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Elkland Art Center takes to the air

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Article Published: Jun. 7, 2012 | Modified: Jun. 30, 2012
Elkland Art Center takes to the air

Each year, Elkland Art Center hosts the Liberty Parade in Todd, featuring handmade puppets and floats.

Photo by Frank Ruggiero

On the Fourth of July, Elkland Art Center in Todd hosts an annual arts parade called the Liberty Parade.

Participants become the parade by wearing costumes and carrying large puppets that represent the local environment, environmental and social concerns and current creative impulses. Each year, community members add a segment or theme in workshops throughout the month of June.

This year’s theme is based on the element, air. Artists are designing banners, pinwheels, windsocks and all kinds of items that are enlivened by the air connecting us all.

In celebration of that connection, Elkland Art Center is reaching out to local Hispanic, Latino and Ashe County communities. Through workshops at Ashe County 4-H Summer Parks, Florence Thomas Art School in Glendale Springs, Turchin Center for the Visual Arts in Boone, English as a Second Language Programs in Watauga and Ashe counties, and Elkland’s regularly held workshops in Todd, the art center will be offering 23 free or low-cost workshops where kids young and old can make things that will be in the parade and take something home for themselves.

These workshops have been made possible in part by The Blessings Project Foundation Inc., The Conservation Fund and workshop host sites.

“Hispanic and Latino inclusion opens up exciting new possibilities,” an Elkland Art Center spokesperson said. “Thanks to our grantors, we are able to invite local Latino artists to assist in the making of prototypes for our workshops.”

Workshop participants will have the opportunity to make something based in the Latin American cultural tradition of pageantry and procession that will be in the parade.

Few things in life are as rewarding or gratifying as a big, beautiful parade – for people to see and for people to be in,” the spokesperson said. “People who have worked on this parade get to see their creations scattered among more than 300 happy faces. This event is sure to live in the minds and hearts of all who attend for many years to come.”

For more information and to support the parade, visit

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