Sunday, January 29, 2012

The best "un-birthday" party ever!

When my sister and I were growing up, my mother borrowed a concept from Lewis Carroll's classic Alice in Wonderland to make sure we each had a reason to celebrate the other's birthday: the "un-birthday". It was genius. It meant that on my sister's special day, while she was blowing out her candles and opening several birthday gifts, I had one "unbirthday gift" to open (and view versa). It's a concept I use to this day to explain any gift I give without the standard reason ("it's your un-birthday! Here -- happy un-birthday!" I'll say as my friend stammers ". . .  but w-w-why. . .?")  

Un-birthday parties are the best, because everyone is being celebrated, not just one person. And by that token, I want to make sure as many people as possible know about "The Mad Hatter", which in my mind is the best "un-birthday" party ever!  It will take place on Saturday, Feb. 25 from 10-noon at the Woodruff Arts Center.  There will be all sorts of arts-and-crafts activities that will delight the kids, but in my opinion, the MOST fun is the hat making. This is an activity that is brought back by demand, and it is hard to tell who enjoys it the most: the kids, their grown-ups, or the volunteers! I love watching as some kids tear through all the materials trying to make a hat as fast as possible, while others deliberate very slowly and thoughtfully on their choices of embellishments. No matter the choice or process, ALL the hats show the diversity of creative thinking, and are just plan FUN!

"I can wear a hat or take it off, but either way it's a conversation piece."
-Hedda Hopper
Pictured here is one of the hats I made last year for one of the volunteers to wear: rolled up brown paper bag decorated with tissue paper, ribbon, pipe cleaners, buttons and a cut out of the March Hare. I challenge you to come see if you can top this topper!

I've been volunteering for "The Mad Hatter" ever since I became involved with Young Audiences, a nonprofit organization hell-bent on making sure our kids (especially those with the least support, resources, and access) get exposed to the arts, artists and arts education. This has become increasingly important as the recession has forced schools and school systems to cut art and music teachers from their budgets. I could give you all sorts of statistics about how important exposure to the arts is for the future success of kids, but you can get that in a multitude of other places, if you haven't already heard it. What I would rather do is to convince you to grab a kid you know (your own, your grandchild, a friend's kids), buy tickets (only $12 Advance) and come HAVE A GREAT TIME watching the kids HAVE A BLAST! (All the proceeds go to help Young Audiences ensure that they can continue to provide arts programs to Georgia's school children.) So basically this is one of those "do good while having fun" things. A "two-fer!" (Which sounds like a word Lewis Carroll would have invented: "two-fer!")
Don't have a kid to bring? Well, then go to the web site  (link attached) and sign up to volunteer like I do. Or buy tickets to donate to kids who can't afford it; better yet, be a sponsor! You can also purchase raffle tickets to some really great prizes (I won't tell you which is  my favorite because I've been trying to win it for 3 years and don't want the competition!)

So join me* at this great un-birthday party and make a hat to bring art into our classrooms.
*I HOPE to be there; more about why I may not be in my next post.