Clinton Public School District Dr. Phil Burchfield, superintendent (601) 924-7533 Media contact: Sandi Beason CHS plans Arrowfest, a celebration of the arts CLINTON — Traditionally, schools are hailed for their academic offerings, and praised when students excel in the classroom. But the arts play a vital role as well in the Clinton Public School District. And to celebrate visual arts, music, drama and dance, Clinton High School will hold its fourth annual Arrowfest, from late March through early May. “Every year it’s gotten bigger,” said art teacher and Arrowfest organizer Sheri Shramek. “We focus on the arts and celebrate the arts in the Clinton Public School District. We usually run for several weeks, with lots of events.” Arrowfest this year will kick off on Friday, March 27, with a free performance of “Why I Live at the P.O.”, a play based on the short story by Eudora Welty. Beth Garriga, media specialist, worked in partnership with the Arts Council of Clinton to secure grant funding for the performance. “The actress, Jo Ann Robinson, performs this play around the state and region,” Garriga said. “We are fortunate to get her here, and grateful that we’re able to offer this at no cost to the children and families in Clinton.” In the following weeks, there will be band concerts, the Attache Spring Revue, choir programs, art shows at the high school and the Baptist Healthplex, and professionals come in and speak on a variety of topics during the homeroom period. “Professional people come in and speak about certain arts,” Shramek said. “It could be an author or musician or an artist doing a demonstration. We get eight to 10 different speakers to come in.” Shramek said the Arrowfest schedule does not interrupt state or AP testing. And the events are not just for art or music students. “The kids don’t have to take art to get a glimpse of what the presenter is saying,” she said. “It’s a window of opportunity to get something out there that the kids might not normally be exposed to.” During the “Big Day of Arrowfest,” on Thursday, April 16, CHS will hold a sidewalk chalk competition on the front sidewalk, weather permitting. Students will have an hour to draw a 4-foot by 6-foot rectangle. Some mimic famous artists like Pablo Picasso or Vincent Van Gough, and others have more unique creations.
“We took chalk and drew on the sidewalk out front,” said Meghan Pittman, also a junior, of last year’s Arrowfest. “We did pop art, impressionism, surrealism and art from different periods.” Like last year, teachers and coaches will judge the chalk drawings. “If it rains out, we’ll have the chalk competition on another day,” Shramek said. Also on the Big Day of Arrowfest, younger students from the district’s elementary schools can visit CHS to see booths where students demonstrate areas such as airbrushing, paper-making and clay on a potter’s wheel. An English teacher will show how to make porcelain dolls, and there will be dance demonstrations in tap, ballet and jazz styles. “The second-graders will come on Tuesday before Thursday’s Big Day for an Attache performance,” Shramek said. “Last year I worked at the linoleum printing booth,” said CHS junior Abby Gifford. Students from Clinton Park and Life Skills students from Clinton Junior High came to the event last year. “We showed them how to do art stuff, like paper making and linoleum printing.” Gifford said she’ll take art every year she’s at Clinton High, and may continue her art education in college. Some groups, including the band, art club and Future Educators of America, have held fundraisers during Arrowfest in the past, to help pay for supplies, other expenses and for charity. Winners of the short story and music composition contest will be announced during Arrowfest. A new event this year is the original music composition contest. Students submitted original compositions to be judged by Thad Beaty, a former CHS student and guitarist with the country group Sugarland, and Jason Collum, another CHS graduate. They own and operate a production company, Sorted Noise. Thad is the son of Janice Beaty, a science teacher at CHS. Jason is the son of Sherry Collum, who teaches first grade at Clinton Park Elementary School. Arrowfest will conclude with the Attache Spring Revue, the showchoir’s highly anticipated spring performance. “The arts in education bring a depth to learning that can’t be replicated with just academic instruction,” said Dr. Phil Burchfield, superintendent of schools. “We have an number of high-quality arts programs in Clinton, and events like Arrowfest really highlight that. The students and staff all enjoy it. And it’s nice to take time to showcase our arts programs for the community and within the schools.” -30-