The California Center for the Arts, Escondido, was fairly bursting at the seams with performing and visual art, sculptures, photographs, ceramics, dancing and more supplied by the city’s elementary school students last Saturday (April 9).
Supervisor Dave Roberts, Cal-Arts Executive Jerry Van Leeuwen, the center’s Museum and Education Director Leah Goodwin greeted festival-goers at the Performance Stage.
Roberts said he has long supported arts programs in schoolsand brought his adopted daughter Natalee to the festival.
Van Leeuwen told the audience that studies have proven that engineers who have taken arts classes function better in their careers.
“We’ve been fighting to bring art back into the schools,” said Goodwin. “We in Cal-Arts believe in providing all of these programs in our local schools. So, today you are going to see artworks from 23schools.”
The smART Festival showcased performances and exhibits filled by all of the school district’s students. The My Story program was on display on two stages and exhibit space at the festival. The fourth grade curriculum connects students to California history using theatrical techniques, which develop strong speaking and listening skills, according to a festival brochure.
The My Story program has been supported by the McBeth Foundationfor “15 or 16 years, working with fourth- and fifth-graders in the arts and drama,” according to Norm Timmins, a member of the foundations’ board.
The foundation was started by artist and philanthropist Barbara McBeth Woodruff, whose father, Ira McBeth invented chemicals that improved agricultural quality and increased production in the 1920s.
My Story teams of fourth-graders from North Broadway, Rock Springs and Farr elementary schools performedat the Center Theatre.
Fifth-graders used digital photography to create written narratives that connect their photos with emotions, also perspective and elements of design while sharpening language arts skills.
The exhibit in the center’s museum displayed interesting photos of everyday school life. Students showed some real talent.
The festival kicked off with a performance by the Bear Valley Intermediate School band and the colorful Ballet Folklorico de FarrSchool. The troupe, which included mini-Charro boys in broad sombreros their female counterparts in long, flouncy dresses performed dances such as “La Culebra” (The Snake) and “Viajero” (Traveler).
Quantum Academy’s Mime Team put on a silent act and dance teams from Juniper, Pioneer, Rose schools and Del Dios Academy performed interspersed with music from the Juniper Choir, The Golden Notes and Rainbow Rhythm Sticks.
The Mainly MozartYouth Orchestra performed a free concert at 3 p.m. under the direction of Hernan Constantino.
High Tech Elementary North County fifth-grade Arts Exploratory Teacher Rina Vinetz was on hand to present the school’s exhibit inspired by the large- scale sculptures of everyday items by Claes Oldenburg.
The “Larger than Life” exhibit featured a vertical stick of butter three feet long, giant Crayola markers and pencils, along with overlarge, lifelike packages of Skittles, Cheetos and other treats.