Fairy Godmother

By: Lisa Hoffman, curator of education on February 15th, 2017

I have a beloved fairy godmother at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. My fairy godmother’s stock-in-trade isn’t pumpkins, mice, ball gowns, and glass slippers. Nor does she brandish a glitter- and sparkle-filled wand.

My fairy godmother wields scissors, paper cutters, X-ACTO knives, and glue. I load an ordinary white laundry basket with paper, chenille stems, adhesive googly eyes, and feathers. The basket is whisked away from the Museum by the fairy godmother’s daughters. In a spellbinding flash, the basket reappears brimming with enchantments . . . wooden shoes, caterpillars, fir trees, roosters, hedgehogs, robots, ice cream cones, and sailboats. 

Cinderella’s fairy godmother delivered on the wishes of one housemaid over the course of one day. My fairy godmother’s minimum wish-fulfillment capacity is supplying goodies for hundreds of toddlers each and every month.

My fairy godmother – Mary Kluz – preps hands-on art projects for Toddler Tuesday and Art Time for Tots. Mary transforms one example of six unique activities into multiples for 125 toddlers. That means 750 items prepped and ready for the third Tuesday of each month . . . twelve times per year. Mary also helps with project prep for dozens of children – ages 18 months to 4 years – who are registered for Art Time for Tots each month.

I’ve shared charming conversations with Mary though I’ve never met her. I consider her a friend and mentor. For me, Mary epitomizes the Midwestern work ethic. Mary is pleased when a task awaits her and will power through physical discomfort to see everything to completion. Her work is impeccable. A recent comment regarding a Toddler Tuesday staple – a jumbo cardstock, shaped “canvas” cut into various shapes adorning twelve easels – elucidates Mary’s precision. The parent asked about project-prep and I shared my Mary-Fairy story with him. He said, incredulously, “Yes, but surely these easel projects were die-cut.” Nope . . . each of the 125 oversized cardstock sheets is hand cut by nearly 90-year-old hands and a pair of scissors.

Did I mention she often assists in prepping projects for the thousands of students who visit the Museum for docent-led tours and hands-on art projects? “Bibbidi-Bobbido-Boo,” indeed!

Visit the Museum. Bring a toddler and drop in during Toddler Tuesday on the third Tuesday each month, 10:30am-Noon. Call the Museum to register a tot for a monthly program. Delight in the magic of my fairy godmother that enables us to amplify Woodson Art Museum magic.

Thank you, Mary.

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