By Aaron Worley
Matthews Playhouse of the Performing Arts has planned a few events in honor of National Bullying Awareness Month.
Artist and activist Rosalia Torres-Weiner is bringing her “Art Truck” through her Red Calaca Mobile Art Studio on Oct. 20. The truck will allow children to be expressive with the arts and make simple pieces. It will be a chance for them to learn about the history of the Latino community, as most of the work Torres-Weiner creates is representative of her own culture. With mediums such as magazines, paint, and other repurposed materials, Torres-Weiner aims to show the struggle and conflict people in the Latino community and others can empathize with. The event is bilingual-friendly, so Spanish speakers are welcome, as well.
Following the art event, Matthews Playhouse is showing a play, “The Hundred Dresses,” based on the book by Eleanor Estes. Estes’ story involves a young girl who suffered through torment and bullying because of how different she was compared to other students at school.
The play, involving mostly children, intends to show the effects words have on people, especially young children, and the consequences of their actions. This is an important lesson for children and young adults, as they sometimes do not realize how differently people think and how they may react to something meant to be lighthearted. Set designs and decorations around the theater doors incorporate the art from the book to provide an interactive experience. These designs were also created by some of the children involved with Matthews Playhouse, adding to the aesthetic of the play and the message it intends to communicate.
Lastly, an art contest will be held on the final production day of the play for students from kindergarten to 12th grade. The winner will have their name announced after the performance, a Barnes & Noble gift card and a meet and greet with the “Dresses” cast. Hopeful artists are encouraged to submit their work, though only one piece is allowed per person.