As new members of our Chatham County community, Chatham Park is powering our Go See This series this year because art is an integral part of Chatham County’s identity. They join us in inviting you to Go See This . . .
With COVID still very much a reality, we’ve decided to switch things up yet again for ClydeFEST, our traditional kids’ arts carnival celebrating folk artist Clyde Jones. After the success of our virtual ClydeFEST in 2020, we’ve decided to safely up the ante this year and host ClydeFEST in a brand new way: out in the wild!
We, at Chatham Arts Council, felt it was really important to continue to bring the joy of ClydeFEST to the community, despite the challenges of the pandemic. “Our community has demonstrated over the years that they really appreciate the joy that ClydeFEST brings, and creating joy seemed especially important during the pandemic.” notes Chatham Arts Council Events Coordinator, Julie Amani. “Anything that brings a little sparkle into our lives when times are tough is a good thing.”
This year, we are spreading the ClydeFEST love across Chatham County, with five in-person events planned, starting on Tuesday, April 20. By creating multiple events, including some that require people to sign up for slots to attend, we are able to keep the events smaller, allowing physical distancing. “All of the positive feedback we received from offering ANYTHING at all last year, when the world was on lockdown, inspired us to keep it going this year, even though it is still not possible to hold a full festival,” notes Julie. “Now that we know more about how the virus spreads, and as people receive vaccines and the world slowly opens up, we saw that holding these physically distanced, smaller activities was possible to do in a safe way.”
In addition to bringing the beloved critter cut-out painting out into parks on both sides of the county, ClydeFEST will also be teaming up with our Chatham Artists-in-Schools Initiative to bring some live performances to Chatham neighborhoods, starting with a live performance by Diali Cissokho, truck-and-trailer style. Diali will travel through the neighborhoods of Loves’ Creek and Pony Farm Road in western Chatham–and the neighborhoods of Nature Trail and Briar Chapel in northeastern Chatham–sharing the music of West Senegal. Diali has long been one of the teaching musicians for our Artists-in-Schools Initiative, and he is known county-wide for the loving spirit that infuses his music and his personality, so including him in the ClydeFEST events seemed like a natural fit.
“This year’s Artists-in-Schools program went virtual to accommodate at-home and hybrid learning and to protect children and families by maintaining physical distancing standards. While we were delighted to be able to offer any kind of residency with the schools, there is still something very special about seeing and interacting with a performing artist in person,” notes Julie.
“The initial plan was to only have teaching musician, Diali Cissokho, roving through school neighborhoods as part of Artists-in-Schools. When we saw that the timeline was lining up with the ClydeFEST dates, we thought, ‘Why not invite the wonderful Takiri Folklorico dancers who usually perform at ClydeFEST? And why not throw in some giant bubbles? Let’s make a mini-parade!’ Our finished product will hopefully be a fun and safe hybrid of both programs that spreads the hope of Artists-in-Schools and the joy of ClydeFEST throughout the county!” CAC is extra thankful to The Jester Group at Baird for sponsoring these neighborhood Roving Performance Residencies this year!
And whether you are able to volunteer or not, we hope you’ll join us at one of our ClydeFEST in the Wild events this year! Note: Our first critter painting day has been postponed from April 24 to May 2, due to the rainy weather. You do need to sign up ahead of time for Critter painting on Sunday, May 2 at The Park at Briar Chapel and at Southwest District Park. Go for it now by clicking here for Briar Chapel and here for Southwest District Park, – both of which are now on Sunday, May 2. Sign-up now while slots are still available.
Take it from Julie: “Tell your friends that it’s happening, walk out of your house if you see a parade going by, and bring your kids and grandkids to paint some critters!”
Here’s the run-down of details. See you out there!
- Tuesday, April 20, 4-6 p.m.: Diali Cissokho will kick it off with a live performance, truck-and-trailer style, traveling through the neighborhoods of Loves’ Creek and Pony Farm Road in western Chatham sharing the music of West Senegal, with beloved ClydeFEST performers joining in our mini-parade. (Sponsored by The Jester Group at Baird.)
- DATE CHANGE! Sunday, May 2 at The Park at Briar Chapel, 9:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.: This event was originally scheduled for Saturday, April 24, but alas, Mother Nature had different plans. Due to the rain, it has been moved to Sunday, May 2. Kids and Families, SIGN UP HERE to schedule outdoor time at our mobile Critterville to paint and embellish one of those well-known and beloved critter cut-outs, while jamming to some family-friendly live music from ClydeFEST performers.
- Tuesday, April 27, 4-6:30 p.m.: Diali and ClydeFEST roving performers will travel through the Briar Chapel and Nature Trail Community neighborhoods in eastern Chatham sharing their arts magic. (Sponsored by The Jester Group at Baird.)
- Saturday, May 1 at Bray Park, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.: We’ll hand out Critter Kits (a critter cut-out, plus paint and glue) at Chatham County Partnership for Children’s drive-through Day of the Book/Dia de los Libros celebration. Families can grab a kit and adorn their critter cut-out at home.
- Sunday, May 2 at Southwest District Park, 1-5 p.m.: One more ClydeFEST in the Wild celebration takes place, but this time, in southwestern Chatham! Families and kids, SIGN UP HERE to schedule outdoor critter-paintin’ time and hear some ClydeFEST tunes during this Sunday event.