`penny’s parade journal, April 14, 2013:

One week to go—the countdown begins—the BIG puppets are in the repair shop and have been stripped of their costumes for major freshening up, and painting—the work tables are laden with a plethora of projects in the works—and it makes no sense, but is totally necessary for me to continue to add to the very-long, and likely incomplete to-do list.

First, I will wake up and write.

It’s an incredible morning in Traverse City, Michigan and as I sit sipping a good cup of coffee and collect my thoughts, easing myself into another day puppet and parade building I look out my bird-house window and watch the sun rise over Grand Traverse Bay.

Holy Moly! What a tremendous place to live on Earth!

This time of year I have a smidgen—bits’ and pieces of a view of this incredible body of fresh water, and the fine company of two BIG maple trees that are home to a plethora of feathered friends and squirrels.  Right now, they are singing up a storm….their morning songs, along with the big sky lighting up with seagulls crying out loud and long as they fly over…followed by and accompanied with a chorus of chips, tweets, bahhh-rings,  coo-coo-coos….in the trees.

Sunday 6:45 am, GTBay, bird song and the sun rise

Sunday 6:45 am, GTBay, bird song and the sun rise

The morning time is my favorite in this spot at my writing/drawing/coffee table in the company of those voices and before the car traffic begins along the bay.   Especially now, and even with the four inches of April snow that descended upon us this week, this waking up time is such a wondrous, yearly happening. And, is even more so because of my ritual of spring work with the Earth Day Parade…which actually began when there was more like a foot of snow still piled up on the garden and along the streets.

One of the parade artists working with me asked “after 13 years of doing this do you ever feel like you’re over it? or ready to call it quits?” First I laugh, because it is true.  Like any job, and especially one that is not necessarily embraced as “real work” I do get tired.   Planning, organizing and participating in community art and parade building IS work—in every sense of the word.  And, every year there are different experiences, new challenges, and likely a new crew of folks working alongside of me, and of course who knows what the weather will be like on parade day in Northern Michigan!

But I never get over it.  What always seems to happen, once the answer to that question surfaces—the embodied realization I have—is that doing this kind of community art and street theater work to celebrate our home-planet-Earth–is truly a BIGGER deal than any national or cultural holiday that I’ve ever taken time to observe and celebrate—let alone participate in!

Each of these 13 years, when I really look at the who/what/where and how of my experience doing this kind of “serious, ridiculous work”  I’m gifted with the bits and pieces that strung together equal an experience that is abundantly rich.  Our spring work of parade building and community gathering, has become a fantastic process of working alongside of nature, of what’s happening in relationship with the other-than human world–this gorgeous place I call “home”.  AND I’m creating this annual spring, community-wide tradition with dozens and dozens of others.  This is a community—of family, friends, young, old and in-between.  Some have entered the Earth Day parade building process as students or through a special residency program that Little Artshram has sponsored, some have moved away, grown-up, and re-entered from year to year.

Every parade-year is different—and like this changeable, transforming reminder that nature brings to Northern Michigan—part of what keeps us hopping and looking ahead is the letting go and fun of the wondering O’k what’s next????

So back to that list-bizness: TODAY: Find bamboo garden poles, get the BIG puppet costumes washed, Begin the papier maiche and painting repair work on those dear old puppets (Some are 13 years old!), Build more Dandelion and Robin headgear and work on the Gigantic Blooming Blossom….

That should keep me busy as the countdown continues!

Roy the Robin

Roy the Robin. Yesterday’s gem for my parade-build day, was working with Roy who was MORE than delighted to be a Robin in the Air section of the parade—which is all about how seeds are dispersed and carried from here to there. Roy is going to be a great Robin in the Earth Day Parade

We take ‘stuff’ and turn it into community art and street theater!

Earth Day Parade building workshop TODAY, April 14th Blackbird Arts, 1-4 pm..

