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The Puppets Return as Part of Holiday Fun in December at Detroit Institute of Arts - New puppet gallery, family performances, drop-in workshops, special Noel Night activities

Thursday, November 11, 2010

(Detroit)—Some very important puppets (VIPS) go on view beginning Dec. 22 as the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) unveils a new installation of the hand, shadow, and string puppets from the museum’s Paul McPharlin Puppetry Collection. Rare 18th-century American and Italian hand puppets and iconic string marionettes—including the original Howdy Doody—used in the 1940s during the early years of broadcast television will be on view. Other activities include puppet shows, storytelling and holiday drop-in workshops. Exhibitions are In Your Dreams: 500 Years of Imaginary Prints, on view through Jan. 2; Fakes, Forgeries, and Mysteries; and An Intuitive Eye: André Kértész Photographs, 1914–1969.

The museum will be closed on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 24 and 25, and will be open from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 27 and 28, and Friday, Dec. 31.

Programs are free with museum admission unless otherwise noted. For more information call (313) 833-7900 or visit

The Detroit Film Theatre will resume in January.

Guided Tours: Wednesdays–Thursdays, 1 p.m.; Fridays, 1, 6 & 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays–Sundays, 1 & 3 p.m.

Detroit City Chess Club: Fridays, 4–8 p.m.
The club’s mission is to teach area students the game and life lessons. Members have won state, regional, and national competitions. People wanting to learn how to play chess should show up between 4–6 p.m. There will be no teaching between 6 and 8 p.m., but visitors can play chess.

Drawing in the Galleries (for all ages): Fridays, 6–9 p.m. Sundays, Noon–4 p.m.

Drop-In Workshops (for all ages)
Fridays, December 3, 10 and 17, 6–9 p.m. – Luminaries: Explore infinite patterns and colors using tissue paper on a simple glass jar that you can illuminate at home with a small candle.
Saturdays, December 4, 11 and 18, Noon–4 p.m. – Creative Paperwork: Explore endless possibilities for creating with paper as you learn to make your own cards, boxes and envelopes.
Noel Night: Saturday, December 4, 5–9 p.m. – Gingerbread Puppets
Decorate gingerbread cookies, then add felt and a tongue depressor to create a one-of-a-kind puppet.
Sundays, December 5, 12 and 19, Noon–4 p.m. – Winter Counts: Winter counts were used by Native American communities of the Northern Great Plains to record their histories and keep track of the passage of years. Make one of your own using leather and markers.

Special Holiday Weekend Drop-In Workshops
Sunday–Friday, December 26–31
, Noon–4 p.m. – Puppets: Bring characters from your imagination to life as you learn to make a simple puppet each day.

Wednesday, December 1
Lecture: The Rivalry of John La Farge and Louis Tiffany, American Masters of Stained Glass
: 6:30 p.m.
Louis Tiffany is world-famous for his artistry in glass, but it was John La Farge that invented opalescent stained glass and played the leading role in the development of the medium. Henry Adams, professor of Art History at Case Western Reserve University, explores the rivalry between the two men, paying particular attention to La Farge’s work, including the three dazzling windows at the DIA originally commissioned for the First Unitarian Church on Woodward Avenue in Detroit.

Friday Night Live, December 3
(please see for information)

Family Sunday, December 5
Storytelling Performance: Hanukkah Stories
: 2 p.m.
Join storyteller Judy Sima as she lights up the holiday season with Hanukkah stories of miracles, menorahs and magic dreidels.

Wednesday, December 8
Lecture: Affective Objects: Crafting Intimacy in Contemporary Design
: 7 p.m.
Glenn Adamson, head of graduate studies at the Victoria and Albert Museum, is noted for introducing new critical thought about decorative arts and design in his books Thinking through Craft and The Craft Reader and as co-editor of the Journal of Modern Craft. He considers how makers attempt to structure an intimate connection between the viewer/user and an object.

Friday Night Live, December 10
Lecture: Printing Matters: Thirty Years of Land Marks Press:
7 p.m.   
In her prints, artist’s books, and works on paper, Lynne Avadenka explores the philosophical and physical presence of the book. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, and in 2009 she was awarded a Kresge Fellowship. Her work is included in numerous collections, including the DIA, the British Library in London, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the Library of Congress and the Meermano Museum of the Book in The Hague.

