Every year for the past 9 years during the month of March, we invite 16 different artists to visit our school for a day. They range from watercolor painter, print maker, muralist, ceramicist, to dancer, actor, violinist, and once even a dulcimer player. The menu of artists is always changing and evolving, some people cannot return due to previous commitments, some move out of the area, and sometimes they just don’t work out. I remember one year inviting an opera singer that refused to sing!
Our Hillcrest Intermediate School Arts Festival was my brainchild. But, I cannot take all of the credit. This endeavor would never be possible without the endless support of my principal and Parent Teacher Association. Our PTA works tirelessly to provide our children with programs and support systems that make learning fun. It is not without their monetary support that we can provide this as well as other events at our school. Even though the artists come for a minimal fee ($100 each) they are compensated none the less. Every year one artist or another will come to me or my teaching partner and expresses their thanks for asking them to come and share their talent. It is all for the love of their craft and the benefit of the children that they support this day.
The day is divided into two sections. In the morning the 6th grade students visit artists for 20 minute intervals. Each year we try to mix up the group that they will see so there is always someone new. In the afternoon 5th grade follows the same procedure. By the end of one school day 800+ students from 32 different homerooms visit 5 different artists.
This year, I am on a sabbatical leave so my teaching partner had to take on the job of organizing and bringing this event to fruition. She did a tremendous job of finding new and innovative talent to share with our students by adding young blood to the mixture of the more seasoned artists. I visited school this morning to see how the day was going and cannot be happier with the results. This was by far one of the best Art Festival’s in the history of the event. Kudos to you Ms. Brown, the annual Hillcrest Intermediate Arts Festival was indeed a grand success!