By Nadia Maria Smith
CS&T Staff Writer
Dawn Harris, a former homeschooling mother, took her love of art and teaching and the Catholic faith to develop a children’s DVD series called Granny Bee’s Art Angels, the latest in her homegrown business venture.
When she was homeschooling her two children she searched for entertaining programs that incorporated faith, but had a hard time finding them. That’s when she decided to take her talents and the help of her family to produce her own.
The series, which has been a few years in the making, is about Granny Bee, a puppet character that leads the children in prayer, storybook and art activities. She also gets the help of her friends to keep the children active and participating in the show. Once a child has participated, he or she becomes an Art Angel and has his or her own creative piece of art to show for it.
For almost a decade now, Harris has been running a business taking an art program she designed into schools, daycare centers and libraries. While she tells the children a story, she shows them how to draw one of the characters. She teaches them the basics of art including shapes, colors and light and shading effects, as well as listening, verbal and eye-hand coordination skills. She incorporates the same technique in the Granny Bee’s Art Angels series, but the main difference is that she can mention God and her Catholic faith.
“In the stories I develop for my art program I include the Beatitudes but I have to make it secularized, so my dream was to be able to openly include my faith, which is what I do in the Art Angels series,” Harris said. “I believe you have to include your faith in all aspects of life. We have to give children a good base so when they get older and venture out, they’ll have a good base to fall back on.”
That’s what her series is meant to do, she said.
Granny Bee teaches the children a number of prayers at the beginning and end of the show in addition to the art lesson.
“Doing the illustrations for the prayers was my favorite part,” Harris said.
She also does the voice of Granny Bee while her children and nieces recite the prayers and her husband does the voice of Coach Charlie and provides all the technical support. Even her two dogs make an appearance.
She took all the props for the show to her pastor, Father Richard Maisano at St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother Church in Avondale, to bless them before she started production, she said.
She prayed a lot during the ups and downs of production and attended Mass frequently. Mass has always been a constant in her life and a source of comfort, she said.
Through her series, she hopes children ages 3 and older will not only learn art skills but be nurtured in their Catholic faith in an entertaining way.
To order your copy visit www.grannybee.org, or e-mail email@example.com or call (610) 274-8148.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103