By Anthony Wyatt
June 27, 2012. With only six days remaining until Elkland Art Center’s Viva la Lib “AIR” Todd Liberty Parade on July 4, the center is asking for the help of the community to make this special event possible and ensure its success.
This unique event is the only one of its kind in the High Country, and for seven years Liberty Parades have brought the community together to celebrate art, creativity, and environmental awareness. “It’s unique. There’s nothing else like it here. It’s a really beautiful, creative and fun art parade,” said Martha Enzmann, founder of Elkland Art Center and board vice president. “There are very few of them anywhere in the country and no others in the High Country. It’s a three-dimensional, open-air work of art.”
All of the artistic creations used in the parade are handmade by center staff members, volunteers and workshop attendees. Due to this, the pieces are unique and beautiful crafted works of art, and their hand-carried display make the event a wonderful sight to see.
This year in particular, the local Hispanic and Latino community is participating in various aspects of the “Air” themed parade. With food vendors sharing delicious Hispanic cuisine and south of the border artists infusing Latino color, flare and brilliance into the artwork, the 2012 Liberty Parade will be reaching out to even more members of the community and making the event more diverse than ever.
“We, along with everyone else in the United States, have an increasing Hispanic and Latino population, and their cultures in general have a great history of pageantry and professionalism,” Enzmann said. “And so, for one thing, we are asking them to contribute that part of their history to our own. The warmth and the color and the flavor of these Southern cultures are different from our heritage, and [their participation in the parade allows for an] expansion of our cultural parameters in as many ways as we can manage this year.”
Leading up to the actual parade, the Elkland Art Center has held 22 various workshops throughout the area to teach children about the importance of environmental awareness and the fun involved in creating, learning about and enjoying art. These workshops, combined with the parade and other educational efforts of the center, are integral in helping local children grow in both knowledge and appreciation of art and various skills.
As Enzmann said, “Art activities in general teach lots of skills that I don’t think people [are aware of], such as basic manipulation of tools, geometry skills, problem solving skills, how to work with other people, how to put things together and how to deal with materials in general; something that’s not digital but rather real, physical and material. And plus, they just have a great time because it’s fun.”
The organization stands $3,640 short of its fundraising goal, and to keep the dream of a beautiful, creative and entertaining parade alive, Elkland Art Center is asking for the compassionate support and generosity of those in the area. “This parade cannot happen without the community’s support because we are not supported by anyone else in this endeavor,” said Enzmann. “If we are to be able to continue doing this, we need to have the community to contribute financially.”
Today, the organization is hoping to make it over the halfway hump in funds in order to stay on track of their $6,000 target. However, without the kindness of the community this number might just stay a hopeful aim. And so, since everyone loves a parade and nothing celebrates our country’s birthday better than art, costumes, local food and family fun, lend a helping hand in support of Elkland Art Center’s Liberty Parade today and make Viva la Lib “AIR” Todd a hit.
The parade begins at 11 a.m. at N.C. 194 and Railroad Grade Road in Todd. For more information, call 336-877-5016.
To donate, click to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/elklandartcenter/viva-la-libairtodd or Elkland Art Center’s website at www.elklandartcenter.org.
See previous article about this parade:
The Viva la Lib ‘AIR’ Todd Liberty Parade is Coming!
June 25, 2012. On the Fourth of July, Elkland Art Center in Todd hosts an annual arts parade called The Liberty Parade. Participants become the parade by wearing costumes and carrying large puppets that represent our local environment, environmental and social concerns and current creative impulses. Each year Elkland artists and community members add a segment or theme to the parade.
This year’s theme is based on the element Air. Artists are designing large wind puppets, birds, cloud costumes, banners, pinwheels, windsocks and all kinds of beautiful things that are enlivened by the air connecting us all.
In celebration of that connection, Elkland Art Center has offered over 25 free or low-cost workshops in Ashe and Watauga counties through Ashe County 4-H, The Florence Thomas Art School and the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts. These workshops have been made possible in part by The Blessings Project Foundation, Inc, The Conservation Fund and workshop host sites. Thanks to our grantors, we have been able to work with local Hispanic artists in the making of the parade.
The final workshop will be in Todd on Railroad Grade Road at the Old Bank Building beside the Todd Mercantile this Saturday, June 30 from 1-3 p.m.
This year’s parade takes place on Wednesday, July 4. Meet at the field across the bridge at the corner of 194 N and Railroad Grade Road in Todd at 10:30 a.m. and parade at 11 a.m. This is a participatory parade. All props, puppets and costumes are provided.
The parade culminates in a large puppet skit and live music provided by Todd’s own Henhouse Thieves at the Walter and Annie Cook Memorial Park.
Food provided by Vitality, Bare Essentials and local Hispanic vendors.
Come experience this exciting, compassionate and artful expression of freedom and community.