ART BEAT: Barbara Mock creates costumes to help children with challenges

Most of the dance world knows Dacula resident Barbara Mock as the lady who creates most of the tutus and other fantastic costumes worn by their performers, but she doesn't stop there. In addition to her highly successful costume business, Mock has somehow found time to create two projects that have made a big difference for breast cancer and now for children with medical challenges.

"Tu Turiffik Kidz" is her latest effort. It is a grass roots organization that makes and distributes tutus, fairy headpieces, masks and superhero capes for children with long term illnesses and disabilities. The project is operating now through donations, which are all spent on supplies.

So far, "Tu Turiffik Kidz" has brought smiles to the faces and lifted the spirits of children on the oncology/hematology floor at Egleston as well as the kids and their siblings from Bert's Big Adventure. Recently, a big batch of outfits went to Scottish Rite Children's Hospital.

Mock is putting out the call for help with this project.

"We would love to get more people involved," she said. "We need sewers, but if you can't help us make things, help us buy our supplies."

The Hudgens Center for the Arts has opened its doors for "Tu Turriffik Kidz." Mock was on the board of the Hudgens Center in the past, so it was a logical place for such an artistic project to flourish. The idea of using this project to bring out the creativity in people is appealing to all.

"Seniors, church groups, Girl Scouts, Bunco groups, everyone can help," Mock said. "Presently, we meet at the Hudgens Center on the third Saturday of each month. Our next meeting will be April 21. We bring the supplies and cut and put together 'kits' for people to take home and complete. We demonstrate how to do our items and encourage everyone to join us for a session."

Others in the community are rallying to this cause.

"The Purple Ladybug Children's Boutique at the Avenues Webb Ginn is selling our fancier tutus and capes, with 100 percent of the proceeds going back to our fabrics and supplies," Mock said.

Mock is also the creator of one of the nation's most successful teams for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-day Walk. She formed a team called "Tutus for Tatas" more than eight years ago. "Tutus for Tatas" has raised more than $1.25 million during that time and has many fundraising events each year leading up to the 60-mile walk.

Hopefully, with the public's help, Mock can make this project for children as successful.

"The opportunity to get the community involved in making items for 'Tu Turiffik Kidz' was such a perfect fit for me," she said. "It involves my two passions ... costuming and helping people."

To get involved, people can email Mock at tuturiffikkidz22@gmail.com or go to Tu Turiffik Kidz on Facebook for pictures and news. She can also be reached at 770-963-9493. If you would like to donate towards supplies, you can send a check to P.O. Box 1843, Dacula, GA, 30019.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. Email her at hcalmes@mindspring.com.