Morris Museum has Stupendous children's event

When Andy Offutt Irwin was a child, he wanted an aquarium.

Andy Offutt Irwin made an apple into a puppet at the Morris Museum of Art's Stupendous Saturday.  Charmain Z. Brackett/Correspondent
Charmain Z. Brackett/Correspondent
Andy Offutt Irwin made an apple into a puppet at the Morris Museum of Art's Stupendous Saturday.

"Can I have an aquarium?" he asked his mother.

"No," she said.

"Why?" he asked.

"Because I'm mean," she answered.

That type of response gave him nothing to whine about, said Mr. Irwin, a storyteller who was featured at the Morris Museum of Art's Stupendous Saturday program Jan. 12.

He didn't get an aquarium, but a few days later he went exploring with his friend Johnny. They decided to see where the creek went and followed it to a pond, where they decided to catch tadpoles.

Catching tadpoles is easy, if you follow a simple rule.

"Don't cast your shadow on the water," he said.

The tadpoles will quickly hide.

After he collected his tadpoles, he heard his mother's whistle, which meant it was time to head home. He did, with water sloshing from inside the cup he had put his tadpoles in.

When he arrived home, he placed the cup on the back porch. His mother almost stepped on it when she went outside to hang laundry on the line.

She asked him what was in that cup. When he told her tadpoles, she got a 5-gallon pickle jar. She told him to fill the jar up with pond water, and they placed the tadpoles in the jar.

"This was not anything like Kay's Tropical Fish," he said.

But that was a good thing, he said.

She poked holes in the lid of the jar and attached a birdcage bell to the lid.

Over the next few weeks, he watched the tadpoles transform into bullfrogs, and then one night he heard the sound of the birdcage bell.

"They became big old bullfrogs," he said. "They were ringing the bell, which meant they wanted to get to the creek."

He released them, and their deep croaking sounds filled the night air.

"We knew they were ours forever," he said. Mr. Irwin, a native of Covington, Ga., told stories and sang songs for the first half of the two-hour program.

After listening to the stories, those attending the event made crafts from food. Gelatin became paint and fruits became stamps to create patterns.

Stupendous Saturday -- the second Saturday of each month -- is a free family program that includes a performance and an art activity, said Michelle Schulte, the museum's community and public program coordinator.

The next Stupendous Saturday will be from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Feb. 9. It will be called Artapalooza.

Also next month, the Morris Museum will offer two art workshops taught by professional artists.

The first, on mixed-media collage, is from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2. The workshop is designed for high school and college students. Participants should bring photos or other images to use for the project. The cost is $25 for museum members and $40 for others, and includes lunch.

On Saturday, Feb. 16, the museum will offer a two-dimensional mixed media workshop for adults from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The cost is $25 for museum members and $40 for others and includes lunch.

For more information, call Ms. Schulte at (706) 828-3865.

Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at czbrackett@hotmail.com.

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