Origami butterflies will be a fun project at Saturday’s Kids Arts Fest in Schenectady


Betsy Sandberg knows a good idea when she hears one, and Margie Amodeo’s idea of ​​putting origami butterflies on bobby pins was clearly inspired.

Sandberg, director of the Kids Arts Fest in downtown Schenectady, first heard about the idea for this year’s event, she had an immediate reaction.

“Of course I love it,” said Sandberg, who was forced to push Kids Arts Fest 2021 from June to this Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “And it made me think of the struggles that caterpillars go through to become butterflies. something better.”

Amodeo, coordinator at Union College’s Kelly Adirondack Center, felt the monarch butterfly story was a perfect and fun solution for these trying times.

“I have about 1,000 bobby pins ready for this, and I thought the sight of kids pinning the origami butterflies to their clothes and then running around covered with them would be a lot of fun,” Amodeo said. “A few years ago we made owl masks, and it was somewhat successful. I think Monarchs would also be a big hit, and it also encourages kids to do their part as active citizen scientists.

Amodeo and a handful of volunteers from the Kelly Adirondack Center along with a group of students from Union College will have two tables set up on Jay Street outside of City Hall to help kids with their creations. They will also be an educational component.

“We’ll talk about Journey North, a group that monitors monarch migration, and we’ll encourage kids to monitor that project as well and search for the butterflies themselves,” Amodeo said. “They can actually follow the migration of monarchs and think about what plants they can grow in their garden and how to carefully choose the herbicide they use. Monarchs are in trouble right now, and we need to remind us that any native species, such as milkweed, will help sustain them.

Some monarch butterflies support migrations of 3,000 miles.

“It’s totally amazing how they ride the currents, and a lot of them migrate back and forth,” Amodeo said. “Some people don’t. Milkweed and other native plants are a lifeline for monarchs making this trip. We try to get kids to appreciate that and think about what they can do to have a positive effect.

Amodeo said the opportunity for the Kelly Adirondack Center to be part of Kids Arts Fest is something she always looks forward to.

“It really is a special event for us,” she said. “Generally, we tend to serve more the university community and our continuing education groups, most of the time we deal with older people. We are also currently closed to the public due to COVID, so today is a very big day for us. It’s a great communication opportunity. »

Making butterflies won’t be the only fun activity for kids on Saturday. Members of Universal Preservation Hall’s Rock Camp will kick off the festivities with a noon show, and that’s just one of the musical offerings. Dueling Saxophones will have 50 recorders on site to teach children how to play, and the Arts-in-Education program by Alex Torres and his Latin Orchestra will make its first appearance at Kids Arts Fest.

In addition to creating butterflies and tie-dye masks, kids can make their own drums and do their own street art with the help of Oscar Bogran. Other groups involved in the Kids Arts Fest include the Boys and Girls Clubs of Schenectady, the Electric City Barn, the Electric City Puppets, the Hamilton Hill Arts Center, and the New York State Folklore Society.

Hatice Erbas-Sorkunlu, an Ebru artist from Turkey, will work with the New York State Folklore Society to teach children the Turkish art of cini, also known as “paper marbling.”

The Kids Arts Fest has been held continuously since 1994, although last year’s event was virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Kids Arts Fest was started by former Schenectady Mayor Karen B. Johnson along with Janet Hutchison, Joan Gould and Eli I. Taub. Hutchison owns the Open Door bookstore, Gould was director of the Scotia-Glenville Children’s Museum, and Taub was a local attorney and Schenectady County Family Court judge.

“This year, we have a great mix of old-time favorites and new art activities that let our imaginations soar,” Sandberg said. “Seriously, I never thought we could top the 25th anniversary, but I think this one is going to be fabulous because of the activities of the Kelly Center and all the other groups we’ve been involved with.”

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Categories: Art, Life and Arts


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