Time for 9th Annual Kingston Multicultural Festival

KINGSTON – The Reher Center for Immigrant Cultural and History is seeking artists and the general public to participate in the Worry Dolls Project/ Proyecto Muñecas Quitapenas as part of the Ninth Annual Kingston Multicultural Festival, which will take place over three June weekends June 13th, 20th and 27th, 2021 in TR Gallo Park, Kingston NY, alongside the Kingston Waterfront Farmers Market.

Worry is an emotion we all have all experienced this past year, regardless of our culture or identity. This Spring, let’s come together to turn our worries into art as we celebrate immigrant culture.

Artist-made worry doll by Deborah Mills Thackrey that will be displayed at the Kingston Multicultural Festival. Photo: Deborah Mills Thackrey
Artist-made worry doll by Deborah Mills Thackrey that will be displayed at the Kingston Multicultural Festival. Photo: Deborah Mills Thackrey

Worry dolls (also called trouble dolls; in Spanish, muñecas quitapenas,) are small, hand-made dolls that originate from Guatemala. According to legend, Guatemalan children tell their worries to the Worry Dolls, placing them under their pillow when they go to bed at night. By the next morning, all sorrows are said to have been taken away by the worry doll and they can move forward refreshed. Traditionally, worry dolls are hand-made of wire, wood, wool and colorful textile leftovers. The dolls are then dressed in traditional Mayan style. The size of the doll can vary between ½ inch and 2.0 inches.

This spring, the Reher Center, in partnership with the Cornell Creative Arts Center, worked with cultural consultant Andrea Del Cid and educator Karen Pillsworth to bring the tradition of the Worry Dolls to over 700 students at Kingston’s JFK and George Washington schools. Students heard the story of the worry dolls and received kits to make their own worry dolls out of a popsicle stick or a pipe cleaner, yarn, and scraps of fabric. Hear the story and learn more at KingstonMulticulturalFestival.org/worry-dolls.

We invite the public to meet Andrea Del Cid and hear the Worry Dolls story in person at our 9th Annual Kingston Multicultural Festival, which will be held in TR Gallo Park alongside the Kingston Waterfront Farmer’s Market on Sundays, June 13th, 20th, and 27th 2021.

To raise funds to bring this project into more classes in the fall, the Reher Center is inviting artists to participate by creating and contributing their own worry dolls to the festival. Festival visitors will be invited to donate in exchange for these artist-made dolls. All proceeds (minus commissions, if the artist so choses,) will go to support the Reher Center’s educational programs.

Artist Doll Guidelines: Dolls can be up to 12 inches in height. For smaller dolls made more in the traditional manner, artists can produce multiples to be sold as a group. Artists can also choose a specific personal worry as inspiration.

Artist Doll Deadline & Dropoff: Saturday June 5th 1-4pm at the Reher Center Gallery (entrance on Spring St. behind 101 Broadway, Kingston, NY.

Please contact Nancy Donskoj if you wish to participate at Nancy@ReherCenter.org or visit KingstonMultculturalFestival.org/Worry-Dolls to learn more and to fill out the online submission form.

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