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Big Puppets Parade connects two Appleton neighborhoods

Posted on May 30, 2019, by

Columbus Elementary students with their art teacher, Elizabeth Austin, creating butterfly props for Saturday’s Big Puppets Parade in Appleton.

Newspapers, toilet paper and huge gobs of paint and glue have been transformed into gigantic puppets, thanks to the imaginations of young artists in several Appleton schools. These puppets will star in this Saturday’s Neighborhood Big Puppets Parade.

Creative director and artist Elyse Krista-Mische shows budding artists how to build a moon head.

“The Neighborhood Big Puppets Parade is a visual and cultural celebration of the historic neighborhoods surrounding Appleton’s Historic Central Neighborhood just north of downtown and the Lawrence City Park neighborhoods,” says Julie Filapek, Neighborhood Partners program leader, Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin.

Appleton’s Historic Central Neighborhood is collaborating with Columbus Elementary and the Renaissance School to design and present a Big Puppets Parade that will travel from Arbutus Park to the Imagine City Park event this Saturday, June 1, thanks to a $2,000 grant to Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin from the Bright Idea Fund within the Community Foundation.

This year’s parade coincides with the 125th Anniversary Celebration of Columbus Elementary School in the Historic Central Neighborhood and the Imagine City Park Event (Lawrence/City Park).

Several organizations, neighborhood groups and schools have come together to make the event happen, including Appleton Downtown Rotary, Historic Central Neighborhood, Lawrence/City Park Neighborhood, The 602 Club. Renaissance School, Kaleidoscope Academy, Columbus Elementary/Appleton Bilingual School and Edison Elementary.

Artist rendering by Elyse Krista-Mische

“Neighborhood Partners’ community arts initiatives are all designed to maximize neighbor engagement as creators of art, with a special emphasis on involving children in the art that makes their neighborhoods beautiful,” says Filapek. “Our work is to build neighbors’ own capacity to improve quality of life, and the arts are one of the most accessible, exciting, and feel-good ways to do that.”

Filapek says Appleton has done a tremendous amount to strengthen and celebrate its downtown area.

“Neighborhoods are different from a downtown. The feel is different. The Neighborhood Big Puppets Parade is meant to feel home-made, people-powered, colorful and a bit off-beat – just as our neighborhoods are.  And they also make a statement:  ‘We’re here, we love where we live, we are creating our quality of life.'”

This Saturday’s event begins at noon with a puppet and prop decorating workshop at Columbus Elementary playground (913 N. Oneida St.), followed by short parade loops from the playground at 1 p.m. and a longer parade route to City Park at 2 p.m.

You can make the Bright Ideas burn even brighter by adding your support.

Check out our current Bright Idea Fund results from 2018 – 2019!
See how our Bright Idea Fund impacted our community last year.




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