For the month of April, visitors to Canton Public Library will be immersed in the nostalgia of childhood. An exhibit titled “Real Toys” will cover the walls, fill the display case, and feature some programming for both adults and children. The gallery exhibit opens on Monday, April 2 and runs through Friday, April 27 with an opening reception on Thursday, April 19 from 5:00-8:00 PM.
“Real Toys” is a collaboration between Tina Parsadanov and Ron Todd. The main part of the exhibit will be photos by Parsadanov and Todd of the well-loved, sometimes broken, scruffy toys, and the attachment that children feel towards them, sometimes desperately clutching them and refusing to leave them behind. “We will have some of the toys themselves, and we will also share stories of both children and adults who have or had favorite stuffed friends and even stories of how they came to lose them. People have come forward with offers to lend us stuffed toys that they have had as constant companions for more than four decades,” according to Todd. Stuffed friends become “real” to the people who love them. They dry tears, they play without complaint, they are a soft friend to cuddle any time of day or night, and they are always there to love and care for. We create personalities for our stuffed friends and we love them forever. “We hope to remind adults of their fond memories or even sad memories of their favorite stuffed friends and how stuffed friends are something that all generations have in common,” said Todd. Adults will have a chance to view Night of the Hunter on Tuesday, April 10. The film, with an introduction by Ron Todd, will be screened at 6:00 PM in the library’s Program Room. The 1955 film stars Shelley Winters, Robert Mitchum, and Lillian Gish. It was written by James Agee and Davis Grubb, and directed by Charles Laughton. Mitchum plays a fanatic preacher who marries a gullible widow (Winters) whose young children are reluctant to tell him where their real daddy hid a stolen $10,000. One critic has called the film a “vibrant, primal experience” with images that will haunt the viewer for years. (It is not a film for children, despite the fact that a toy figures prominently in the story line.)
A program that is definitely for children, but not exclusively for children, is “A Special Story Time: The Velveteen Rabbit,” with guest reader Ron Todd. In the 1922 book by Margery Williams, a toy rabbit yearns to become “real” through a child’s love. The story time will also feature a short, eight-minute film version of the book. The special story time is for ages 4 and up. Youngsters are encouraged to bring along their own beloved “real toys.” REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED.
Tina Parsadanov is a Connecticut-based photographer specializing in portraits, along with documentary images. She is the mother of two children and concentrates her art work on exploring childhood. Ron Todd is a Professor of Art at Central Connecticut State University teaching photography, video and media. He often works in a collaborative environment producing installation art.
All of the programs associated with the exhibit “Real Toys” are free. Registration is requested for the film and REQUIRED FOR THE STORY TIME. Canton Public Library is at 40 Dyer Avenue, Canton. For information: (860) 693-5800 or www.cantonpubliclibrary.org