Music: Schumann Trio Köln: 7 & 8:30 p.m.
Founded in 2008 in Cologne, Germany, Schumann Trio Köln brings together international prize-winning pianist Yoo Soon Lee, clarinetist Nicolai Pfeffer and Detroit cellist Erik Asgeirsson. All are graduates of the prestigious Hochschule für Musik Köln. 

Friday and Saturday, December 10 and 11, 8 p.m.; Sunday, December 12, 4 p.m.
Mosaic Youth Theatre: Woodward Wonderland: A Detroit Holiday Celebration
Mosaic’s young artists return to share whimsical holiday stories, joyous songs, loving memories and surprises with a unique Detroit spin. This family holiday tradition will fill audiences with comfort and joy. To purchase tickets visit

Family Sunday, December 12
Storytelling Performance: Cozy Christmas Stories:
Noon–4 p.m.
Sit a spell with jolly interactive stories for children and cozy tales for adults from the European Christmas tradition performed by award-winning storyteller Yvonne Healy.

Lecture: Strong Spirits, Wild Animals, Heroic Men, and Beautiful Women: The Masquerade Arts of the Bamana and Dogon of Mali: 2 p.m.
The Bamana and Dogon peoples of Mali are renowned for their masquerade arts that include beautifully carved wooden masks and puppets. These masquerades celebrate strong spirits, wild animals, heroic men and beautiful women, all characters that figure prominently in the groups’ religion, folklore, and history. Historically these masquerades were performed for rural community events. Today they appear on the international stage and in a variety of new urban contexts, including tourist performances. Mary Jo Arnoldi, Ph.D., curator of African ethnology and arts, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, looks at how these new venues inject energy and vibrancy into these traditions and help insure the survival of these art forms.

Friday Night Live, December 17
Music: Alfredo de La Fe & His Cuban Jazz Allstars:
7 & 8:30 p.m.
Cuban born, New York-based superstar violinist Alfredo de La Fe is a musical legend and one of the founders of Latin Jazz and Salsa music. A true virtuoso, he’s known for his innovative approach and vision, fusing jazz with a variety of Cuban rhythms including Rumba, Cha Cha, Mambo and Danzon. Performing with Alfredo are his Cuban Allstars: Nachito Herrera on piano, Raul Pineda on drums, master percussionist Jesus Diaz and Armando Gola on bass.

Family Sunday, December 19
Storytelling Performance: Kwanzaa Stories:
2 p.m.
Discover the real reasons behind Kwanzaa's seven principles through stories filled with fun, excitement and humor. Storyteller, Tonya Dallas brings the African principles alive in this family event for all ages and cultures.

Sunday–Tuesday, Dec. 26–28
Puppet Show: A Show of Virtues:
2 p.m.
Inspired by William J. Bennett’s book The Children’s Book of Virtues, Grey Seal Puppets presents an entertaining and enlightening program of stories from around the world, including “The Little Hero of Holland,” “The Tortoise and the Hare,” “Please,” and “Why Frog and Snake Never Play Together.”

The show begins with a traveling salesman (played by the puppeteer) who twirls on stage with his large battered sample case and exhibits various containers filled with virtues. He also assembles a makeshift puppet stage from the sample case. Each story’s characters and props emerge from the containers to act out a series of stories that demonstrate courage, perseverance, politeness and tolerance.

Wednesday–Friday, Dec. 29–31
Puppet Show: Tales of the Brothers Grimy:
2 p.m.
A puppet show of the Grimm's Fairy Tales, but where's the puppeteer? The janitor takes over. Using the tools of his trade he brings two tales to life: "The Spirit in the Bottle" and "The Frog Prince." Created and performed by award-winning puppeteer Preston Foerder, sponges, mops, and even garbage cans are transformed into all the characters and set of this brilliant, hysterically funny show.

Hours and admission
Regular museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. NOTE SPECIAL HOLIDAY HOURS: The museum will be closed on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 24 and 25, and will be open from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 27 and 28, and Friday, Dec. 31.
Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for ages 2+, and $4 for ages 6–17. DIA members are admitted free. For more information, call (313) 833-7900 or visit

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier art museums in the United States, is home to more than 60,000 works that comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from ancient times through the 21st century. From the first van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum (Self Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera's world-renowned Detroit Industry murals (1932–33), the DIA's collection is known for its quality, range, and depth. As the DIA celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2010, it does so with renewed commitment to its visitor-centered experience and to its mission of creating opportunities for all visitors to find personal meaning in art.
Programs are made possible in part with support from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, National Endowment for the Arts and the City of Detroit.

Contact: Pamela Marcil (313) 833-7899