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Sue Bush
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Folk Art Fun

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Monday, September 26, 2005

Four-year-old Sarah Egan found the answer to challenging croquet wickets; move them.
Williamstown – Many children possess artistic, inventive fingers, as was demonstrated Sept. 25 during a Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Family Fun Day.

Activities with folk art flair were offered inside and along the museum’s grounds. Clark Art Coordinator of Community Events Ronna Ostheimer said that about 500 people attended the event.

“It was a fun day,” Ostheimer said. “Folk art is such a wonderful way to draw children in [to the museum]. And researching folk art projects was a lot of fun.”


Zephie Gollin, 5, found fun at the activities inside of the Clark Art museum.
Outdoor fun included croquet, badminton, and volleyball games, which were coached and supervised by members of the Williams College women’s volleyball team. Youngsters were entertained and amused; the croquet area was a particular source of fun, as children whacked colored wooden balls with wooden mallets. Several very young tykes sometimes devised their own “rules,” and simply uprooted and relocated particularly troublesome wickets.

There was plenty of fun at the badminton net, where children did their best to “serve” and return a “birdie” with game rackets. Volleyball action kept the college team members on their toes.

Creating dolls from skeins of colored yarn seemed a very popular activity inside the museum. Children took care to select the richly-hued yarn balls and let their imaginations dictate the doll designing. Parents were often called upon to lend a helping hand as stringy strands were transformed into a soft, colorful, doll.

Fruit shapes cut from wood were available for painting, and a bright collage of painted fruits was spread out to dry on tables and paper plates scattered about the third-floor project room. Children were also able to create wall hangings by sewing hand-shaped felt cutouts onto a felt square.

Vintage clothing on loan from the Williamstown Historical Society was available for brief “dress-up” interludes.

Anya Brown, 3, and Molly Paulsen, 3, appear delighted with the game of croquet.


A gallery talk titled “Here’s Looking At You, Kid: Meet the Kids in the Art at the Clark” allowed children to get acquainted with images of children on display during the Clark’s “Little Men, Little Women: Folk Art Portraits of Children from the Fenimore Art Museum.” The exhibit is scheduled to conclude on Oct. 15.
Admission to the activities and the Clark galleries was free during the event.


Twin sisters Amelia and Isabella Kemp, 3, selected yarn to be used with making yarn dolls.
Introducing children and their families to the museum is a Clark focus, Ostheimer said. “All of our special projects are in celebration of exhibitions,” Ostheimer said. “Our goal is to create a platform for high quality activities. These events encourage parents to bring their children to the museum and become familiar with the galleries and with the art.”

Additional information about the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is available at the www.clarkart.edu Internet web site or by calling 413-458-2303.

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush123@adelphia.net or at 802-823-9367.
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