Local artist prepares for Giant Puppet Project

Puppets created with Honey for the Heart are shown in Ohio in October 2013. Honey for the Heart is a community art project, brainchild of Patty Mitchell and Robert Lockheed, and sponsored by the Ohio University Learning Community Programs and Arts for Ohio.

Local artist MK MacNaughton is gearing up for a major art project that brings together creativity, community, and inclusiveness -- on a grand scale.


MacNaughton has organized a month-long artist residency that involves the creation of giant, wearable puppets. The project includes a visit from three out-of-state artists, as well as community performances and a month-long workshop. MacNaughton said engaging different segments of the community is one of the goals she had in mind when deciding to launch her plan.

“My hope is that people of all ages and abilities will join the workshops and surprise themselves with creations beyond imagination,” MacNaughton said. “I truly believe that everyone is an artist, and I’m looking forward to spending a month celebrating community through the process of inventing and bringing to life giant puppets. The goal really is to just have fun.”

MacNaughton also launched the idea as a way to celebrate her 50th birthday, observed earlier this month.

The project will begin with a workshop that stretches over a month-long period beginning Jan. 15. MacNaughton and visiting artists Patty Mitchell, Robert Lockheed and Daniel Polanu will set up a work space in the Flight Deck restaurant space in the Merchant’s Wharf Mall (donated by the Hangar and with the support of other local businesses), where they will welcome the public to come build giant puppets, receiving help on engineering and artistry if they like. Mitchell, Lockheed and Polanu are expert puppet makers who have been creating large-scale works of wearable art for several years through their collaborative art residency, Honey for the Heart.

The second phase of the project is to display the puppets publicly through at least two major local events: the Governor’s Awards for the Arts awards ceremony at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center Jan. 29, and the Wearable Arts Extravaganza Feb. 14 and 15, probably in the form of a pre-show performance. MacNaughton said some of the puppets will need to be wind- and waterproof so that they can be used outdoors.

All stages of the project will be open to participants of all ages, as well as families, school groups and community organizations.

MacNaughton is currently raising funds through a Kickstarter campaign, which ends Sunday, Dec. 21. She’s already more than halfway toward her goal of $8,500. Money raised will pay for the visiting artists and supplies and ensure that the workshops will be free to everyone. MacNaughton plans to donate the money she isn’t able to raise.

This weekend, MacNaughton will also be raising money through the JAHC’s “Naughty & Nice” event on Saturday, Dec. 20, from 5:30-7:30, with a selection of original prints donated by Roger and Terry Shattuck available for purchase to benefit the project. Offerings will include stone lithographs, embossed and silkscreened prints, watercolors, hand colored etchings, and more by Bill C. Ray, Rie Munoz, Dale DeArmond, Byron Birdsall, Claire Fejes, Melvin Olana and others.

MacNaughton will also host a studio art sale at Sketch, (behind Kenny’s Wok & Teriyaki) on Monday, Dec 22, from 4-8 p.m. Sketch will also be open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. weekdays through Christmas. All the art in the studio is pay-as-you-like; donations benefit the Giant Puppet Project.

Find out more about MacNaughton at www.mkmacnaughton.com.


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