Folk Art Family Festivals
at The Children's Museum in Utica, NY

New York State Council on the Arts is sponsoring our Children's Museum Folk Art Family Festival
Sponsored by New York State Council on the Arts

The Children's Museum, 311 Main St, Utica, NY

Previous Folk Art Festivals at the Children's Museum included:

2001: Seneca Turtle Clan Storyteller Karen Crow and her husband Indio at Children's Folk Festival event at Children's Museum

2001: Zenja Hyde making an apple head doll

2001: Juanita Willson's beaded work

2001: Alf Jaques stringing a LaCrosse Stick


April 20th, 2001: The Children's Folklore Festival began with a 5-7pm Family Fun Night with Seneca Turtle Clan Storyteller Karen Crow and her husband Indio. Our Annual Festival began with a program by Karen Crow who was joined by her husband Indio. Karen told traditional Haudensosaunee stories including How Bear Lost his Tail, Why Trees Lose their Leaves, and The Grandfather Story. She also brought along skoons and Strawberry drink, Native -American treats for her audience to sample. Indio explained Haudensosaunee traditions and talked about the important relationship between Native-Americans and the other living things on earth.

On Saturday three Haudenosaunee Folk Artists were joined by representatives of Utica's old and new immigrant communities. Alf Jacques of the Onondaga Turtle Clan demonstrated the art of lacrosse stick making; Juanita Willson of the Mohawk Wolf Clan created beaded jewelery and clothing; Zenja Hyde of the Onondage Beaver Clan demonstrated the art of making apple head dolls. They were joined by young Tiffany Jankiewicz, a Polish American artist descendant of Poles who came to Utica after the turn of the twentieth century. Tiffany demonstrated the art of Pysanky, the Polish art of egg decorating. The Wins, an extended Burmese family, demonstrated the arts of the Karens of Burma, including foodways, song, dance. They also exhibited traditional textile weaving. The Burmese are among Utica's newest immigrants. On Wednesday , May 9th, Executive Director Tony Clementi and Felica McMahon will present a program at the Annual Folk Arts Conference of NYSCA at the hotel Syracuse.

April 20th & 21st, 2001: The Children’s Folklore Festival - A great way to celebrate our diversity here in greater Utica. This year’s Children’s Folk Festival at the Children’s Museum will provide two days of continuous folk arts demonstrations that represent the rich diversity in our region. This year we are proud to include a sampling of the diverse ethnic population living here today in greater Utica. We have Haudenosaunee (Native American) folk artists who are indigenous to central New York, a Polish-American artist descendent of the turn of the century European immigrants, and Burmese artists who are the most recent arrivals to Utica. Each will share and demonstrate an unique part of their heritage through various folk arts, storytelling and foodways.

Family Fun Night Friday, April 20th, 5:00-7:00 PM
Karen Crow [Seneca Turtle Clan] is a fifth generation Tonawanda Seneca storyteller and the Native American Interpreter for Onondaga County Parks. Some of the stories that Karen learned as a child include Why Rabbit Looks the Way He Does; How Bear Lost His Tail; How Bear Became the Medicine Clan; Why the Trees Lose their Leaves; The Dogs and Their Tails; and The Grandfather Story. These are the stories that Karen plans to tell us but adds, "As a traditional native storyteller, you can never tell what may occur!"

SATURDAY, April 21 11:00AM-1:00 PM & 2:00 - 4:00 PM
Alf Jacques [Onondaga Turtle Clan] is both lacrosse stick carver and lacrosse player. Alf learned the traditional art of lacrosse stick making from his father, the late master lacrosse carver, Lou Jacques, who taught Alf at age twelve to carve and web the lacrosse sticks. Alf himself is a professional box lacrosse player who is the only player to have held every position in field and box lacrosse. Alf carves his sticks from shagbark, shell or smooth hickory wood. The complicated procedure of cutting, seasoning, steaming, bending and carving from hickory wood is a time-consuming process and the netting involves a webbing technique with either leather or "gut." Alf explains that for Native Americans, lacrosse is both play and religious tradition because as a medicine game, it "keeps the people alert."

