Be a part of the parade-week preparations. Join us, for any of these special gatherings and workshops:

MONDAY:  April 23rd, Fish Mask & Headgear Workshop, Great Lakes Children’s Museum, 3-6 pm 13240 S. West Bay Shore Dr.

TUESDAY:  April 24th, Earth Day FUNraiser @ Old Town Coffee and Eatery! Special music, 5-8 pm, 517 S. Union St.,  by Earth Day Parade Bands & Seed-Ball making projects

WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY:  April 25th & 26th BIG Puppet Repair & Parade Building Workshops @ The Good Works Collective, 3-6 pm, 417 S. Union St.
FRIDAY:  April 27th, NMEAC Environmentalist of the Year Award @ the Park Place, 6-8 pm, 300 E. Park St.

SATURDAY:  April 28th, EARTH DAY PARADE DAY! Meet @ Central Grade School, corner of 7th & Pine Sts. @ 12 noon, parade 1-3 pm, Community Picnic & Special Family Music Concert @ Hannah Park afterwards.

PARADE ROUTE:  Corner of 7th and Pine St. to 8th to Union to State to Park to Front to Union,, ending at Hannah Park for a Community Picnic and Family Music Concert

2012 Grand Traverse Earth Day Parade news…

We are pleased to once again offer our long-time Summer Permaculture Camps for kids…seriously it’s the best camp we’ve ever been to!
What is permaculture?  We’ll provide two very easy definitions, one for the adults that may be reading this, and another for children.

Here’s the adult definition, shared by Claudia Joseph: “Permaculture is more than just good gardening. It is a life long approach to analysis, action and social structures that results in better relationships, more functional systems and a clearer understanding of everything necessary for human communities to thrive.”

AND, here is our Little Artshram version of permaculture for children:  Permaculture is an introduction to observing and mimicking nature or learning nature’s language(s), including herbalism, and earth skills.

Little Artshram camps are a creative, outdoor experience focused on discovering the intelligence of nature at work, care-taking the Earth and giving something back, with an emphasis on natural art, cooperative games and hands-on activities.

The 2012 summer camps will focus on a fun, and informative exploration of permaculture. We will be sharing a powerful set of art-making and nature skills that are sure to awaken a deeper understanding  of our connection to each other and to the outside world, by being outdoors all day long!

The Summer Camps will be held in a new location in our beloved Munson Woods, near the Village of Grand Traverse Commons, with over a hundred-acres hard-wood forest to explore!  We will be meeting outside of Higher Grounds Coffee Roastery each morning to begin our daylong adventures in the woods.

Children and youth 5 and older, have THREE weeks to choose from: June 25-29, July 9-13, August 13-17, each camp meets M-F, from 9 am to 3 pm.

The Summer camps will provide one to two permaculture trained, adult educators, with two, trained assistants, for each group of 24 children.

Summer Camp Fee:  $150.00 per week.
Registration open NOW!


2012 Little Artshram Summer Camps for children, registration open!

Little Artshram is excited to hold a very special week of workshops and events  to prepare for the 23rd Annual Earth Day Parade with the Great Lakes Children’s Museum, the Old Town Coffee & Eatery, and the Good Works Collective!

JOIN US in this annual much loved community event!

Here’s info on the first of our EARTH DAY & PARADE WEEK EVENTS at the                Great Lakes Children’s Museum on, Monday, April 23rd, from 3:00 until 6:00 pm.

This workshop is offered for children and families to build a mask or headgear for the Grand Traverse Earth Day Parade, which  will place in downtown Traverse City on April 28th.

This year’s parade theme is:  “The Great Lakes: Our Living Water” and we will focus on the fish of the Great Lakes, with ideas presented by the parade artists for children and their families to consider.

Children under the age 9 bring an adult helper please!

We welcome teen and adult volunteers to meet with us at 1:30pm to assist in the workshop.

Fee:  Suggested donation of $10 per mask/costume to the Earth Day Parade. Little Artshram accepts Bay Bucks, our local currency.

No one will be turned away due to lack of funds.

NOTE: The Children’s Museum will not be open during this special workshop.

Contact us for details on other workshops & happening during Earth Day & Parade Week!
ALL week long, special gatherings and workshops, here’s a quick peek:

MONDAY:  April 23rd, Fish Mask & Headgear Workshop, Great Lakes Children’s Museum, 3-6 pm
TUESDAY:  April 24th, Earth Day Funraiser @ Old Town Coffee and Eatery! 5-8 pm
WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY:  April 25th & 26th BIG Puppet Repair & Parade Building Workshops @ The Good Works Collective 3-6 pm
FRIDAY:  April 27th, NMEAC Environmentalist of the Year Award @ the Park Place, 6-8 pm
SATURDAY:  April 28th, EARTH DAY PARADE DAY, meet @ Central Grade School @ noon, parade 1-3 pm, Community Picnic & Special Family Music Concert @ Hannah Park after the parade!

