Thank you 2016 and HELLO 2017!

Hello Friends!

Gaosong here with your weekly KID CITY Blog and CAN YOU BELIEVE 2016 is almost gone and 2017 is here! 2016 was filled with so many firsts as we transitioned from Year 1 into Year 2! Join me as I recap some of our favorite events and residencies from 2015-2016!

To start off the year, Mayor Nora Slawik declared April 1st to be "Maplewood's Official Day of Laughter" and in celebration KID CITY had our FIRST annual Laugh In event at the Maplewood Community Center! With over 200 community members in attendance, this multi-cultural event showcased the amazing talent and leadership Maplewood holds within its boarders! The day was filled with smiles, joy and we made so many new friends as we played and discovered laughter together!

A snapshot of staff from Maplewood's MN Nature Center with an excited attendee!

There was even a Joke Swap competition between the Maplewood Police Force and the Maplewood City Council to see who could find the funniest joke! The Maplewood Police Force took the win this year when the audience cheered in approval with a hilarious joke about Justin Bieber! (Who doesn't love a good Bieber joke!?) 

Photos of our summer and outreach events painting the Z-Puppets Van, performing a Laugh Lab and building your own puppet. Click on the photo to enlarge and see more!

As the year progressed, KID CITY did many different outreach events and Pop-Up Laugh Labs at schools located all over Maplewood and even at Maplewood Mall!

Some of the most memorial moments was this past summer at the "Touch-A-Truck" event (a summer WOW Event at Wakefield Park) where kids of all ages helped transform the white Z-Puppets van into a colorful piece of artwork! It left such an amazing impact on the van, that to this day, their are still remnants of beautiful color on the inside of the rims and mud flaps!

Fairview High School students doing image theater and having a group discussion with teaching Artist Ricardo Vazquez. Last photo features Mayor Slawik of Maplewood with KID CITY COUNCIL members 2015-2016. 

Fall 2016 proved to be a lot of fun as we taught residencies with different schools located within and around Maplewood. As a result, we had a chance to work with many students, of all backgrounds and ages to explore new concepts and ideas; like how laughter brings people together in our Laugh Labs, videography with our Teen Videographer Interns and brainstorm theater with our KID CITY COUNCIL and other youth!

All in all, 2016 was so exciting and an amazing time for KID CITY as we built so many great relationships with the community. We all look forward growing and further building these relationships to create meaningful impact as the year moves on.

 To send you off into 2017, here is a little thank you from the KID CITY Team to you!

Happy holidays and may your new year be bright! 

Till next week, 


Where's your HAPPY PLACE?!

Hello fellow KID CITY Enthusiasts! 

Gaosong here with your weekly blog about our most recent programming at KID CITY! We just finished up a residency of "Happy Places" last Sunday and we had a blast!

Teaching Artists Chris, Gaosong (moi) and Gustavo setting up before the youth join us for Happy Places!

Now, you may be wondering, "What is a happy place?" or "How DO I get there?" Excellent question! Here are the directions to your happy place!

1) Close your eyes 

2) Think of a Happy Place and you're there! 

BUT, if you want to see how KID CITY turns your happy place into a reality, keep on reading!

3) Make a Toy Theater (see photos below)

4) Use your imagination to model your Toy Theater after your happy place AND...

5) Viola! With the magic of green screen technology, you are physically in your happy place!

To be inspired for your happy place, CLICK PLAY ON THE VIDEO BELOW, to see what magical world Violetta created!

What did you think of Violetta's happy place? Fantastic right!? Who doesn't want to eat a giant cake everyday? That would DEFINITELY make me the happiest person in the world! So, the next time you are feeling blue, just close your eyes and imagine yourself in your happy place. You'll be amazed as to how mentally placing yourself into a different location, (i.e YOUR HAPPY PLACE) can completely alter your emotional and physical state of being. And if you need a little help, you can borrow some ideas from Violetta, I am sure she wouldn't mind sharing that giant cake! 

Till next time friends, stay warm!


Brainstorm Theater with Fairview Alternative High School!

Students at Fairview showing us how to use masks in Image Theater!

Students at Fairview showing us how to use masks in Image Theater!

This past fall, KID CITY had the honor and pleasure of working with a group of talented and inspirational students at Fairview Alternative High School. We met with these students twice a week for 9 weeks and in that short period of time, explored concepts of "Brainstorm Theater." Now, some of you may be wondering, 'What is Brainstorm Theater?'

WELL! "Brainstorm Theater" (formally known as "Theater of the Oppressed") is a form of social justice theater created by a Brazilian theater maker and social activist, Augusto Boal. It is a form of theater that allows you to rehearse for revolution as you "re-play" stories from your life. With help from the audience, you explore different solutions to personal injustices previously experienced, in order to find alternative endings that turn your tragedies into personal victories! 

On the last day, KID CITY Teaching Artists took their last photo with this amazing group of students. 

On the last day, KID CITY Teaching Artists took their last photo with this amazing group of students. 

We shared stories, tears and laughed every single day. At the end of the residency, we were able to have a forum, showcasing 4 collective stories that were work shopped and performed by our very own students from Fairview! The stories included topics such as: (1) Familial Obligation; (2) Generational Gaps; (3) Unfair Rental Practices and (4) Strict punishments in Schools. 

All in all, we BRAINSTORMED different tactics and applied them in our scenes to try and resolve these issues. However, an important part of Brainstorm Theater and life, is knowing that sometimes, not all things can be solved, nor will it always go your way. With Brainstorm Theater, the students from Fairview are now better equip to find strategies and solutions when confronted with difficult situations in the future. As students, staff and teaching artist learned and grew to be more empowered by one another, we felt it was important to share the power of community with everyone we could. 

Presenting, Fairview Alternative High Schools very own "Mannequin Challenge!" 

Thanks for tuning in this week and make sure to follow us on social media following our hashtag #KIDCITYMN and liking our pages at Z-Puppets Rosenschnoz and Maplewood Parks and Recreation

May you all find a little inspiration from the students from Fairview and KID CITY to empower those in your life! Till next time, stay warm my friends! 


A Jolly Time at the Mall!

Hello beautiful people of the Inter-web! Welcome to KID CITY's new Blog! 

My name is Gaosong, Outreach Coordinator and Project Manager for KID CITY and fellow teaching artist, here to bring YOU the latest events and news coming out from KID CITY. 

Last Saturday, KID CITY had the honor of joining Maplewoodians at Maplewood Mall for "Shop, Ship and Share!" The sky was shining brightly as the brisk winter day welcomed us into Maplewood. The team set up our booth right across from Santa, as the many smiling children awaited his magical presence. KID CITY ran into old friends AND made some new friends as we were able to collect laughter, funny faces and jokes from children of all ages. We laughed and played the day away, but before we knew it our time with you was over. :( 

However, have no fear! Now you have a way to stay connected to KID CITY by following this blog. Every week, I am going to post up a new blog for you all! So wipe those tears! We will have coverage of our events, interviews with our artist team members and bring you behind the scenes of our many programs. 

For other ways to stay connected to KID CITY, you can follow the #KIDCITYMN on Facebook and Twitter OR visit our partner KID CITY Page on Maplewood Parks and Recreation 

Till next time, 

Stay playful!

Click on the photo to see more photos from our event!