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By Karen Hendricks, Festival PR/Marketing Director

By now, statistics sadly show that many Americans have made New Year’s Resolutions that have already been broken or abandoned.  So I would like to propose making a new, New Year’s Resolution:  Make the arts a priority in your life in 2012.

I’m inspired to say this by two wonderful and generous women I met recently.  Both women made and contributed amazing, beautiful gingerbread houses to our Gingerbread House Celebration last December.  But perhaps even more stunning… the motivation that inspired them both.

Melissa Thomas, Koney Island Konfections

Melissa Thomas and Sarah Dutton are both mothers who have enjoyed bringing their children to our annual Children’s Arts Fair at the Gettysburg Festival.  They both mentioned how extremely thankful they felt, as their children created unique art projects, danced to musical performances, listened and participated in interactive story-telling and enjoyed countless other hands-on activities at several of our free Children’s Arts Fairs.  That thankfulness drove them both to create gingerbread houses and “give back” to our non-profit organization with gifts of gingerbread.

Sometimes those thankful, magical holiday moments are gone with the turn of the calendar to January.  But the Festival staff remains incredibly touched by these two women and their stories, especially since their spark of inspiration came from their children’s joy.  You see, the mission behind our Children’s Arts Fair is to “inspire a life-long appreciation and love of the arts.”  Apparently we’re reaching parents with this message too!

I encourage you to rediscover a connection to the arts in 2012, whether it’s actually playing music or creating artwork, or whether it’s listening to new types of music, visiting an art exhibit, or even becoming a “foodie”—all of which you can do at the upcoming Gettysburg Festival, by the way!  Finding the time to incorporate the arts into your life will enrich your life in a multitude of ways.  We can attest to that, first-hand, at Gettysburg Festival.

Inside View: Sarah Dutton's gingerbread greenhouse

 

By: Annie Marosits, Children’s Arts Fair Intern, Gettysburg College ’11

This year, the Gettysburg Festival’s Children’s Arts Fair will boast a Curious George-inspired day of fun, learning, and of course, art! Prepare yourself for projects that will evoke creativity, performances that are sure to wow, and thanks to media partner witf, a live Curious George character! We’re excited to have the inquisitive little monkey present at our fair, and interested to see what sort of shenanigans he’ll undoubtedly get into.

But here at the office, we got to wondering: How is it that this beloved childhood staple came to be?  We know of his antics; how George can do the naughty things your parents would have never allowed you do.  Paint the inside of your house, let the animals out of their pens, and disrupt the pizza man while he works. But where did he come from? I started researching, and thanks in large parts to Houghton Mifflin, discovered that George, and his creators, have quite the history.

Hans Agusto Rey and his wife, Margret Rey, are responsible for the creative character most of us remember growing up with. The couple reconnected, after a brief encounter years before, in 1935 in Rio de Janeiro.  Hans was selling bathtubs at the time.  They were married in August of that same year, and moved to Paris. There, after a French publisher had seen Hans’ giraffe drawings in a local newspaper, he was asked to write a children’s book.  Raffy and the Nine Monkeys was the result. George played a minor role in Hans’ first book, but he and Margret both agreed, the curious monkey deserved a story of his own.

However, the writing of George’s story came to a halt in 1940.  Hitler and his Nazi army were making their way to France, and both Hans and Margret were Jewish.  They fled the country on bicycles, leaving almost everything they owned behind.  They brought with them a few articles of clothing, a small ration of food, and five manuscripts—one of them, Curious George.

The Rey’s eventually made it safely to the United States, and continued to work on their story.  Hans was in charge of ideas and illustrations, and Margret worked on the plot and writing.  The result of the dynamic duos efforts? A contract with Houghton Mifflin in 1941, sparking a children’s book that has sold over twenty-five million copies!

But George has branched out, covering industries other than just literature. He’s been the star of a major motion picture, the hit feature of a television series, the face of childhood curiosity, and now, the theme of the Children’s Arts Fair in Gettysburg.  For a monkey that is originally from Africa, George has literally been around the world!  His book has been published in sixteen languages—a worldwide crowd pleaser.

Now that you know the history of the infamous monkey we’ve all come to know and love, be sure not to miss him during the Children’s Arts Fair, set for Friday, June 17 at the Festival Main Stage, Gettysburg College.  Admission and many of the activities are free; several activities require tickets ($1 each or 6/$5).  And children “of all ages” are sure to enjoy the timeless, classic theme of “Curious George.”