ArtsX wrapped up in a world of make believe

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“Make. Believe.” is the theme of the 13th annual ArtsX, a free, family-fun event that showcases the art, music and acting talents of Bowling Green State University students, faculty, alumni and staff. The event runs from 5-9 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 2) in the Wolfe Center for the Arts and the Fine Arts Center.

This year’s event features a shadow puppet production of Russian composer Igor Stravinsky’s “The Firebird,” presented by Madcap Productions Puppet Theatre, based in Cincinnati. Madcap’s associate artistic director is BGSU alumna Mel Hatch Douglas, who, with three of her colleagues, will present shows at 5:30 and 7 p.m. in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre in the Wolfe Center.  

“Madcap’s style is unique and fun for everyone,” Douglas said.  “Firebird uses a combination of actors and puppets in a colorful rendition of Stravinsky’s 28-minute piece.”

In addition to “The Firebird” shows, several other events will include puppetry during the ArtsX weekend, both on and off campus. From 4-5:30 p.m. Friday (Dec. 1), there will be a panel discussion titled “Puppetry: Telling the Story of Art and Life”” in the Wolfe Center’s Eva Marie Saint Theatre. Douglas, who graduated from BGSU in 1998, and Dr. Bradford Clark, a theatre professor, puppetry scholar and curator of the Henson exhibit at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, will talk about their experiences as storytellers and explain the significance of puppetry beyond entertainment for children. At 2 p.m. on Saturday in the Wood County District Public Library’s atrium, Douglas will present “Coat Stories,” a puppet performance for children. 

During ArtsX, the Wolfe Center lobby will be filled with puppet displays from previous BGSU productions, most notably “Frankenstein,” directed by Clark in 2014. He also will present puppet-carving demonstrations. Guests will have opportunities to make their own puppets in the Fine Arts Center and to make shadow puppets come to life in the Wolfe Center’s scene shop-turned puppet playground.

In addition to the magic of puppets, ArtsX features performances, exhibits and hands-on activities. Film buffs will enjoy the Cinema Salon, showing works by BGSU film students and faculty. The festive atmosphere also includes musical performances by College of Musical Arts students, and School of Art demonstrations of glass, printmaking, ceramics, photography, studio art, digital arts and augmented and virtual reality.  

Holiday shoppers can purchase handmade gifts crafted by BGSU art students, and participate in a silent auction hosted by the graphic design students.  

Also that evening, visit the opening of the annual Faculty and Staff Exhibition of mixed media, print, paint, glass and graphics in the Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery.

ArtsX is a creation of students and faculty from the College of Musical Arts, School of Art, the Department of Theatre and Film, and Creative Writing, as well as numerous student groups and clubs. It is free and open to the public.

Visit the ArtsX website for more details.