Local Students to Attend Hands-On Arts Festival

More than 80 students from Salem's Richmond Elementary School will immerse themselves in the arts at Willamette University May 28-31 for the third annual School of Education Fine Arts Festival.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, students will focus on a different art form. Day one is about the visual arts. Students will view sculpture at Willamette's Hallie Ford Museum and architecture at the Elsinore Theatre. They will create their own self-portrait after studying the "Self Portrait" by Picasso. Following a discussion about drawing with graphic artist Jason Kenitzer, students will design and paint their own t-shirt.

Day two focuses on dance. Beginning with a demonstration and lecture by Ballerina Jennifer Hoyt, students will participate in country line dancing, jazz and modern dance and ballet. Darryl Thomas, co-artistic director and choreographer for Rainbow Dance Theatre of Portland, will join his company in demonstrating African American, West African, and Haitian dance styles.

Day three features music. Students will visit with composer Glen Bledsoe and try their hand at music composition. They will study the life and times of Beethoven, how an orchestra works and the role of each instrument. Using Vivaldi's "Four Seasons," students will also write their own libretto. The high point of music day is the student performance of the opera "Starbird." Children from area schools will join the Richmond Elementary students in this delightful adventure featuring singing animals, evil robots and a mystical bird from outer space.

The opera will be repeated at 7 p.m. on May 30 and will be free and open to the public in Smith Auditorium at Willamette.

The fourth and final day is about theatre. With help from the Tears of Joy Puppet Theatre of Portland, students will construct puppets, experiment with stage make up, play games and learn to tell a story through hula dancing.

Participating teachers are eligible for Continuing Education Credits through Willamette University. For more information about the event, contact Robin Fromherz at the Willamette University School of Education at 503-375-5410.