Archived Story

Library and Dogwood team up for ‘Storytime at the Sculptures’

Published 8:00am Friday, May 16, 2014

The art of reading and the art of sculpting will come together later this month, as the Dowagiac District Library and the Dogwood Fine Arts Festival join forces to launch “Storytime at the Sculptures.”

Running from May 23 through July 25, local children and parents will have a chance to sit by one of the city’s pieces of public art while Library Director Jacob Munford reads a few storybooks.

The first event will take place on Friday at 11 a.m. at the “Touching Earth II” sculpture at Burke Park, with subsequent events taking place at other statues around the city.

“The idea is to show off some of the cool features of the city, and do it in a way that will be engaging to kids,” Munford said.

Munford was approached with the idea of working with Dogwood by festival secretary Bobbie Jo Hartline. The director was more than happy to officially collaborate with them, as the library has been a long time supporter of the festival.

“Dogwood means so much to the people of the community, and it’s really a unique thing for our city to have,” he said. “Other cities try this kind of thing and they go for two or three years before they stop. Dogwood has been around for a long time.”

The two worked together to find a way to combine the literacy with the other fine arts, while making it fun for the city’s youth. They eventually decided to modify the library’s regular storytime events, bringing them out of the building and into the city.

“Our most successful program is our storytime events, where we read a couple stories to the kids,” Munford said. “It’s really, really low key, but it enforces childhood literacy more than anything else we do here.”

These reading events are quite popular among children, typically drawing around 30 to 40 kids to the library, Munford said.

“I’m pretty unhappy if we get under 20,” he joked.

The material that Munford will read will tie into the selected piece of art, he said. For example, the library can pick out books about birds at the “Touching Earth” sculpture, as it depicts an eagle.

In addition to building the children’s interest in reading, Munford hopes that the sessions will pique both parents and children’s curiosity about sculptures that serve as the backdrop.

“There’s a lot of beautiful art and culture here, but when you live here you might not notice them,” he said. “This is a opportunity for people to better appreciate them, but in a way that’s fun.”

The list of dates and locations for the events are as follows:

• Week 1, May 23 at 11 a.m.

“Touching Earth II” at Burke Park

• Week 2, May 30 at 11 a.m.

“Dawn Sentinels” at Lyons Health Center

• Week 3, June 6 at 11 a.m.

“Dance of Creation” at Farr Park

• Week 4, June 13 at 11 a.m.

“Abundance” at Farr Park

• Week 5, June 20 at 11 a.m.

“Mount N View” at Huntington Bank

• Week 6, June 27 at 11 a.m.

“Sunflower” at Beckwith Park

• Week 7, July 11 at 11 a.m.

“Stone Lion” at Beckwith Park

• Week 8, July 18 at 11 a.m.

“Resting Dancer” at City Hall

• Week 9, July 25 at 11 a.m.

“Wind Song” at Dowagiac Middle School

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