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Karshner Center Festivals
Karshner Center Festivals
Posted on 06/30/2016
The Karshner Museum and Center for Culture & Arts is owned and operated by the Puyallup School District. A primary goal at the Karshner Center is to build a culturally responsive learning community through creative educational pro grams offered for learners of all ages. To that end, the district sponsors six culture and arts festivals at the Karshner Center each year.


In October 2015, the district, along with Broadway Center for Performing Arts presented Dia de la Raza: A Festival of Latino Cultures. Dia de la Raza means "Day of the People," and nearly 500 visitors
enjoyed the free family festival. Instructors from Bailadores de Bronce taught families authentic ballet folklorico and two concerts were performed by Pachanga Alert! who performed music from a variety of Latin American countries. Children used their creative skills for art projects such as amate bark painting and papel picado paper cut banners. Local food vendor, Los Tres Hermanos kept visitors well fed.


In November, hundreds came to participate in a Tour of Asia. The Puyallup School District was proud to partner with the Asia Pacific Cultural Center of Tacoma. The Karshner Center was alive with activity as four performing groups and two visual artists representing six cultures provided nearly non-stop music and dancing.


The afternoon included Hawaiian music and dance with ukuleles, guitars, and percussion sticks; Korean and Okinawa drummers and dancers, and dancers from theFederal Way High School Pacific Islanders Club who performed dance representing Samoa, Fiji, and Tonga. Visitors learned Korean calligraphy, Japanese name writing, Mongolian arts and games, and Cambodian art and history.


In January 2016, the Karshner Center hosted a Day of Drama. Children learned to use their whole body to show emotions and feelings. The building was filled with actors of all ages experimenting with pretend characters and imaginary settings. Talented actors
entertained the audiences with a performance of A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin. The family theatre performance was presented by Book-It Repertory Theatre, an award-winning theatre ensemble from Seattle.


Throughout the day, participants were encouraged to make masks in the art classroom. The Karshner Center's Day of Drama wouldn't be complete without time for creative make believe.


In March, over 23 Native American Tribes were represented for the first ever Gathering of Families: A Celebration of Indigenous Culture and Art. Over 300 visitors attended the festival.  Chief Leschi Schools' Drum and Dance Group opened the day in song and dance. Some noted this as one of the groups finest performances.



Talented storytellers kept visitors entertained with simple legends and oral history, providing some of the teachings of Native American culture. Animated performers such as Harvest Moon, Roger Fernandes, and Paul Wagner joined musicians and dancers in a day of celebration, song, and dance.


In April, wildlife artistBecci Crowe helped visitors explore endangered species, conservationism, and related art projects. Specializing in wildlife and tribal portrait art, Crowe's desire to study both in their natural world has led to adventurous travel across six continents and over 45 countries. Visitors met the artist and learned about her adventures with endangered wildlife, including her work with the renowned conservationist Jane Goodall.


Families learned to draw animals realistically, and learned the techniques of pointillism and made animal masks.


The final festival for the 2015-16 school year is called 'The Puyallup River Rock Festival' and will feature a southern blues and soul, rootsy rock and roll band grown and raised in Puyallup called Sweet Kiss Mama. Straight from their second European tour and release of their second album, this performing group will entertain participants with a special concert at the Karshner Center on Saturday, June 4.


Family activities will include making percussion instruments from found objects.  


At the Karshner Museum and Center for Culture & Arts staff are committed to creating exhibitions and learning experiences which will help visitors make connections between themselves and the world in which we live.


This past year, thousands of visitors have experienced the joy and wonder of the Karshner Center through participation in these free Culture & Arts Festivals. We look forward to seeing the line-up for the 2016-17 school year.