Designing Donkey Hodie: From Make Believe to Someplace Else

Saturday, May 18 – Aug 12, 2024

150 Cottage Hill Ave.
Elmhurst, IL 60126

Elmhurst Art Museum announces an exciting summer of family-friendly programming featuring an exhibition exploring the visual evolution of the popular PBS KIDS show Donkey Hodie produced by Fred Rogers Productions and Spiffy Pictures, Designing Donkey Hodie: From Make-Believe to Someplace Else from May 18 to Aug 12, 2024. The museum’s summer season kicks off with the return of the free-to-the-public family art festival Art in Wilder Park from May 4-5, from 10 am to 5 pm in the heart of Elmhurst at 150 South Cottage Hill Avenue.


Designing Donkey Hodie: From Make-Believe to Someplace Else draws audiences into the unique and creative visual world of the Emmy®-nominated, live-action puppet series. The exhibit will introduce the origins of Donkey Hodie, a character that debuted on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood in the 1960s and has been reimagined for the puppet series today. Attendees can experience the visual development of the series through storyboards, drawings, models, puppets, set pieces, and other props from the show.

Displays, including original concept artwork and props from the series, and hands-on activities offer multiple ways to explore the practical magic behind the imaginative puppet series, from puppet design and building to the art of set and prop design. The exhibit follows efforts by the award-winning production team from Chicago-based Spiffy Pictures and Pittsburgh-based Fred Rogers Productions to create the adventures of Donkey Hodie and her pals.

Inspired by characters from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Donkey Hodie is an imaginative puppet series that follows the adventures of Donkey Hodie, an enthusiastic and charming go-getter who takes on each day with curiosity and resilience, and her pals Purple Panda, Duck Duck, and Bob Dog. Set in the whimsical land of Someplace Else, the series is designed to empower children ages 3-5 to dream big and overcome obstacles in their own lives, work hard and persevere in the face of failure, be resourceful, and discover they can solve problems on their own—and laugh themselves silly along the way.

Donkey Hodie is produced by Fred Rogers Productions and Spiffy Pictures. The series is created by Adam Rudman and David Rudman of Spiffy Pictures and developed by Ellen Doherty, chief creative officer of Fred Rogers Productions. Executive producers are Doherty, Adam Rudman, and David Rudman.


About Fred Rogers Productions

Fred Rogers Productions was founded by Fred Rogers in 1971 as the non-profit producer of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood for PBS. In the years that followed, it created hundreds of episodes of this much-loved program and extended Fred’s values and approach to other efforts in promoting children’s social, emotional, and behavioral health while supporting parents, caregivers, teachers, and other professionals in their work with children. Fred Rogers Productions continues to build on Fred’s legacy in innovative ways through a wide variety of media and engages new generations of children and families with his timeless wisdom. The company’s highly rated children’s series, including Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Peg + Cat, Odd Squad, and Through the Woods, have earned 30 Emmy® Awards among other important honors. The company’s latest series are Donkey Hodie, the innovative puppet series inspired by characters from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and Alma’s Way, an animated series created by Sonia Manzano. Fred Rogers Productions strives to inspire a lifelong enthusiasm for learning through its series as well as efforts beyond broadcast including games and interactive offerings, community engagement activities, and much more.


About Spiffy Pictures

Founded by brothers, David Rudman and Adam Rudman, Spiffy Pictures is a creative development and production company specializing in both animated and live-action puppet-based entertainment for kids and families. Known for whimsical humor and music filled shows, the inventive award-winning Chicago-based company has created, produced, written, and directed series for PBS KIDS, Nickelodeon, Disney, MTV, Comedy Central, Sesame Street and Warner Brothers. Spiffy’s current series include PBS KIDS’ Emmy® Award-nominated live-action puppet series Donkey Hodie, a co-production with Fred Rogers Productions, and the long-running Environmental Media Award-winning animated series Nature Cat, as well as the upcoming Carl the Collector with creator and best-selling illustrator and author Zachariah Ohora. Past series include Nick Jr.'s Emmy® Award and Prix Jeunesse-nominated Jack’s Big Music Show; Disney's Emmy® Award-nominated Bunnytown; and Nick Jr.’s Curious Buddies. The company's additional credits include Warner Brothers' Scooby-Doo! Adventures: The Mystery Map and Nick Worldwide's Frankie and Frank.  

Art in Wilder Park is produced by the Elmhurst Art Museum in partnership with Elmhurst Park District and RGL Marketing for the Arts, Inc. Presented sponsor Kelly Stetler | Compass. Festival sponsors: Chiro One Wellness Centers, Discover DuPage, Explore Elmhurst, Great American Exteriors, The Home Improvement Network, Mosaic Counseling & Wellness, John Noldan / Guaranteed Rate. Special Event Sponsors: Unlimited Heating & Cooling.

Monsters in Wilder Park is made possible in partnership with Elmhurst Park District and generously supported by the JCS Arts, Health and Education Fund of DuPage Foundation with additional support from Elmhurst Bank/Wintrust, Total Window Treatments, and Production support by DIT Workshops.

Designing Donkey Hodie is sponsored by DuPage Foundation.