The Woodruff Arts Center will commemorate the Orly plane crash tragedy through a special Community Day on June 3, the 50th anniversary of the event, with free activities at each of The Woodruff’s divisions, including an art installation from the Musée du Louvre.
The plane crash at Paris’s Orly Airport took the lives of 122 arts patrons from Atlanta who were part of a European arts tour planned by the Atlanta Art Association. The tragedy stunned Atlanta’s citizens, galvanizing them to build a Memorial Arts Building that is now part of the Woodruff Arts Center, which celebrates multiple art forms in one location.
The Woodruff, which today is home to the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art, and Young Audiences, serves more than 1.4 million people annually.
On June 3, the public is invited to participate in Community Day at the Woodruff from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., including the following free activities:
- An Instrument Petting Zoo with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
- A reading of Pearl Cleage’s “Wish You Were Here” – a poem written for the anniversary – at the Alliance Theatre, which will also host acting workshops and performances of “Waiting for Balloon”
- Admission to the High and family art workshops
- Hands-on activities such as storytelling, puppet shows, a community art project, multi-cultural music and more by Young Audiences, including a reading of “The Story of Orly” by Barry Stewart Mann.
Atlanta native Alfred Uhry, the Tony Award, Academy Award and Pulitzer Prize recipient and author of “Driving Miss Daisy,” will participate in a special Q&A during Community Day. His new play “Apples & Oranges,” based on the book by Marie Brenner, will premiere at the Alliance Theatre in October.
On the anniversary, the Woodruff will also host the Orly Commemoration Dinner at 6 p.m., a private, ticketed event in the Galleria of the Memorial Arts Building. The event will showcase the story of the Woodruff’s creation in response to the tragedy through video, performance and guest speakers.
Joe Bankoff, president and CEO of the Woodruff, said in a statement that Atlanta's "determined response" to build a memorial benefited the entire community.
"Thus the 50th anniversary of the tragedy provides a moment to recall this loss – but more importantly to recognize and celebrate Atlanta’s commitment to build and sustain a visual and performing arts center that has achieved national recognition and global stature.”