It’s a lovely Sunday for folks to gather, listen to the storyboard of our 2012 parade theme, and then learn a bit about how Little Artshram and friends continues to invite and offer a spring gift of community art to Traverse City.

This year Blackbird Arts has joined our growing list of family and friends, and a special visiting artist, George Meyer, with many parade-building and puppet adventures is working side by side, parade artists of all ages building masks, costumes and non-motorized floats for our April 20th parade!

The “story” of “Seeds! Awesome Vessels of Power” is told in five chapters or sections of a parade….and it began with an idea—or a fact really that: seeds are awesome vessels of power.

Join us in our puppet and parade building adventures and we hope to see you on parade day! Here’s parade day info: https://www.facebook.com/events/553910461319699/




Earth Day Parade week journal: “Do you ever feel like you’re “over it”?LittleArtshram.org

Many of us that garden-farm-grow our own food in our North West Michigan area have already begun planting seeds and tending to seedlings in our indoor green spaces and greenhouses.

We are looking forward to a full summer of creative garden tending and food growing, learning alongside of our community of folks, big and small through our Summer Camps, permaculture classes and workshops, and outreach programs in neighborhood and community gardens.

Free the Seed-Dandilion People

The Air-Section of the parade is being designed to tell the story of the powerful urge of seeds to be set free….how they know the ways in which to disperse….and what a wonderful, natural garden our planet truly is!

BUT, first we are going to build a parade—which is honoring the awesome power of seeds—the incredible vessels of wonderment that they are—and how very much we need to know about protecting, preserving and saving the seeds that we humans and many other species on planet Earth depend upon!

SO—join us at any of our workshops and get yourself decked out as a seed-loving-human!

AND, because it does take a whole village to build a garden of a parade, here’s a humble request from the Little Artshram board, which we ask you to consider responding to and also share with others!

Happy seed-planting!

`penny Krebiehl, Directress Little Artshram

and Seed-planting, puppet and mask-maker!


HOW-to build a Dandelion People headgear….
Step one—a nice sheet of cardboard and a good sharp cutting tool….Draw a circle about 18 inches in diameter then, sun-ray style cut out spokes all around the rim….

Hello Friends!

We are reaching out to those who know how much the Annual Earth Day Parade brings to the Grand Traverse community.  This year the parade will on April 20–just three weeks away, and the parade crew being led by our guest artist George Meyer and Penny Krebiehl have been busily tending to the design of the storyboard, setting up shop at our workshop sites and delving into the parade-building tasks!

Please consider a contribution to meet our actual costs and bring this wonderful event completely to life!

Check out this video: http://youtu.be/tl_dcZ_enGY

We are asking 250 of our friends to contribute $20 each to meet our budget for this year (donations of any size are OK!)  Here’s more info on that wonderful opportunity: http://www.littleartshram.org/?p=1830

AND for folks who wish to give to this parade electronically:


Our website gives lots of details: www.littleartshram.org including an introduction to our visiting puppeteer and artist, George Meyer from Heart of the Beast Theater in Minneapolis, MN!

You will also find workshop opportunities to join in “building” the parade at the website, and information about another community effort to help us celebrate with the Tour de Traverse and Dirt Fest on NMC’s campus (details here: www.nmc.edu/dirtfest)

Here is the link which outlines the volunteer opportunities and the various shifts needed to support our great parade-building efforts:  http://littleartshram.volunteerlocal.com/volunteer/?start_over&id=2353

Many many thanks, for your contribution to our wonderful gift to the community!

Sincerely, from the Little Artshram Board,

Rokko Jans, Flint Horton, Lindy Barnes and Penny Krebiehl

Little Artshram

Box 844

Traverse City, MI 49685

P.S. If you prefer to use a credit card, please go to www.causes.com and enter Little Artshram in the search box, and follow the link to “2013 four seasons of Little Artshram goodness”


HOW-to build a Dandilion People headgear….
Step Two: It’s okay that the outside edges of the cardboard are squared off, cause it’s meant to resemble the petals/edge of a dandelion….take a minute to imagine those lovely yellow flowers and how their petals may look like this chunk of cardboard! IMAGINE! Have faith—-you are creating a flower!

















