Friday, July 10, 2009

NEWS RELEASE -- Giant Puppets Take to the Streets of City Heights for 4th Annual Celebration

Reporters and editors: This is a great event that is being organized by
the schools and the City Heights Collaborative, a program of San Diego
State University, and the San Diego Guild of Puppetry. Their news
release is below.

Jack Brandais
Communications Department
San Diego Unified School District
(619) 607-0477 (cell)
(619) 725-5570 (desk)

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Contact for parade info: Midge Backensto, City Heights Collaborative,
619-845-8042/, or Lynne Jennings, San Diego Guild
of Puppetry, cell: 619-987-5345/

Giant Puppets Take to the Streets of City Heights for 4th Annual

At 9:30 am Tuesday, July 14, 2009, San Diego Guild of Puppetry lead
artist, Felix Diaz's whistle will blow. Drum groups from Monroe Clark
Middle School and Hoover High will set the beat, and 450 Monroe Clark
Middle School 6th graders will march to Rosa Parks Elementary School,
carrying giant puppets and banners, for the 4th annual, "Welcome to
Middle School" parade. Upon reaching Rosa Parks Elementary, the middle
schoolers will be joined by Rosa Parks' graduating 5th graders bearing
their own dragon masks. After parading before the K-5 student body, the
procession, now nearly 700 strong, will march together back to Monroe
Clark, marking, in a larger than life celebration, the elementary
schoolers' passage into middle school.

Those watching this City Heights community parade will see students'
artistic interpretations of the cultural themes explored in the social
studies curriculum. African effigy figures from last year's parade will
be joined by giant snakes, inspired by the mythic Quetzalcoatl, the
Mesoamerican plumed serpent god. This year a host of Southeast Asian
dragons in both mask and giant form will be added to the celebration.
Funding for the original parade in 2005 came from an Arts and Culture
Community Impact grant from The San Diego Foundation, with additional
and continuing funding every year from A-I-S grants from the California
Arts Council, a state agency, the NEA, a federal agency, the City of San
Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, and the Dr. Seuss Foundation.
This support has kept the parade going and growing into an annual event
that celebrates student transition to middle school, while spotlighting
cultures, collaborative effort and community.

In these schools and in others throughout the city, the San Diego Guild
of Puppetry is hard at work to make giant puppet pageantry an important
element in the San Diego community at large. Multi-community giant
puppet parades have been held at the Theatre of the World Festival at
San Diego State University for the past three years. The New Children's
Museum opened last year with a "Children's Giant Puppet Parade" created
by the Guild, and smaller parades are held at varying locations around
the county, often including celebrations of Dia de los Muertos. Lynne
Jennings, Guild Board Chair explains: "Giant puppetry, by its very size,
inspires awe. It builds stronger communities, as individuals become part
of a committed team effort. It engenders the realization that working
together, people can effect powerful and positive change. It invites
participants and spectators of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds to
join hands in celebration!"

Everyone is invited to watch the City Heights parade at 9:30 on July 14
with excellent viewing at the Monroe Clark field, the Rosa Parks
playground or along the 45th Street parade route. The parade will start
at the Monroe Clark Middle School field, go east on Myrtle and then
north on 45th to Rosa Parks. After circling the elementary school
playground, students will retrace their steps back to the middle school.

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