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Student art draws praise
Ryan Caronongan and Candace Poole perform a part of “Once Upon a Mattress” during the Arts Fest. Drama students presented the drama for the public earlier in the year. - photo by Photo by Alena Parker.
Parents were not the only patrons impressed with the work that students displayed during the annual Arts Fest last week at Liberty County High School.
Lewis Frasier Middle School art teacher Christine Newman has a degree in studio art, with experience in drawing, painting and ceramics.
With her creative background, Newman connected with the various kinds of artwork, saying it was the first time she has seen so many "unique materials."
"They're really stretching the boundaries of their creativity...and it's always good to do that," Newman said about the displayed work.
She especially enjoyed seeing the mixed media projects and thought the drawings were "awesome."
As an art instructor, she said she has noticed how youth offer a distinctive type of originality.
"They have a fresh perspective on things and tend to look at things in a unique way," Newman said. "You give them instruction and they take it and do their own thing, which is nice."
Marjett Schille, LCHS fine arts department head, has also seen how creative the young mind can become and wanted to help foster a sense of accomplishment in her students for their own work.
"I think it's really important for the students to have an opportunity to have their work seen in a professional manner," she said. "It makes it more important to them, makes them care about."
More than 100 art pieces were submitted for the show, expanding the display from last year by 50 entries.
Displayed work ranged from drawings and paintings to sculptures and three-dimensional pieces.
Bradwell Institute students were also permitted to submit work.
Schille explained that the LCHS Art Club sponsored the event, including the light refreshment table that was available and the gift cards as prizes for winners.
All event-goers were invited to vote in the people's choice competition for what they thought was the best art submission.
In addition to the tactile art, the Arts Fest also allowed music, song, poetry and drama. Attendees were favored with selections from the LCHS Jazz Band led by Paul Sohayda and the chorus led by Mike Collins.
Drama students presented snippets of the "Once Upon a Mattress" musical.
Carla Windham enjoyed seeing the diversity and believes having her senior son and a freshman daughter involved in the arts kept them well rounded.
"The arts are very important, for finding yourself, expressing yourself and for dealing with whatever you're dealing with," she said.
Annette Baker has witnessed first hand how art may become an important outlet for adolescents, bringing out the best in them. Her 10th grade daughter Kayla won second place in the graphic design category.
"Not each child is academically smart," she said. "My daughter struggles with some subjects, but she shines at art. It's her strong point. This gives her an opportunity to shine in other areas she can't."
Baker said art was "a way of stimulating their mind and bringing out their creative side."
"When they're really expressing themselves, relating the arts to their life, maybe it's their everyday life, maybe it's their dreams, I think that's the best thing about it," Schille said.

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