Sunday, August 22, 2010

Center Partners with GSU and Atlantic Station for Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive

The Center for Puppetry Arts is teaming up with their neighbors in Atlantic Station and the Georgia State University College of Education Alumni Club to sponsor a Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive! In conjunction with the drive, the Center will host a very special evening with actor David Newell on Friday, September 10 from 8-9:00 p.m. as he takes a look back at his career as Speedy Delivery man Mr. McFeely on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. In his special presentation, Mr. McFeely Remembers: A Tribute to Fred Rogers, Newell will share images, video clips (including bloopers!), and personal memories of working with the show’s host and lead puppeteer Fred Rogers for over thirty years. At the end of the evening, fans will have a chance to take a picture with Newell, in character as Mr. McFeely.

During the Sweater Drive, members of the community are asked to donate new or gently worn children’s sweaters to benefit the Children’s Restoration Network, which supports homeless children in shelters and group homes. Mr. Rogers’-inspired sweater collection boxes will be located at the Georgia State University College of Education building from August 5 through September 10th and at the Center for Puppetry Arts from September 10 through the end of the month. Sweater donations can also be made at the Atlantic Station Artist’s Market on September 11 and 18 between 11am and 3pm; those who donate a sweater at this location will not only be helping out a child in need, they’ll also receive discount coupons from Atlantic Station retailers as well as a coupon to come see a show at the Center!

“This is such a fitting tribute to Fred Rogers and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” said Park Cofield, Audience Development Manager at the Center for Puppetry Arts. “Given Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood’s close tie with puppetry, we are so pleased to be a part of this initiative and to be working with our neighbors in Atlantic Station and the Georgia State University College of Education Alumni Club. It’s a wonderful opportunity to embrace our community and give back to the children in our area who are in need.”

Fred Rogers may have described the neighborly spirit associated with the sweater drive best: “All of us, at some time or other, need help,” Rogers said, “and whether we’re giving or receiving a sweater, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world. That’s one of the things that connects us as neighbors – in our own way everyone is a giver and a receiver.”


There’s a warm, home-spun quality about Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, not just in Fred Rogers’ welcoming manner, but in the closet full of sweaters on the cozy living room set, a fashion statement that has come to mean, “Won’t you be my neighbor?” Each of Fred Rogers’ legendary sweaters was knitted by his mother, Nancy McFeely Rogers, who would knit a dozen sweaters each year and give them to family and close friends at Christmas time. Fred Rogers decided to put on a sweater and change into sneakers as a way to set the tone for a comfortable visit and help children settle in for his half-hour program. One of his sweaters is now on display at the Smithsonian Institute.

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood continues to broadcast on PBS stations around the country, now holding the title of the longest running program on PBS. Beloved by children, parents, and educators, Fred Rogers’ unique approach to using television has been revolutionary in the industry. The pace of the neighborhood series, which gives viewers time to reflect and comprehend, is more important for today’s children than ever. As TV Guide stated, “TV is all about coveting, but Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood was about appreciating what you already have, about caring for others, and about seeing the best in them.”

Family Communications, Inc., the Pittsburgh, PA-based non-profit corporation, was founded in 1971 by Fred Rogers. The company continues to carry on his legacy through developing a wide range of materials for young children, their families, and the professionals who support them. Learn more about Family Communications at and


Tickets for David Newell’s workshop, Mr. McFeely Remembers: A Tribute to Fred Rogers, are $5.00 for Center Members and $10.00 for Non-Members. ORDER TICKETS ONLINE AT WWW.PUPPET.ORG OR CALL THE TICKET SALES OFFICE AT: 404-873-3391.

The Center for Puppetry Arts is supported in part by: Fulton County Arts Council, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs, Georgia Council for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, WSB-TV Family 2 Family Project • Mr. McFeely Remembers: A Tribute to Fred Rogers is supported by the Georgia Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities and through appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly. • For a complete list of the Center’s major supporters, please visit The Center for Puppetry Arts® is a unique cultural treasure – a magical place where children and adults are educated, enlightened, and entertained. Since 1978, the Center has introduced millions of visitors to the wonder and art of puppetry and has touched the lives of many through enchanting performances, curriculum-based workshops, and the hands-on Museum as well as Distance Learning and Outreach programs. Center for Puppetry Arts is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization and is supported in part by contributions from corporations, foundations, government agencies, and individuals. Major funding is provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners under the guidance of the Fulton County Arts Council. Major support is provided by the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs. These programs are supported in part by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly. GCA is a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. The Center is a participant in the New Generations Program, funded by Doris Duke Charitable Foundation/The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for the American theatre. The Center is a Member of TCG and the Atlanta Coalition of Performing Arts. The Center also serves as headquarters of UNIMA-USA, the American branch of Union Internationale de la Marionnette, the international puppetry organization.

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