Celebrate Welcoming Week at this free event featuring performances, painting kindness rocks, a community resources expo, food & supplies drive, Covid-19 vaccination clinic, and food.
Under this year’s Welcoming Week theme of “Where We Belong,” Whitfield’s WelcomeFest will include:
• Children’s workshop (10 am) and theatrical performance (11 am) of Anansi, The Trickster Spider: A West African Folktale presented by the Grumbling Gryphons Traveling Children’s Theater. Anansi is a comical character originating in Western Africa, and in this tale, with the aid of the children in the audience, Anansi tricks the various animals of the jungle and retrieves the stolen stories of the world from Nyame, the Sky God. Children (ages 6 and older) interested in participating in the performance are invited to a lively workshop to learn songs, dances, chants, and their parts as busy bees, monkeys, and more. The workshop is free, but pre-registration is required, and space is limited. Contact the museum to sign up by Saturday, September 3rd. The Grumbling Gryphons Traveling Children’s Theater, renowned for its innovative interaction with children, is led by co-founder and Artistic Director Leslie Elias, recipient of the 2018 Connecticut Arts Hero Award and the 2018 Culture Max Award.
• Asian folktales presented by storyteller Motoko at 1 pm and 3 pm – The recipient of the National Storytelling Network’s 2017 Circle of Excellence Award, Motoko enchants audiences of every age with Asian folktales and oral memoirs from her childhood in Osaka and her life as an immigrant in the United States. Motoko has appeared on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and has been featured in festivals and theaters across the U.S. as well as China, Japan, Senegal, and the U.A.E.
• Indian classical dances performed by Layavinyasa ensemble at 2 pm – Dancers will describe the cultural contexts and socio-religious narratives of southern India while demonstrating Kuchipudi, a dance form with deeply symbolic hand gestures that bring stories from Hindu scriptures to life with complex rhythmic cycles. Founded by Sarada Nori, the Layavinyasa dance company builds bridges between people of different cultures and forges new paradigms using Indian art forms. Sarada has been a part of prestigious festivals such as the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, and has conducted workshops and demonstrations throughout New England.
• Community resources expo featuring local and state organizations whose work creates welcoming communities for the benefit of all their residents. Expo participants will include Guilford Teen IRIS Club, Guilford Social Services, Guilford Human Rights Commission, Guilford ABAR Alliance, Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants, and more.
• Painting kindness rocks to keep, share with someone who needs some inspiration, or leave somewhere for another person to find and collect. All supplies will be provided.
• Non-perishable food and household supplies drive to benefit the Guilford Food Bank. For the most up-to-date list of the Food Bank’s current needs, visit www.guilfordfoodbank.org.
• Covid-19 vaccinations will be provided by the Connecticut Department of Public Health and Griffin Health. All doses and boosters of Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines for ages 6 months and older will be available. No appointment is necessary.
• Food will be available for purchase from MexItaly Kitchen.
• The museum’s Whitfield House, Visitor Center, and Education Building will be open for self-guided tours.
Whitfield’s WelcomeFest takes place rain or shine. To sign up for the Grumbling Gryphons children’s workshop, get the Guilford Food Banks’ current needs, or for more information, call 203-453-2457, e-mail [email protected], or visit https://portal.ct.gov/ECD-HenryWhitfieldStateMuseum. Admission is free and there is free parking.
Support for Whitfield’s WelcomeFest has been provided to the Henry Whitfield State Museum through a CT Cultural Fund Operating Support grant from CT Humanities, with funding provided by the Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts from the Connecticut State Legislature.