SIDNEY — An elf named Matisse, after the artist, has been popping up in all kinds of places around Shelby County recently.
It seems wherever someone is doing something helpful to someone else, Matisse, also known as Matty, is likely to turn up.
Matty looks a lot like the popular Elf on a Shelf and his commemoration of helpful activities is a project of Gateway Arts Council. It grew from Executive Director Ellen Keyes’s asking a question: “How can we get people to have the holiday giving spirit all year long?”
“We got Elf on the Shelf to call attention to what’s going on in Shelby County that’s good,” she said. Matty has sat atop a Salvation Army red kettle, visited the Jackson Center Community Thanksgiving Dinner and the Angels in the Attic craft fair, helped an area resident rake leaves and perched on the light board during GAC’s presentation of the Capitol Steps at Sidney High School, among many other appearances.
He also has helped to get the word out about donations that GAC is accepting to support a family it has “adopted” for the holidays.
“He’ll be at Stuff the Bus,” Keyes said. Stuff the Bus is a Salvation Army toy donation event.
“If someone has a place they’d like him to go, let us know,” she added. She and three GAC volunteers make sure Matty gets to his assigned places on time.
GAC decided on the elf to help promote its upcoming presentation of “The Elves and the Shoemaker,” which will be performed by ArtReach Touring Theatre in the Cameo Theatre, 304 S. West Ave., on Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. Children who arrive by 6:15 p.m. will be able to complete a free craft: making wrapping paper and wrapping the gifts that have been donated by GAC supporters for the adopted family.
“The ability to give is a big deal and everyone can do it. They may not think they can, but they can,” Keyes said. It doesn’t have to be money or things. It can be time.
“The Elves and the Shoemaker” tells the story of a kindly shoemaker who gives his only remaining pair of shoes to a cold and hungry beggar woman. He finds his good deed rewarded in very unexpected ways. The shoemaker is shocked by the appearance of magic elves who turn his simple shoe shop into a great success, thrilling customers with their special creations. Soon the Queen hears of this unique shoe shop, but can the shoemaker impress her without the elves?
“Based on the tale by the Brothers Grimm, this beloved, warm-hearted story reminds us that where we find goodness, generosity and hope, anything is possible. It is a wonderful show to share with family and friends during the holiday season. Children who attend the production are welcome to wear their pajamas and bring a blanket, if they choose,” Keyes said.
If audience members want to contribute items to the GAC adopted family, they can take them to the performance. Items can also be taken to the GAC gallery at 216 N. Miami Ave. A list of needed items is on the GAC Facebook page.
Tickets for “The Elves and the Shoemaker” cost $6 for adults; $4 for children 12 and under. They are available at the gallery, at Ron & Nita’s, 134 N. Main Ave., and by phone at 498-2787.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824. Follow her on Twitter @PASpeelmanSDN.