Bigg's.

"We believe by tying in with the schools, our community will be better for the people who shop in our stores," Wevers said. "It's a long term-vision. We believe by exposing children to the arts and involving them in extracurricular activities, they'll be better kids."

Bigg's, which opened its first store in 1984 and now operates 11 stores in Greater Cincinnati, has "adopted" 27 schools and donates $700,000 annually to education and youth initiatives.

Sunday's event includes performances by the Sycamore High School String Orchestra, the Madcap Puppet Theatre, Origami Wizard Jonathan Heart, and the Bucket Boys and Buckettes.

Craig Woodson, education director at the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, will also be there to teach children how to make musical instruments out of everyday household items. Children will then perform using the instruments.

Other workshops will teach African mask making, clay sculpture, puppet making, pot painting and origami. If the event is successful, Bigg's plans to host similar parties in other parts of town, Wevers said.

"We felt we needed to celebrate our partnership with the schools, and we're using an arts fair as the way to do it," he said.

The event is free and open to the public.

A dozen seventh-grade Girl Scouts at Kings Junior High School are aiming to make a cuddly difference in the lives of traumatized kids.

Troop 6469, led by Julia Leary, has been busy making brightly colored child-sized fleece blankets for Warren County sheriff's deputies in Deerfield Township and the Abuse and Rape Crisis Shelter of Warren County.

The blankets will be distributed to children through deputies, who will keep them in their cruisers, and at the shelter. They are meant for children who need comfort for any number of reasons, from car wrecks to witnessing domestic violence in their homes, Leary said.

About 60 blankets will be split between Deerfield deputies and the crisis shelter, with the first batch being delivered to the sheriff's substation on Wednesday.

"I don't think there is anyone my kids would rather help than another kid having a hard time," Leary said.

The effort is being coordinated through the Cincinnati Chapter of Project Linus, a volunteer, non-profit organization that makes blankets for police, firefighters, hospitals and community organizations to give to infants, children and teens.

Allen Howard is on vacation. Karen Vance will write "Some Good News" until he returns. If you have a "good news" story you would like to share, e-mail Karen at

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