PARKERSBURG – Hobey Ford and his gold rod puppets will visit elementary schools in Wood, Pleasants and Ritchie counties in West Virginia and Washington County in Ohio as part of the Artsbridge Artists-on-Tour series of the March 7 to 10.
Artsbridge provides study guides for teachers that include additional information and art activities for use in the classroom.
Ford production “Animal” explores the world of animals through movement, music and puppets. He steps out of the traditional puppet theater booth, turning the entire theater into his performance stage. Pieces include an enlarged look at the metamorphosis of butterflies and frogs, the world of birds, his classic underwater ballet of whales, frolicking dolphins and otters.
Ford never had another career. He is internationally known and an award-winning performer and a Kennedy Center Partner in Education teaching artist. Ford knew what he wanted to do early on after seeing a puppet show when he was still young. While attending art school, Hobey discovered “…one of my cornerstones – that I would approach puppetry as storytelling with puppets.” He designs and builds all of his goldenrod puppets as well as the sets that surround them.
Ford has received numerous awards including the UNIMA Citation of Excellence and was the recipient of three Jim Henson Foundation Fellowships. He not only performs his original works around the world, but also offers workshops for teachers and students. He created both the “Mosses” and the puppet known as “mirettes”, an imaginative, patented set of plastic eyes – for hands of all sizes – worn in multiple ways that transform the bare hand into an innovative, inexpensive instant puppet.
The “Mosses” are large animal puppets that Ford designs, sculpts and paints from foam blocks.
Now a resident of Asheville, North Carolina, Ford also draws on his early experiences growing up on the Connecticut coast or living in a Native American community in Nevada to script some of his performances such as “Whale Walker” and “Tales from Turtle Island.” Ford first created the Golden Rod Puppets in 1980 and often adapts folk tales and global cultural traditions for his performances, always adding a special twist. “Stick of Gold” turn.
The shows will take place March 7 at 9 a.m. at Pleasants County Schools, Belmont, and 1 p.m. at Ritchie County Schools, Ellenboro; 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. March 8 at Wood County Schools, Blennerhassett Auditorium; 9 a.m. March 9 at Belpre Elementary, Belpre, and 12:30 p.m. at Warren Elementary, Vincent; and 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. March 10 at Wood County Schools, Blennerhassett Auditorium.
Artsbridge offers a variety of arts education programs at school such as ArtCart, Catalog of Artists, Arts Encounter and Very Spectacular Arts Festival. Funding for Artsbridge’s arts education programs is provided in part by the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, the Ohio Arts Council, the Bernard McDonough Foundation, the Fenton Inc., City of Vienna, City of Parkersburg and contributors to Artsbridge. Funds.