Outreach: Open Studio
When we moved to West Liberty during the 1995-96 season, we looked for something to give us visibility. Because we knew the annual Muscatine County Fair Parade was a big deal, we decided to ask the local kids to help us build giant puppets for the parade. The first year we made four giant puppets and lots of little ones and walked them in the parade, which traditionally takes place on the hottest day of the year. Our walkers rebelled, and since we’ve figured out how to incorporate vehicles. My favorites were the 60 foot dragon built on Randy Noel’s tree trimming truck and the year we did a “running of the bulls” by making bull heads for the neighbor kids’ bicycles. We’ve won either a blue ribbon or the traveling trophy every year! Open studios have expanded to take place several times a year, and participants now help build puppets for community shows as well.