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Educators and parents know that kids can be tough customers when it comes to learning, which is why the concept of “edutainment” is so popular. Blending entertainment and education, this fun approach to learning often makes a lasting impression.

Dream Shapers is a non-profit artist’s co–op located in Orange dedicated to providing local schools and libraries with performing artists who entertain and inspire kids and families with enrichment programs. Since 1994, the organization’s artists have performed for hundreds of area children and adults.

Bilingual storyteller Georgette Baker is one of Dream Shapers’s over 40 local artists. On Tuesday, November 1st at the Orange Main Library from 3:30—4:15, she will present her Dia de los Muertos: A Celebration of Life. This free program is open to the public and features bilingual stories and music.

“I’ve performed for children and families for 20 years, and I still get excited,” says Baker, who lived in South America for 22 years and enjoys sharing stories about her various travels. “Storytelling is fun and allows you to educate listeners in a memorable way.”

Dream Shapers began as a small collective of independent artists 17 years ago. “Back then there were four of us, and we realized that we were spending a lot of money and time marketing ourselves as independent artists, when we’d be better served banding together,” says Cowboy Ken Frawley, who does a storytelling guitar program that educates audiences about cowboys of the Wild West. “When Dream Shapers formed, we made a conscious decision to stick to the institutional market primarily serving schools and libraries.”

Artists available through Dream Shapers run the gamut and include ventriloquists, mimes, puppeteers, marionette performers, jugglers, artists and cartoonists, the latter of whom hold drawing classes. The group’s curriculum–based programming has allowed them to partner with the Orange County Department of Education and Orange County Music and Art Administrators.

Jim Thomas is the Coordinator of Visual and Performing Arts for the Orange County Department of Education and has worked with Dream Shapers since 2000. “Dream Shapers provides a great service,” he says. “Their programs are entertaining and engaging, and they support what the kids are learning in the classroom. As an added benefit, the children also get a sense of what it’s like to be a real performer.”

For more information about Dream Shapers, visit their website at DreamShapers.org. The organization holds an annual Program Preview Day Showcase & Arts Faire every February where local organizations can get a taste of each performer’s program. The 2011 showcase with live performances from the artists can be accessed at ProgramPreviewDay.com.

Contact Children’s Services at the Library regarding the Dia de los Muertos: A Celebration of Life presentation at (714) 288-2420, or visit CityofOrange.com

OrangeReview.com article posted Oct 28, 2011

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