ArtFest in the West Promises Family Fun

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Whitney Thompson demonstrates pot-throwing at Artfest 2017 while her family and Caitlin Adams look on. Photo: Laura Chatterson.

By Clover Carroll with Bob Beard

Arts students, parents, and teachers in Albemarle County schools will be holding the 6th annual ArtFest in the West celebration of the Arts in Western Education (AWE) Friday, March 2, from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Western Albemarle High School cafeteria. This free event is both a fundraiser for arts programs in the schools and a showcase of student talent. The theme for this year’s ArtFest is “Out of This World.” Families can expect stellar art exhibits, kids’ activities, decorations, delicious food, and a silent auction with loads of items of universal appeal. Most importantly, the event will star student artists and their work in vocal and instrumental music, fine arts, photography, creative writing, and drama.

Families with kids of all ages are encouraged to take part in a wide range of interactive activities including ceramics demos, hands-on arts and crafts, a photo booth, and incredible performances by Meriwether Lewis Elementary Music Students, Henley Middle School Jazz Band, WAHS Jazz Band, WAHS Choir, WAHS Orchestra, WAHS Ceramics, and a preview performance from the WAHS spring musical Legally Blonde.

Although the event is free, donations will be gratefully accepted. The goal is to raise $10,000 for arts education in the six western Albemarle County public schools. There will be a silent auction for a variety of great items including music lessons, original art, gift certificates to local spas and restaurants, and more, with funds going directly to arts programs in the schools.

ArtFest in the West is sponsored by the six western Albemarle schools’ Fine Arts Departments and Arts in Western Education (AWE), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization created to provide support, awareness, and celebration of the arts in the Western Albemarle feeder pattern schools (www.awe.org). Jim Lambert, President of the AWE Board of Directors, said, “This event is growing each year because it focuses on the kids, their talent, and the whole family coming and having fun together, celebrating and raising money for arts projects in our schools. Our arts programs are growing, but the county’s budget isn’t keeping up. We need to make up the difference to support our student artists.”

And mark your calendars! The WAHS Theatre Company will present Legally Blonde: the Musical starring Chloe Horner, Tyler Gale, Tristan Rose, and Camille Kielbasa, Thursday, March 15 through Saturday, March 17 at 7:30 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, March 17 in the WAHS auditorium at 5941 Rockfish Gap Turnpike. This award-winning musical comedy follows the transformation of Elle Woods as she tackles stereotypes and scandal in pursuit of her dreams at Harvard Law School. With music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin and book by Heather Hach, the WAHS production is directed by Caitlin Pitts with music direction by Joel Hartshorn. Tickets costing from $6 for students to $14 for adults will be available soon.

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