Grand Traverse Earth Day & Parade Week Events…

For 12 years, Little Artshram has helped inspire folks to step out on the streets of Traverse City for an annual spring celebration in recognition with Earth Day events nation-wide.

This year our parade theme is “The Great Lakes: Our Living Water” and it may be of interest to spend a little time acknowledging the difference between this people-powered parade and some of the others that take place in the region, like the longtime and well-loved National Cherry Festival.  What is it that inspires human beings to dress up as other than human species and take to the streets?

In consideration of the history of parades and spectacles  and asking the BIG why and where do parading life-size puppets and masked characters enter into our lives, here’s an exerpt from “VOICING AN OTHER: UTILIZING PUPPETRY AND PAGEANTRY FOR COMMUNITY-BASED SPECTACLE IN AMERICA” by Ethan Koerner:

“They [Puppets] ask that we actively manufacture belief. The puppet relies on the audience’s assistance. Its face never changes or exhibits feeling. It doesn’t glance or transform. Nothing happens without the audience willing it to be so.
And this, it seems to me, is the gift of the puppet: the gentle reminder that belief is an exercise, a willful act of consciousness that we can employ to transform our reality. -Jim Lasko, Artistic Director of Redmoon.

Puppetry in America over the past fifty years has been largely defined by television shows aimed at children’s education or by live performances supporting those television endeavors. Following the examples set forth by Jim Henson, mainstream children’s television has embraced the puppet wholeheartedly, making it a commonplace image in many households.

There exists in America another approach toward puppetry, however. Companies such as Bread and Puppet, based in Vermont, In the Heart of the Beast, based in Minneapolis, and Redmoon Theater, based in Chicago, have embraced a far different aesthetic, choosing instead to focus on community engagement and community-based performance, utilizing grassroots performance models and recycling materials to create massive indoor and outdoor spectacles.

The purpose of the massive spectacles is to build, promote, and/or serve communities, providing a voice for healing, renewal, and transformation. In her book Local Acts: Community-Based performance in the United States Jan Cohen-Cruz points to three trends in the development of contemporary community-based performance: [A]ctivist performance as vigorous support for or opposition to sociopolitical circumstances; grassroots performance to retain and express collective identity grounded in tradition or place; and experimentation characterized by art blurred with life, whose everydayness welcomes broader participation and shapes and expands aesthetic impulses….

And now, for a bit of GT Earth Day parade fun….we wonder if can you identify this Fish-Man?

So shall we begin to allow for a sense of appreciation, awe and wonder to emerge as we begin to design and build our masks and costumes for the 2012 Earth Day Parade on April 28th? We invite folks to consider becoming fish and other Great Lakes inspired species for a day!

According to the revised edition of FISHES OF THE GREAT LAKES REGION, which has illustrations and descriptions of over 200 fish species in the Great Lakes, “…few regions of the world are so richly and diversely endowed with fresh water as is the basin of the incomparable Great Lakes, and in few regions of the temperate world can such a varied representation of freshwater fishes be found…..”

MORE Great Lakes facts to inspire:

Lake Michigan, the second largest Great Lake by volume with just under 1,180 cubic miles of water, is the only Great Lake entirely within the United States. Approximately 118 miles wide and 307 miles long, Lake Michigan has more than 1,600 miles of shoreline. Averaging 279 feet in depth, the lake reaches 925 feet at its deepest point. The lake’s northern tier is in the colder, less developed upper Great Lakes region, while its more temperate southern basin contains the Milwaukee and Chicago metropolitan areas. The drainage basin, approximately twice as large as the 22,300 square miles of surface water, includes portions of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. Lake Michigan is hydrologically inseparable from Lake Huron, joined by the wide Straits of Mackinac.

Great Lake name origins:

Lake Erie
from Erie tribe, a shortened form of the Iroquoian word erielhonan “long tail”

Lake Huron
named by French explorers for inhabitants in the area, Wyandot or “Hurons”

Lake Michigan
likely from the Ojibwa word mishigami “great water”

Lake Ontario
Wyandot (Huron) word ontarío “Lake of Shining Waters” (ontara “beautiful”, ontario “beautiful lake”)

Lake Superior
English translation of French term “lac supérieur” “upper lake”, referring to its position above Lake Huron. The Ojibwe people called it gitchigumi

Here’s a link for news about our 2012 parade building workshops and activities, with more details to follow:

On Puppets, Parades and our inspirational Living Waters: The Great