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Queens Chronicle

The arts rule at Harvest Festival

Socrates Sculpture Park was filled with craft tables, music and fun

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Posted: Thursday, October 25, 2012 10:30 am | Updated: 8:00 pm, Thu Nov 1, 2012.

With the East River as the backdrop and the sounds of Long Island City’s Le Nozze di Carlo playing spooky-themed music, adults and children of all ages participated in artist-led costume-making workshops, all devised to represent an interpretation on “The Wizard of Oz” at the Halloween Harvest Festival at Socrates Sculpture Park in LIC.

There was an extra limbs table where children were able to stuff batting into sleeves and rubber gloves to create limbs similar to a scarecrow’s. Children also had the opportunity to let their creativity soar and design their very own tail, with varied materials like rubber, felt and colorful thick yarn.

The animals children chose to make tails of were limitless.

“It’s ‘The Wizard of Oz’ theme, so monkeys, lions, or any animal they can think of,” said volunteer Aaron Glover, 21, a teacher’s aid at Catholic Charities who was helping kids create their pieces.

There was also the Badge of Courage station, where participants were able to use thick colored foil to emboss with a design of their choosing, with many youngsters choosing to creatively write their name. Each creation was then pinned with ribbon for them to proudly show off and wear right away.

“I wanted to work with metal, even if it was just aluminum foil,” said artist Melissa Calderon with a smile, who happens to know a thing or two about the material. Calderon’s grand-sized installation, titled “Indivisible,” made out of weathering steel and copper, is currently on display at the park as part of the 2012 Emerging Artist Fellowship Exhibition.

Jeremy Joffee, who works with Lifespire, an organization that advocates and provides services for New Yorkers with developmental disabilities, came to the festival with Rogelio Zapata, 10, from PS 42 as part of their Saturday respite program.

“I think Rogelio enjoyed the face painting the most by far,” Joffee said.

“At first he was hesitant to do it, but then he mustered the courage. I also told him that if he did it I would do it, and I think that helped a bit,” Joffee, who’s worked for the past four years as Lifespire’s music instructor, added.

Also a part of the festivities was “Scarecrows by Thomas and Guinevere,” led by Canadian based artists Thom Sokoloski and Jenny-Anne McCowan. In this fascinating installation, scarecrows were created at a workshop in August at the park. Each scarecrow represents historically relevant and important individuals associated with Queens, as free-standing structures created to protect the spirit of Socrates Sculpture Park, such as Billie Holiday and Malcolm X.

McCowan also led a dance-along through the park, like walking along the “yellow brick road” to encourage those enjoying the festival to get up and dance too.

Free Style Arts Association was also on hand helping children create their own scarecrows with materials they provided to participants, to either take home or leave at the park on display for a few days.

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