Bless this 'Mess'
The first fruits of a new partnership between two unheralded Madison organizations - Mess Hall Press (offering high school students a free, arts-based extracurricular alternative) and Briarpatch (providing services for runaway, homeless and at-risk youths) - will be revealed on May 4. Members of Mess Hall Press' Design Workshop for Teens will present an exhibit of T-shirt and poster prints at Briarpatch headquarters, 1955 Atwood Ave. The display is part of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art's Gallery Night, giving families and other art lovers free opportunities to view collections and meet the artists behind them. "Gallery Night seemed like the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the extra foot traffic in the Atwood area," says Mess Hall Press director Scott Pauli, adding that he's pleased with his organization's venture with Briarpatch. "We hope to keep the relationship going. It is a good fit, because we can both refer students to each other." The exhibit's opening-night hours will run from 5 to 8 pm, and the artwork will be on display through June 1. Items also will be available for purchase, with all proceeds benefiting Mess Hall Press. For more information, call 256-3581.
In February, a Wisconsin autism surveillance project reported that approximately five out of every 1,000 Wisconsin children born in 1994 display symptoms indicative of autism - a developmental neurological disorder characterized by avoidance of social interactions, poor communication skills and unusual behaviors. Reported cases have increased dramatically in recent years, according to the Wisconsin Autism Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network Project (part of a national effort overseen by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The Autism Society of Greater Madison is doing its part by hosting Autism 101: A Class for Parents of Newly Diagnosed Children. The second of three offered this year by ASGM, the class will be held May 20 from 1 to 3 pm at Midvale Community Lutheran Church, 4329 Tokay Blvd. "There are many challenges to being a parent of a newly diagnosed child," says Molly Immendorf, ASGM's president, citing the initial grief, concerns about the child's behavior in public and the high cost of early-intervention services. "It is very expensive to pay for them out of pocket, and insurance doesn't cover autism-related services." For more information about Autism 101 or other autism-related questions, call ASGM at 213-8519.
For the birds
The Horicon Marsh Bird Festival will enter its second decade of introducing the avian species to new observers during a series of events slated for May 11-14. More than 275 species of birds have been observed over the years at Horicon Marsh, N7725 Hwy. 28 in Horicon. The Bird Festival offers walking and bus tours, bird-banding demonstrations, live presentations featuring hawks and owls, specific children's programming and more. "This is one of the best ways to really get a good look at the birds up close and personal, and the uninitiated can see these birds in a way that they rarely ever could otherwise," says Bill Volkert, the marsh's wildlife educator. Visit horiconmarshbirdclub.com for a complete schedule of events and fees.