Juanita Willson [Mohawk Wolf Clan] learned the traditional arts of the Haudenosaunee from her mother and grandmother who lived on the Akwesasne Reservation. Today she continues to create beaded jewelry with traditional Mohawk designs including Wolf who has special significance for her clan. Juanita integrates her beaded work into ribbon dresses and shirts that she hand sews for her family members and native friends. Zenja Hyde [Onondaga Beaver Clan] lives on the Onondaga Nation where she learned to make apple head dolls from her Great-Aunt Virginia Skenadore Jones who lived at the Cattaruagus Reservation. To make her hand-made dolls, she first cores and peels Granny Smith apples and then shrinks the apples behind her woodstove. The bodies are made from dried maple sticks that are very hard and then all of the intricately designed traditional clothes are hand sewn and beaded.

Tiffany Jankiewicz is a 22-year old self-taught traditional artist of Polish heritage. When she was 12 years old, Tiffany became interested in learning to decorate Easter eggs, know as "pysanky" in the Polish language. Today Tiffany has created hundreds of eggs and has taught pysanky at the Utica Polish Community Center for six years.
Kaw Soe Win and his wife, Win May represent the Karens, an ethnic minority in Burma [Myanmar]. Because there is political oppression of the Karens in Burma, the Wins, who are Christian, emigrated with their seven children in 1999 from Burma to Utica where there is a new and growing Burmese community. They brought their Karen traditions such as folk dress and foodways which have been carried on by other family members and friends in Utica. All of their daughters learned to make special sweets such as Htamane [Festival Sticky Rice] and Monpetok [Sweet Rice Coconut Pyramids.] Htamane is a festival sweet, prepared and served in villages . It’s preparation is an arduous bit of work when it is made in huge potsbecause it must be stirred until it is reduced to a pureé of rice, peanuts, sesame seeds and coconut. Burmese sweets are not dessert; they are sweets that are served with green tea as a gesture of hospitality or on holidays. The Karens of Burma are known for their hospitality and friendliness as well as their colorful traditional clothes and energetic festival dances.

April 16th, 2001: Easter Break Week began on Monday, when Smokey the Bear made his annual visit to the Museum and spoke to kids about Fire safety and other interesting topics. Kids watched a special video prepared by the DEC, and then enjoyed a puppet show. In the afternoon, Melanie Zimmer enthralled a full house with her fun and interactive stories. On Tuesday, Celia Domser made a return visit to the Museum with another "Science of Toys" program. Kids learned about silly putty, sticky men and other toys that began as scientific experiments. Sally Sommers made elephant puppets with kids, and there were neat events including a "bubble off" and "Magnet Fishing".

April 18th, 2001: Easter Break Week continues -- The day started with aspecial Music for Munchkins for the holidays a Bike Rodeo Bike Safety Course with the Oneida County Sherriffs Department outside. Kids brought their bikes and helmets and ran the course with the experts; they also received a free bike safety check and tune-up. Participating kids made sidewalk art, learned about Hank the Snake and made ice cream. Two days of great programs for kids and families at the Children's Museum.

March 24th: A full house of visitors were in attendence at the Children's Museum for the Dental Health Fair sponsored by the Oneida-Herkimer Counties Dental Society. Dr. John Hamlin, for the OHDS and a sponsor of the Furino and Hamlin dental Exhibit in Exploration Station, was host to the winners of the Dental Health Poster Contest. Friends and Family were there to show support for the winners and learn about the importance of taking care of one's teeth. After the Awards were presented, everyone enjoyed a magic show presented by the Clown and received free toothbrushes provided by the OHDS. The OHDS also donated more than 500 toothbrushes to Columbus Elementary School in Utica.

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New York State Council on the Arts is sponsoring our Children's Museum Folk Art Family Festival