WDC first-graders learn the art of clowning
For the past 18 years, former professional clown/educator Perrin Boyd has taught hundreds of Wadena-Deer Creek Elementary students the ancient art of clowning.
This past week, March 9-13, Boyd finished up her last artist-in-residency with WDC first-graders, as she has decided to hang up her clowning hat.
Boyd, who travels around the state from October to June visiting Minnesota schools, now resides in Oregon. She said it’s been a challenge being away from home nine months out of the year.
“I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to take my clowning skills and share that passion with students. It’s been an amazing 18 years. I will definitely miss it,” said Boyd, who is a graduate of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College and has a master’s degree in education.
During the week-long artist-in-residency, Boyd teaches WDC first-graders the ancient art of clowning using the elements of theater, comedy and non-verbal physical expression. On the last day, students learn how to apply face makeup, dress up in colorful, rag-tag clothes, and perform short, humorous skits.
The short skits featuring 4 to 5 students are performed in front of a packed audience of parents, grandparents and relatives, as well as Kindergarten students in the Auditorium Gymnasium -- and it’s always an entertaining show!
Boyd said she remembers her first year at Wadena. She couldn’t believe the huge turnout from the community for the clowning performance.
“It was remarkable to me to see that kind of support. To me, it showed how much they cared about education and youth,” said Boyd.
That support would continue over the next 17 years. Boyd’s knack for teaching children this unique art resulted in very enthusiastic students coming home after school and sharing with parents their experiences. Parents couldn’t wait to see the skits on the final day!
WDC first-grade teacher Heidi VanDyke said WDC has been very fortunate to have Boyd come to WDC for so many years.
“It’s fun to hear former first-graders remembering when they had the clowning and how much they learned and all the fun they had,” said VanDyke, adding, “We are sad that this was Perrin’s last year of clowning in WDC. We thank her for all the laughs, memories and silly skits we did over the years!”
First-grader Arynn Lorentz said she enjoyed learning how to be funny and putting on the clown make-up. In fact, Lorentz didn’t want the clowning residency to end. “I wanted to keep learning how to be a clown. It was fun!”
Boyd’s visit was funded by a grant from the Five Wings Arts Council, as well as local contributions from the Deer Creek and Wadena Lions organizations.
Go to www.wdc2155.k12.mn.us for more photos!