HOW-to build a Dandelion People headgear….
Step Three: Cut a straight line up through and to the center of the dandelion. Pull one side of the cut edge over to the other–overlapping it so it becomes umbrella-like… and staple it into place.


Step Four: Build your beanie-cap headgear–to fit your very own noggin and attach it securely to the dandelion. Need instructions on making a beanie cap? Go to: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150179186680503.424527.122677780502&type=3


Step Five: cut cardboard strips and bend and twist into “pollen fronds” aka stamens….cut slits into the top of the flower and poke them through…secure them with tape and hot glue.


Step Six: Find three (or more) energetic friends who like to “get into the goop” to help papier maiche! We used a nice, heavy colored paper in a lovely dandelion yellow to papier maiche—eliminating the need to paint our headgear!


Step Seven: Admire your work and the incredible beauty of a dandelion! Next step: deck yourself out for the parade: April 20th—-meetup @ Oryana Co-op @ 11:30 am!












Spring! Seeds! Parade! Yippee!LittleArtshram.org

NEXT PLANNING MEETING, Wednesday, March 13th, 6 pm, @ Horizon Books…

Grand Traverse Earth Day Parade and Celebration; Community Planning Meeting,

Wednesday, February 27th, 6 pm, Horizon Book Store, lower level,

Traverse City, Michigan

Meeting Info/Agenda: Eday Fish-Headgear in the Looking Glass

Highlighting: NEW! Earth Day Parade Route: Beginning @ Oryana, Lake St., crossing 8th Street, to Lake, to Cass, to State, to Park, to Front, to Union, to State, to Cass, to Lake, crossing 8th Street to Lake and Oryana.

1. Introductions

2.  Earth Day Celebration collaborators:

Little Artshram: The 24 Year Grand Traverse Earth Day Parade tradition continues to be a welcoming of Spring community wide celebration that is a free annual event in Traverse City.  The Earth Day parade is a storytelling parade with 5+ sections in the parade this year, designed around the theme of “Seeds! Awesome Vessels of Power” (inspired by the work of our friends @ HOBT.org) focusing on celebrating and educating ourselves about seeds and soil and the importance of all the species associated with plants and the earth itself.  As a human species, we plan and prepare to transform ourselves for one day into an other-than-human species and take to the streets, celebrating our blessed place on the planet near Grand Traverse Bay. In 2002, Little Artshram was gifted with the organizational tasks of the Earth Day parade from the Neahtawanta Center and performs the following role and tasks as the organizer of this event:

  •         Initiates community planning meeting/sets framework
  •         Schedules and organizes all free public parade-building workshops
  •         Hires parade artistic staff, parade section leader for each section of parade and to work at the public workshops
  •         Gathers/purchases all supplies, materials and needs for puppet and mask building
  •         Purchases and holds parade-in the streets liability insurance policy
  •         Schedules on-site presentations/workshops @ schools/for various organizations
  •         Hosts and heads-up all parade day activties/secures permits, ect…
  •         Fundraising (Spring Community Sing! Fundraiser on March 20th) and fiduciary for parade and workshops

NMC-Student Life Organization:

The NMC SLO offers the Dirt Fest as a free earth day celebration with a vision of communicating to our student body and community members as how to get involved with a multitude of environmental issues, both locally and globally, through a dialogue with music, art and small interactive workshops. The addition of the Dirt Fest to the Earth Day Parade celebration is a welcome, and enlivening way for the college age youth and faculty of NMC to get directly involved with our Earth Day Parade and we are so happy for this collaboration to emerge!

More on the NMC Student Life Organization here:  https://www.nmc.edu/student-services/student-life/index  More information specifically on the bike-brigade and after-parade Dirt Fest events forthcoming!


