Summerfest celebrates Kenneth Patchen

Trumbull Art Gallery will turn to a native son for inspiration for its 10th Summerfest for Children.

Students will draw from the work of Kenneth Patchen for this year’s art workshops, which will culminate in an 11:30 a.m. parade around Courthouse Square in downtown Warren on June 28.

Patchen was born in Niles in 1911 and grew up in Warren. The author of novels, plays and several volumes of poetry, Patchen was an influence on many of the Beat generation writers of the ’50s (Lawrence Ferlinghetti came to Warren in the early ’90s for a conference celebrating Patchen’s work). He also was influential for combining different art forms. He was one of the first poets to read his work while accompanied by live music, and he fused the written word and art in his poetry paintings.

Those poetry paintings were one of the reasons Patchen was chosen for this year’s Summerfest, according to its founder Marianne Nissen.

“We thought getting the element of poetry, especially one line pertaining to your life and your hopes and your visions, into this program is important,” Nissen said.

Many of the workshops, which run June 15 to 27 at TAG, will give children as young as 4 years old a chance to create flags and creatures and other items that can be carried in the parade. And many of those workshops will incorporate art and the written word.

“The children will come up with one liners that pertain to their personality and their visions of their future,” Nissen said.

Jacki Mountan, director of Summerfest, created a large stuffed green dog inspired by Patchen’s art, that is traveling to various locations in the Mahoning Valley to promote Summerfest. And students from Warren G. Harding High School (Patchen’s alma mater) and Howland High School are creating pieces during the school year that will be part of the parade.

Nissen said as many as 500 children are expected to participate in the workshops and the parade.

This year’s Summerfest also will honor Kip Minnick, a Braceville artist who died last month at age 67. Minnick, a loyal supporter of TAG and Summerfest, created a series of Patchen-inspired paintings before his death that will be displayed in TAG’s West Gallery.

About 25 classes and workshops are planned leading up to this year’s parade.

The following classes for children ages 4 to 7 meet from 9 to 10 a.m.:

June 17 – Take a Walk with Walking Faces (draw large faces decorated with fabric, beads and other materials, add legs and write a poem about it)

June 18 and 21 – Shake Your Monster (create monsters with paper and pastel to carry in parade)

June 19, 20, 21, 25 and 26 – All About Creatures (learn about the creatures Patchen drew and create one)

June 19 and 20 – Showing Off Your Colors (flag / pennant making)

June 24 and 27 – Can You Read Me? (create a over-sized picture book cover)

June 24 and 26 – Fairy Magic (learn about the magical characters Patchen created and then work as a group to make a Fairy House)

The following classes for children ages 7 to 10 meet from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.:

June 17 – I’ve Got the Blue Dog Blues (draw an interesting dog and turn it into a headpiece)

June 17 and 19 – Welcome to the Neighborhood (learn what Warren looked like when Patchen was a child and help reconstruct the city as a group project)

June 18 and 20 – Marching Patchen Mobile (create a Patchen-inspired mobile)

June 18 and 20 – Raider Pride (create Native American masks, dream catchers and feather headdresses)

June 19 – Aliens in Our Midst (create an outer space alien)

June 21 – Save Our Planet Graffiti (make a graffiti-style artwork on canvas expressing an environmental message)

June 21 – The “One What” (learn what a “One What” character is and design one)

June 24 and 27 – Just My Imagination (create a three-dimensional creature)

June 25 – Hats Off to You (silly monster hat making)

June 25 and 27 – Beastie, Birdie and Me (create a life-size Patchen-style picture poem)

June 26 – Go, Team Patchen, Go (write a poem and create a flag or pennant)

The following classes for children ages 10 and older meet from 1 to 3 p.m.:

June 17 – Where The Wildest Things Are (draw a wild and crazy creature)

June 18 and 20 – Heads Up (create a life-size silhouette and fill it with a poem)

June 19 and 20 – Street Puppets (construct a puppet using cloth and bamboo poles)

June 24 and 27 – “I’ve Been Thinking” Graffiti (create a parade-sized illustration of personal thoughts)

June 25 and 26 – T-Shirt Art (make a Patchen-like work of art on a T-shirt using permanent dyes)

June 25 – Shel-Patch Animals (Write a poem about an animal and bring it to life artistically)

Two Saturday workshops are offered for high-school seniors and adults:

June 15 and 22 – Graphic Graffiti for the New Age (creating a mural using both poetry and painted images for display on Courthouse Square). It meets from 9:30 to 11 a.m.

June 15 and 22 – Puppets of the Funky Variety (bird puppet making with papier mache and found objects). It meets from noon to 2 p.m.

Generally, the cost for classes is $7 per hour; however, those who register by June 1 will get a $1 per hour discount for every class except the Saturday workshops.

Registration forms are available at Trumbull Art Gallery, 198 E. Market St., Warren. For more information, call 330-395-4876.