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The Suburbanite
  • Events help bring classic book to life

  • Make time for the fine arts: Read.

    “Literature and writing is a type of fine art,” Massillon Museum Educator Jill Malusky said. “That is one of the reasons we didn’t think twice about how (the Big Read) fits our mission as an interdisciplinary museum.”

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  • Make time for the fine arts: Read.
    “Literature and writing is a type of fine art,” Massillon Museum Educator Jill Malusky said. “That is one of the reasons we didn’t think twice about how (the Big Read) fits our mission as an interdisciplinary museum.”
    Each year, the  Massillon Museum connects residents to literature through its Big Read initiative. Backed by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts The program, which kicks off Saturday and runs through May. Annually, the Big Read gives community members the chance to explore themes in work of literature through other artistic mediums and local history.
    This year, the museum chose to focus its Big Read programming on Harper Lee’s celebrated work, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
    “It is a very popular book and a book that many individuals and adults have read or seniors have read in school,” Malusky said. “It’s usually part of school curriculum because it is (historically) very appropriate for our part of Ohio. … It also got us thinking about social issues that would have been happening in our area around the time the book takes place.”
    One of the most significant social issues facing the area during the 1930s — the time in which “To Kill a Mockingbird” is set — was the Little Steel Strike. To help bring the era to life, the Museum has partnered with Youngstown University to curate a traveling exhibition of artwork created through and inspired by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The exhibit “Labor and the New Deal” will also open Saturday.
    Beyond the exhibit, the Massillon Museum is partnering with a variety of community agencies and organizations to help enhance the connection to the novel. Because of partnerships with theatre groups, Stark Parks and libraries, the museum is able to provide a number of fun, educational events that help to bring the book to life for readers of all ages.
    “I am proud of the work we do with so many different entities,” Malusky said. “We bring together community partners like the parks, library, YMCAs and community centers as we present literature, free books and resources to the community. Because of that, we draw together people from places such as Jackson, Tuslaw and Navarre, which is pretty cool.”
    Leading up to the kickoff the Jackson Branch of the Stark County District Library and the Paul and Carol David YMCA each provided free copies of “To Kill a Mockingbird” to patrons and guests. Partnerships like those strengthen the program and allow the museum to have a greater impact on the surrounding community.
    And that impact is something that the National Endowment for the Arts has recognized over and over again.
    “I am proud that we have continued to win this (grant) award every year,” Malusky said. “The first year it was given out, there were about 250 awards. Now, there are about 75 grants. Massillon has, in some years, been the only winner in the state of Ohio.”
    Page 2 of 3 - MARK YOUR CALENDAR:
    Big Read Events
    April 13
    • Kick-off Event, 3 to 5 p.m., Massillon Museum, 121 Lincoln Way E., Massillon. Free
    Receive a free copy of “To Kill a Mocking Bird,” view special displays devoted to the Lee’s novel and meet museum community partners including Stark Parks and the Massillon Public Library.
    April 15
    • Dialogue on Race in Stark County, 7 to 8 p.m., Walsh University Birk Center, 2020 E. Maple St. in North Canton. Free
    Coming Together Stark County will present a panel discussion that includes Stark County residents looking back on race-related issues including segregation. Walsh University professor Will Cooley will moderate the discussion.
    April 18
    • Keynote Lecture & Film Screening, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Lions Lincoln Theatre. Free
    Joe Crespino, a scholar from Emory University and an expert on Southern literature and culture will discuss the book and provide background for a showing of the film “To Kill a Mockingbird. A question and answer session will round out the evening.
    April 19
    • Theatrical presentation: “Twelve Angry Men,” 8 p.m. Firehouse Theatre, 450 E. Market, Alliance, reservations 330-821-8712. $
    Stark County attorneys and judges will present the special presentation of the classic courtroom drama in which one juror challenges the others to look critically at what appears to be an open-and-shut case. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students. For reservations call 330-821-8712.
    April 20
    • Stark Parks History Hike: Lock 4, 1 p.m., 6600 block of Erie Ave. NW, Canal Fulton. Free
    Stark Parks naturalists will lead a hike of the historic Lock 4, providing information on the era of the 1930s and the WPA which coincides with the time in which “To Kill a Mockingbird” is set.
    April 23
    • Brown Bag Lecture: “White Trash, the Genteel Classes and ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ Massillon Museum, 121 Lincoln Way E., Massillon. Free
    Walsh University professor Will Cooley will lead an in-depth discussion of Harper Lee’s novel and examine the social order portrayed in the book. Coffee and cookies will be provided. Guests may bring a lunch or purchase one from the museum’s cafe.
    April 24
    • One Act Plays presented by Washington High School Frets and Struts drama club, 7 p.m., Washington High School. Free
    The Washington High School drama club will present original One Act plays written to further explore the themes of Harper Lee’s novel.
    April 26
    • Theatrical presentation: “Twelve Angry Men,” 8 p.m. Firehouse Theatre, 450 E. Market, Alliance, reservations 330-821-8712. $
    Stark County attorneys and judges will present the special presentation of the classic courtroom drama in which one juror challenges the others to look critically at what appears to be an open-and-shut case. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students. For reservations call 330-821-8712.
    Page 3 of 3 - • Brunch & Book Talk, 10:30 a.m., Massillon Public Library, 208 Lincoln Way E., Massillon.
    One of the Massillon Public Library librarians will lead a discussion of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” A continental breakfast will be available.
    April 28
    • Theatrical presentation: “Twelve Angry Men,” 2:30 p.m. Firehouse Theatre, 450 E. Market, Alliance, reservations 330-821-8712. $
    Stark County attorneys and judges will present the special presentation of the classic courtroom drama in which one juror challenges the others to look critically at what appears to be an open-and-shut case. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students. For reservations call 330-821-8712.
    May 1
    • “Hey Boo” documentary screening and book discussion, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Massillon Public Library, 208 Lincoln Way E., Massillon. Free
    The PBS film tells the story of how the celebrated novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” came to be and provides context for the history of the deep south while detailing the impact the novel has had.
    May 4
    • Family Program: The Sneetches, 2 to 2:30 p.m., Massillon Public Library, 121 Lincoln Way E., Massillon, registration required 330-832-5037. Free
    Children in the kindergarten through sixth-grades are invited to explore the themes of “To Kill a Mockingbird” through the eyes of Dr. Seuss and his book “The Sneetches.” The library auditorium will be transformed into Sylvester McMonkey McBean’s Star-On and Star-Off machines and families will have the chance to participate by spending provided “Sneetch Bucks” to go through the machine. Crafts and snacks will also be available.
    May 14
    • Stark Parks History Hike: Molly Stark, 6 to 7 p.m., 7900 Columbus Road, Louisville. Free
    Stark Parks naturalists will lead a hike on the historic Molly Stark property, providing information on the era of the 1930s and the WPA which coincides with the time in which “To Kill a Mockingbird” is set.
    May 24
    • Book Discussion and Gallery Talk, 5 to 5:30 p.m., Massillon Museum, 121 Lincoln Way E., Massillon. Free
    In addition to  short discussion about the book, participants will learn more about the gallery exhibitions related to “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
    May 28
    • Brown Bag Lecture: “Going to Work: Federal Projects and the Great Depression,” noon to 1 p.m., Massillon Museum, 121 Lincoln Way E., Massillon. Free
    Stark Parks historian Todd Clark will discuss the WPA and projects that took place throughout Stark County. Cookies and coffee will be provided. Guests can bring a lunch or purchase one from the museum’s cafe.