Oryana Natural Food Cooperative:

Oryana is a longtime community supporter of the Earth Day Parade and has agreed to be the start-up/ending point and parade head for our 2013 Eday parade.  With the parade route changed up a bit this year, and with the NMC students involved in the “after-party” we’ll be working with Oryana to set up guidelines for car-pooling/parking alternatives, and brainstorming ways in which to shuttle folks over to NMC from the Oryana neighborhood to the Welcome Center where the Dirt Fest will take place.

Blackbird Arts (confirmed):

Blackbird Arts has generously offered to join the Eday fun and host our Earth Day Parade Community Art Studio.  Blackbird Arts is located at 1485 Barlow Street in Traverse City. We will begin our free public workshops on the weekend, directly following the “Spring Community Sing” fundraiser on March 20th.  Public workshops will begin on Saturday, March 23rd– through the weekend of April 13th.  The workshops will take place on Saturday, from 10 am until Noon and 1 pm until 3 pm; and on Sunday from 1 pm- until 3 pm.  We are also planning for a Spring Break week of parade building from March 25th through March 29th—details/plans forthcoming.

Great Lakes Children’s Museum (pending confirmation):

Great Lakes Children’s Museum hosted a parade building workshop in 2012 and is again considering their schedule to host a series of three (3) puppet and mask building workshops this year.  The workshops are being scheduled for Wednesdays after-school, from 4-6 pm, April 3, 10th and 17th.  The Great Lakes Children’s Museum is located at 13240 SW Bayshore Dr., Traverse City.

Grand Traverse County Senior Center (pending/fundraising needed):

The GT County Senior Center, located at 801 East Front Street, Traverse City offers their community room for consideration of holding our “Spring Community Sing” fundraiser, and also possibily hosting a few parade building workshops to include our community  elders in our parade and celebration.

The Grand Traverse Circuit (pending discussion):

The Grand Traverse Circuit has been contacted to possibly host the “Spring Community Sing”, and is located at 225 W 14th Street in Traverse City.  More info and further planning in process with Tara Carrol.  The Circuit’s mission is to provide a quality venue for the community, and facilitate experiential events in the cultural/performing arts, wellness, and educational areas.


We hope to bring the good garbage art folks at SCRAP into the Eday Community Art Studio’s with some of their wonderful scrappy, puppet and mask making goodies.  SCRAP TC is located 821 Garfield (by the UPS store)= accepting donations Saturdays 12-4pm; We are an emerging community re-use center and educational non-profit that hopes to provide artistic inspiration to people of all ages.


In addition to our wonderful Parade Section Bands, this year Heather Kingham of TC Sings! will join us to discuss the possibilities of adding “Seed Singing Choirs” to this years’ parade!

TC Sings! is an inclusive choir community, welcoming all voices and all people, singing songs from a variety of world cultures and traditions in three- and four-part harmony. Everything is taught orally; there is no need to read music, and no previous singing experience is required. 

TC Sings! is a member of the Ubuntu Choirs Network. Singing is our birthright; all voices are welcome. TC Sings! is a choir for men and women who are new to singing, as well as those who’ve been singing their whole lives. We are not affiliated with any particular religion or spiritual path, but seek to celebrate humanity’s highest aspirations through music. Heather Kingham (503) 422-6515 or heather@tcsings.org

MORE FOLKS AND BUSINESSES are warmly invited!

Additional Earth Day Parade & Celebration collaborations welcome!…..

3.  General Parade info:

Saturday, April 20th, Bad weather date is April 27th, 2013

Parade Line-up @ 11:30 pm

Parade Begins @ 12:30 pm

3 Simple Parade Rules, for safety on the streets:

No pets, No words (no signs), No motors (except for wheelchairs)

2013 Parade theme: “Seeds! Awesome Vessels of Power”

Focusing on seeds and soil….

