Free tickets available for 'Illuminations' arts celebration

Storyteller Ken Waldman
Storyteller Ken Waldman

Tickets are now available for "Illuminations - A Celebration of Families and the Arts" planned for May 16 at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.


            The free day of arts activities and performances for families will focus on children age 6 months through 10 years of age. Tickets may be obtained on a first-come, first-served basis through the Bromeley Family Theater Box Office. The box office may be reached by calling 814-362-5113 or emailing Courtney Mealy at


            The event will fill Blaisdell Hall with artists performing and conducting workshops. In addition to a young children's performance of "Hatched" by the Treehouse Shakers and a concert by the Grammy Award-winning family musicians The Okee Dokee Brothers, Illuminations will feature local groups and hands-on activities.


The event is made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts Challenge America Grant.


"We are so excited to have received the NEA grant for this project that will give children and their families the opportunity to experience the arts together. It will be a day filled with art exploration, performances and fun," said Patty Colosimo, coordinator of arts programming.


Local groups helping fill the day with fun include Bradford Little Theatre, Studio B. Dance Academy, Windworks from Olean, N.Y., and local artists.


            Bradford Little Theatre board members Nanci K. Garris and Beckie Confer will present two theater workshops. A preschool workshop will give young children an opportunity to present a simple play with a narrator. There will also be a session with puppets along with simple songs and finger plays.


            Children elementary age and above will also have an opportunity to use puppets to create their own play. This age group will also explore stage directions, theater terms and who is necessary to produce a play. If time allows, both groups will have an opportunity to explore improvisation.


            Studio B Dance Academy instructor Katie Neidich will teach a fun warm up and a short jazz dance combination to some of today's popular hits. The combination will piece together movements from the warm up with new ones to create a short, fun dance.


            Isaac Spaeth of Windworks in Olean will bring an instrument "petting zoo," where children of all ages can learn about different musical instruments. Children can pick up the instruments and play them. They will also learn the names of each instrument, the type of sound that it makes, how to create that sound and its classification, such as a woodwind or brass instrument.


            Ken Waldman, a former college professor with a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing, will lead children of different age levels in creating poetry and writing song lyrics to be accompanied by his fiddle. He has been a visiting writer at more than 80 colleges and universities, a visiting artist at more than 200 schools in 32 states and has led workshops from Alaska to Maine.


            Four local artists will work with children in a variety of media.


            Anna Lemnitzer, assistant professor of art, will lead participants in creating their own miniature koinobori, carp-shaped wind socks used in the celebration of Children's Day in Japan.


            Artist Anne Mormile will teach children to create their own fairy friends that can go live in their own back yards.


            Laura Hickey will introduce science into the art-making process with a watercolor and oil marbling station where children can create colorful abstract paintings.


            Floyd C. Fretz Middle School art teacher Janelle Turk will demonstrate the ancient art of printmaking and help students create their own image and transfer the image to a piece of art.


            In the KOA Art Gallery, students from Bradford Area School District will display their artwork.


            "Studies show that there is a correlation between the arts and academic achievement," Colosimo said. "In young children it helps to develop motor skills, language development, and creativity that will grow to be very beneficial throughout their academic years. We wanted to have an event that would provide these benefits to local students while at the same time making it an enjoyable family experience."


            In addition to the NEA grant, matching funds are being provided by The Three Sisters Fund and the Bradford Kiwanis Club, which is also providing volunteers to work at the event. Other partners of the event include the Bradford Area School District. BAHS Art Club and Key Club students are also volunteering. Additional activities will include face painting, sidewalk art (weather permitting), healthy food vendors and arts-themed giveaways.


            For disability needs related to the event, contact the Office of Disability Resources at (814)362-7609 or To find out more about how NEA grants impact individuals and communities, visit