No program would be complete without the opportunity to create and perform. Our artist workshops provide the perfect setting for children as they participate in drama camps, puppet shows and other visual arts, dance and performance activities.
Workshop in Fused Glass
Breanna’s Gift sponsored a fused-glass workshop led by FOCI, the Minnesota Center for Glass Art. The kids made sun catchers and their creativity came through immediately. Working with small pieces of glass can be tricky, so everyone had to wear thick gloves. This challenge didn’t hold anyone back and it’s always great to see the kids dig right in.
Our recent animation workshop required a story, large drawings cut into pieces that could be manipulated, actors and lots of patience. It’s a very slow process because the animation consists of several frames of the same images being moved ever so slightly, multiple times. This latest workshop offering for Breanna’s Gift was led by John Akre from Animation Station. John was assisted by Beth Peloff, and his artists and actors were the children at Ronald McDonald House Charities Upper Midwest. John brought out the best in his performers and the result is Aesop’s Fable, The North Wind and The Sun.
Our first radio workshop was led by voice-over professional Beth Chaplin. It started out with kids learning about old time radio shows. Stories told without visual images. Just voices and sound effects using big microphones. They worked on the story of The Tortoise and the Hare. The final mix of The Tortoise and the Hare was presented to children who participated in a CD format so they can listen and imagine this classic tale with simply the sounds.
Children participate in both the on- and off-stage experience, creating scenery, learning lines, practicing dances, practicing and rehearsing. Many of their performances – from Annie, The Sound of Music and The Wizard of Oz to Mary Poppins, have resulted in the very special “encores” that make everyone’s day.
Margo McCreary leads our annual 3-day Puppet Workshop at Ronald McDonald House, which culminates in a performance that is scripted and performed by the children in our program, with highly improbable (but entertaining!) story lines. Margo has also produced live outdoor puppet shows that were performed outside of Ronald McDonald House and Children’s Minnesota hospital in Minneapolis. Star Studios, Children’s Minneapolis’ closed circuit TV program, simultaneously live streamed the performances to hospital rooms on both Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses.
Silent Film Workshops
Our first Silent Film Workshop had children at Ronald McDonald House engaged for three mornings and they learned three new words, “Lights, Camera, Action.” Their imaginations led to productions with heroes of all kinds, from Kings and Sorcerers to Superheros on the Moon. Harmony Theatre Company leads this workshop and we look forward to many more collaborations.
Mosaic Workshops led by mosaic artist Lori Greene take the word collaboration to new heights. Children and their families will often take part in creating the mosaic background for large pieces or work on smaller sections of a large mosaic piece or both. Mosaic art is a multi-step process and it takes a lot of patience and a lot of time to complete. Because of the scope and size of the projects, children participate as time allows and Lori takes it from there. The results are full of magical details and wonder. There is so much to see and it’s always fun for the children to look for the areas they worked on. It’s even more fun to watch them look for and find their names, which are always embedded in the art.
Two- and three-day workshops are sometimes designed with a donation in mind. A three-day summer artist workshop event with mosaic artist Lori Greene was so much fun. Twenty-three children, both patients and siblings, helped build our creation at Ronald McDonald House Upper Midwest. The mosaic was then completed by Lori and names of all 23 participants became an integral part of this vibrant and magical Tree of Life. The tree, which is 5 feet high and 3 feet wide, was our gift to Ronald McDonald House in honor of their 30th anniversary, and we are so proud to have been a part of their special celebration.
This mosaic of life under the water, You and Me Under the Sea, was also designed by Lori Greene. This unique art collaboration included our artist/patients, their parents and child life staff from the Minneapolis hematology/oncology unit of Children’s Minnesota. The children spent three afternoons creating starfish, shrimp, seahorses and of course we can’t forget Nemo. The children are very proud of their work and have been known to stop by when they can, to find their names on the frame and admire their art.