Our Storytelling Parade has 5 Sections PLUS a Bike Brigade

Fire, Water, Center, Air, Earth, Bike Brigade

4.  NEW! Parade Route:

Beginning @ Oryana, Lake St., crossing 8th Street, to Lake, to Cass, to State, to Park, to Front, to Union, to State, to Cass, to Lake, crossing 8th Street to Lake and Oryana.

5. Fundraiser, Spring Community Sing, Wednesday March 20th (UPDATED)

Purpose:  To raise funds for workshop/insurance & rental fees/parade building materials/visiting artist stipends

Venue ideas:  TC Senior Center $100, Blackbird Arts, The Circuit, and…..

Time: t/b/d

Song Leading Guild: Dede Alderman, Rokko Jans, Carol Laughing Waters….Heather of TC Sings!

Music makers: Zach Power, Rokko Jans and….

6.  The March 20th event fundraiser is working w/ Little Artshram board’s fundraising efforts to begin a Kickstarter (or like) campaign for Eday….

Normally, Little Artshram donates about 75% of the actual budget to the creation, sponsorship and organization of this annual event.  We’ve done this kind of community  give-back since 2001 and while we are committed to doing the work to hold this parade, we can’t continue to take on anymore debt.  We wish the parade to be self-sustaining and have an even longer life in the Tc/GT area, and we know that the Traverse City community looks forward to this longtime annual spring celebration.

The Earth Day parade takes full-time direction from February through parade day and into the last week of April and we are working to bring in parade artists this year to put together a fantastic celebration.

In order to improve from where we are, building on the incredible community work thus far, AND to remain the change-making organization we are, the Little Artshram board/fundraising committee is hosting a community-wide/on-line fundraiser with a goal of reaching 100 sponsors willing to gift this longtime event and the organization, $100 each, to cover ALL of the true costs and expenses.

The 100/$100 Donations can also be made directly to Little Artshram via snail mail:  Little Artshram/2013 Earth Day Parade and Celebration, P.O. Box 844, Traverse City, MI 49685




2013 Earth Day Parade and Celebration planning meeting tonight… Feb. 27th @ 6 pmLittleArtshram.org


2013 marks the 20th Anniversary Year for ARTSPACE and Little Artshram and we have four seasonal themed events happening for our friends, family, and neighbors and we’d like to meet and welcome even more:

Spring 2013- Beginning in late February we will be offering our annual services as a puppet and mask-making “factory” creating new puppets and repairing the old for a fresh walk along the streets of Traverse City as we celebrate the 24th Annual Grand Traverse Earth Day Parade on SATURDAY, APRIL 20th, 2013.  Preparations and collaborations are underway to make this the BEST Earth Day Parade ever in North West Michigan.

On May 5th we will join a world-wide celebration for International Permaculture Day, with special events and perma-blitzing happening all over the Grand Traverse Region with our “Sibling Organizations”.  Check the website for details, as collaborative plans unfold!

IMG_3173 Summer 2013-  We are scheduling five (5) weeks of permaculture Summer Camp for children and youth, 5 years and older, which will begin in Mid-June and continue being offered through August.

Our 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 2013 summer camps will focus on a fun, and informative exploration of permaculture. We will be sharing a powerful set of “learning tools” to grow our own food in “tame” gardens, and gather food in “wild” gardens. We’ll share 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!

Late Summer or Early Fall 2013- Little Artshram is pleased to announce to all Michigan-area permaculture friends, that we are working toward the objective of hosting the first Michigan-area Permaculture Convergence.  We invite Michiganders and Mid-Western folk to participate in the initial brainstorming and planning to define this event, and to continue joining in on the process as it unfolds! The idea of this convergence is to offer a new community-building/community-training vision, We will select a site and invite the permaculture designers in the area to create a space for the event to showcase permaculture elements.

When the convergence is over the infrastructure will be left behind for the community to use. This also creates a low impact event on the land being used for the site. It will also serve as an example for the community of a large event with a very small footprint.  Next year, the convergence will move to a new Michigan/Mid West community and repeat the process.

