A celebration of the arts

National Art Honor Society to host community Fine Arts Festival at FHC on Jan. 31

Every winter, students receive the opportunity to showcase their artistic talent at the annual Fine Arts Festival. This year, the event, sponsored by the National Art Honor Society, is set to take place on Jan. 31 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The evening will be filled with a variety of exhibitions from talented musical performances to unique art displays.

On the day of the festival, members of the community are invited to come and witness some of the pieces and performances that students from choir, band, theater and the fine arts department have prepared. The event will consist of huge art displays and multiple activity booths. Those who attend will be given the opportunity to experience activities such as drawing, printmaking, painting and pottery. Although admission to the festival as well as food at the event is free, any donations are greatly appreciated.

According to Ms. Judy Switzer, National Board Certified art teacher and NAHS sponsor, the Fine Arts Festival is a celebration of the arts at FHC and also a great way to raise money in order to support those arts. There is no strict criteria that determines which art is showcased at the event. Instead, students are encouraged to request that their artwork be displayed.

“We’re trying to bring awareness to the art programs that we offer so we’re very liberal [when it comes to this] and try to display as much as we can,” Ms. Switzer said.

Ms. Elizabeth Allen, who teaches Intro to Art and Ceramics, is co-sponsoring the Fine Arts festival alongside Ms. Switzer for the first time this year.

“I feel very honored that Ms. Switzer asked me to help her this year with NAHS as a first year teacher,” Ms. Allen said. “I have learned a lot about how to run an art program for our high school students and how to get ready for the festival of the year. I hope to continue with NAHS every year.”

Due to multiple snow days at the beginning of the semester, preparing for the festival has turned out to be more hectic than expected. Each week, members of NAHS have been getting together for a few hours in order to choose a layout and plan for the festival. NAHS recruited for these members through flyers and officers were chosen through teacher recommendations. Officers, members, and sponsors met weekly to come up with ideas for art projects that guests can try and create at the festival.

The festival itself is primarily student-run. NAHS members were able to sign up and volunteer their time to working on the event. Senior Milin Alonzo is helping organize the festival for the first time this year. As vice president of NAHS, she is responsible for figuring out how to get members involved with the event.

“The festival is a way to mainly advocate the arts and also raise money for scholarships [while doing so],” Alonzo said. “Two $500 scholarships are given to seniors each year.”

Various measures will be taken to support these fundraising efforts. A silent auction will held at the festival, and different pieces of art are going to be sold in order to raise money. During the last month, a wide variety of artwork was collected from students, teachers, and members of the community for the auction. Donations were requested through Twitter, weekly meetings, and phone calls. In addition to art, merchandise which includes earrings made by NAHS members will also be sold.

The proceeds from the silent auction and also the sale of merchandise will be divided among the fine arts, and the majority is going to be put towards the Bill Hearst Memorial Scholarship Fund. Mr. Bill Hearst was a former FHSD art teacher who helped establish the art department. A scholarship fund was created in his honor when he died from bone cancer in 2011. The Fine Arts Festival hopes to raise money for this scholarship which aims to sponsor high school students who plan on attending a school for the arts in order to pursue future careers in this field.

The scholarship requires interested students to complete and submit an application. The application includes an essay in which students who are interested in pursuing a career in the arts must discuss their personal and academic goals for the future. All applications are then reviewed by the art department in order to determine the two best candidates for the scholarship. Both seniors that are chosen will be awarded a $500 scholarship to pursue careers in the arts.