Author, artist inspire Summerfest Parade

Birdies and beasties and other creations inspired by the work of author / artist Kenneth Patchen will fill Courthouse Square Friday for Trumbull Art Gallery’s 10th Summerfest Parade.

Children have been creating pieces in classes held at TAG over the last two weeks to wear or carry in the parade based the poetry paintings of Patchen, who was born in Niles in 1911 and grew up in Warren, graduating from Warren G. Harding High School in 1929.

Summerfest Director Jacki Mountan said, ”We’ve had several full classes, most of them from the younger age group, up to age 10.”

Children who did not participate in the classes still can take part in the parade, and plenty of extra items are available. Students from Warren G. Harding High School created Patchen-inspired pieces during the school year, Mountan said, and some students who took part in the classes won’t be able to attend the parade and are allowing others to carry their work.

Participants are asked to gather at TAG at 11:15 a.m. Friday, and the parade will circle Courthouse Square starting at 11:30 a.m.

Following the parade, Summerfest and Noon in the Park will merge. Regular Noon in the Park vendors will be on hand selling lunch, and the big band sounds of the Top Notes will start around noon. Chalk on the Walk, a popular Noon in the Park event, also is scheduled Friday, and it allows children to create art work on the sidewalks around and through the square with chalk provided by the Fine Arts Council of Trumbull County.

AVI will provide free ice cream for Summerfest Parade participants, and art displays will be set up in the park, including a collection of birdies and beasties made by Harding students.

Those creatures were recurring images in Patchen’s work. He published more than 50 books, and he was one of the first artists to experiments with fusing the written word with other disciplines, such as reading his poetry accompanied by live music or through his poetry paintings.

Even though Patchen died in 1972, the ideas he explored in his work remain relevant, Mountan said.

”His poetry is based on love for humankind,” she said. ”A lot of his work is hoping that others will be inspired to be more reflective on how they treat others and how they treat the Earth. It very much relates to what people are talking about now.”