This is an enormous opportunity to fuse and highlight the incredible permaculture activity throughout Michigan and possibly the multi-state region.

Winter 2013- In late November, we will be celebrating Little Artshram’s 20th Anniversary of being one of the MOST active and awesome “little” non-profits in Michigan with a “BIG Hairy Deal Pie-Social and Square Dance” Fun-raiser.  Please consider joining us as a sponsor and definitely as a guest! Stay posted for details and the final date tba.

Whole World Seed Bank  We THANK YOU with depths of gratitude from our Little Artshram hearts, for your long-time consideration and support of our efforts and many successes in bringing folks of all ages together in all sorts of creative ways in our various adventures across the whole State of Michigan–or at least from Lansing to Traverse City! 

We’ve had a plethora of amazing children, some of who are “all grown up” now out in the big-wide world.  Some of our young friends are beginning to teach in Little Artshram programs, or start their own!  We’ve had SO many fine folks involved with our organization, through our board members, teachers and presenters, apprentices and mentors, and very grateful for the many, many ways that you all have supported us!

THANK YOU!  AND, Please stand by for more details, or jump in and get involved in 2013!

2013: Four Seasons of Little Artshram Goodness in Traverse City and North West MichiganLittleArtshram.org


Little Artshram is pleased to announce to all Michigan-area permaculture friends:

YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED! We are working toward the objective of hosting the first Michigan-area Permaculture Convergence.  We invite your participation in this initial brainstorming and planning to define this event.  An introduction and agenda follows:

Michigan/Mid West Permaculture Convergence:  The idea of this convergence is to offer a new community-building/community-training vision, We will select a site and invite the permaculture designers in the area to create a space for the event to showcase permaculture elements.

When the convergence is over the infrastructure will be left behind for the community to use. This also creates a low impact event on the land being used for the site. It will also serve as an example for the community of a large event with a very small footprint.

Next year, the convergence will move to a new Michigan/Mid West community and repeat the process.

Join us for the upcoming meeting on Jan. 14th in Traverse City, @ 514 Second St., in the Alley 6 pm—-just behind Salon Verve and to the east off the corner of Oak/Second/Randolph Sts. Parking available behind the empty chiropractors’ office.


Michigan Permaculture Convergence 2013

Planning Meeting, Monday, January 14, 2013 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Little Artshram in Traverse City, Michigan

& via Skype

We are working toward the objective of hosting the first Michigan-area Permaculture Convergence. We want & need your participation to do the initial brainstorming and planning to define this event. Please join us!

This is an enormous opportunity to fuse and highlight the incredible permaculture activity throughout Michigan and possibly the multi-state region.


Introductions Who are you? Why are you here? What

do you want to see come out of this?

What are the goals & objectives of the Convergence?

Showcase? Inform? Teach? Convert ?

What should the format be?

Meet & greet? Project showcase? TEDlike?

Attract newbies? Exhibition?

Vendors? Training? All of the above?

How long should the Convergence be?

Weekend or week-days?

Who is our target audience?

What attendance might we anticipate?

What region should we cover? State-wide? Regional (e.g. MI, IN, OH, WI, MN…)

Where should this be held? NW Michigan? Central to state or

region? Where there are lots of permaculture sites to showcase?

When should it be? Should it be tied to external events

(equinox, planting time, harvest)

Consider also recurring timing of annual event.

Identify marketing, funding & participation ideas

How do we draw a large group?

Anticipated cost and factors?

Who wants to help plan this?

Who will project manage?

What are next steps, critical paths and timing?

Other considerations?

Meeting Facilitator: tba

Little Artshram is honored to participate and act as Convergence fiduciary.

Thanks to all for your enthusiastic response to this idea. Please continue to share and invite others…

NOTE: If you would like to connect via Skype contact:

penny@littleartshram.org  OR  penny.ok.art@gmail.com



Little Artshram to help craft a plan for a 2013 Michigan Permaculture ConvergenceLittleArtshram.org