Children were encouraged to run wild – figuratively, of course – at the Holidays in the Wild event at the Vero Beach Museum of Art, which played homage to the 50 Years, 50 Works, 50 Reasons Maurice Sendak: The Memorial Exhibition. The exhibit, on display through Dec. 30, commemorates the 50th anniversary of his classic children’s book, “Where the Wild Things Are.”
Several thousand people visited throughout the afternoon, including hundreds of talented students who added to the festivities with their music and dance performances. To emulate Max, the book’s hero who was crowned King by the Wild Things on a mysterious island, arriving youngsters were offered gold crowns to wear.
“It’s overwhelmingly wonderful,” said event chair Barbara Dorvee. “Everybody is smiling; that’s what’s so great about this. It’s organized chaos for sure.”
The entire museum was a hubbub of activity; even the outdoor entry, where the Imagine South Vero Tangerines, Liberty Magnet Eagle Sound, Liberty Magnet Eagle Ensemble and Beachland Shark Singers performed. Dance Space ballerinas performed in the Buck Atrium, and in the Holmes Great Hall the entertainment was provided by the Indian River Charter High School Orchestra, Studio C Dance Company, Vero Beach Classical Ballet and Arts for Health Sake performers. The Leonhardt Auditorium was packed with people watching the Osceola Singers, Riverside Theatre Apprentices, Oslo Middle School Orchestra and Panther Performers.
“We’ve had more children’s tours and field trips than ever before,” said Shanti Sanchez, school, youth and community impact manager. Pointing to the garlands of children’s artwork, totem poles and decorative box towers, she added, “The idea was to make the atrium into a wild rumpus room; to deck the halls with student artwork.”
In the education wing studios, budding artists worked on a mural that stretched across three walls, or busied themselves with crafts, making reindeer and monsters to take home.
“We’re just so happy that the community comes out to enjoy themselves here at the museum and that we are able to give them a place for all these children to perform,” said Sandy Rolf, VBMA board president.