The Dragons are Coming: Young Artists Lead CHIMERA’s Folk Art Project
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The Dragons Are Coming! Young Artists Lead CHIMERA’s Folk Art Project

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Meow Wolf’s CHIMERA program is about to unleash four big, colorful dragons at a celebration for the International Folk Art Market where top artisans from nearly 60 nations converge on Santa Fe for the world’s premiere folk art festival. The dragons are the work of students in a semester-long arts workshop at CHIMERA and were realized with the help of the International Folk Art Alliance and dozens of gracious volunteers.

These homespun dragons will appear first on the Santa Fe Plaza at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 13, as part of a parade and concert welcoming international folk artists to Santa Fe. Guests to this free event will encounter the four parade dragons made by local students in CHIMERA’s dragon workshop. Dozens of students enrolled in the program over the spring semester and they worked together to create a cross-media artwork that is similar in approach to Meow Wolf’s large scale projects. Junior high and high school kids took fabrication, music-production, digital design and storytelling workshops with Meow Wolf artists and learned key skills that our professional artists use in making their own collaborative works.

The dragons will appear again atop Museum Hill at 1 p.m. Sunday, July 16. There, guests can hear original compositions by students in the music production workshops as well as a dramatic reading of each dragon’s story.

The creations will be a colorful addition to the festivities but they have lives outside of the procession too. They have interactive elements for the audience to enjoy as well as backstories that draw on themes of creativity and inspiration. The highly-engaging stories can be found on the web site Dragons Are Coming, which features prose and artwork by the students.

The mythical beings are already turning heads, according to Aubrey Schwartz, one of the project’s facilitators. She noted as many as 40 students are going to work together to bring the dragons to life during the performances. When they took them out for a test-run at a park last week, traffic stopped along the road as drivers slowed down to snap pictures. Who doesn’t love dragons?

This project was completed with the help of Girls Inc., an educational organization for young girls, Santa Fe’s Wise Fool circus troupe; Devon Hawkes Ludlow and Brandee Coaba of The Beast Box, a puppet studio based in the city, and art interns with New Mexico School for the Arts. Volunteers to drop-in workshops at CHIMERA also lent a hand crafting various adornments for the dragons. Meow Wolf thanks everyone involved in this excellent collaboration.

We mustn’t spoil the surprise, so be sure to check back here for more photos after July 13. In the meantime, do go see the performances and the extraordinary International Folk Art Market this weekend, which was voted the #1 Best Art Festival In The U.S. by USA Today readers.

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