Local students are in spotlight at annual fine arts celebration –
Story by Patricia Beech –
Photo by Mark Carpenter –
More than 300 people turned out on Wednesday, March 29 for the All-County Arts and Music Festival held at West Union High School. The event spotlights the creative efforts of students from the four county schools.
The festival featured the music, art, and literary works of students, performances by the All-County Choir and Band, readings of student poetry and short stories, and an enormous art show in the school’s gymnasium featuring both two and three-dimensional student art works,
The Joan Wittenmyer Memorial Art Awards and the John and Tim Lewis Memorial Scholarships were also presented to students during the evening ceremony.
Guest artists for the evening included: Dr. Terren L. Frenz directing the All-County Band, Tom Hamrick directing the All-County Choir, and guest speaker, artist Gary Blevins.
“We’ve had an excellent turnout this evening,” said event coordinator Janice Day. “Our community is very supportive of our visual, music, and language arts programs, and this event really gives our students a chance to shine by sharing their work with others.”
More than 300 students from the four county schools participated in the event: 15 students contributed poetry and short stories, 56 students performed in the band, 54 students performed with the choir, and in the visual arts category 184 students contributed art work in a wide variety of mediums and genres.
Page Day, who teaches Freshman English at North Adams High School said she was surprised by how interested her students were in submitting their work for the festival. “We did a poetry unit from January to March and the kids, surprisingly, really got into writing, they had a lot of enthusiasm for the work.”
Recipients of the Joan Wittenmyer McCoy Scholarship Award for 2-Dimensional Art were: Sydney Spires of WUHS, First Place; Cameron Unger of NAHS, Second Place; Third Place went to Dakota Swearingen of WUHS; and Honorable Mention winners were Madison Siders of NAHS, Victoria McCane of PHS, and Shelby Dotson of NAHS.
In the 3-Dimensional category the Wittenmyer McCoy scholarship recipients were: First Place, Uriah Hall from NAHS; Second Place, Uriah Hall from NAHS; Third Place, Elijah Siders of NAHS; and those winning Honorable Mention were Uriah Hall from NAHS winning for two entries, Sianna Mills of WUHS, and Gracie Roades of NAHS.
The Timothy and John Lewis Scholarships Award recipients were Jace Howard of MHS and Caitlin Young of NAHS.
Judges for the Memorial Art Awards included Connie Barrett, Mary Braun, and Virginia K. Hess.
Recipients of creative arts awards from other venues and competitions were also recognized. North Adam High School students who successfully participated in the Maysville Community and Technical College Art Show were: Shelby Dotson, Second Place – Painting; Gabby Bromagen, First Place – Mixed Media; Uriah Hall, Honorable Mention – Sculpture; Uriah Hall, First Place – Sculpture; Uriah Hall, Reserve Best of Show – Sculpture.
NAHS winners of the Local Water/Cincinnati Zoo Rain Barrel Project were Gracie Roades, Madison Siders and Mackenzie Toole. In the Tobacco Coalition Poster/Logo Contest Sierra Kendall won Third Place and Adison Wright won Second Place.
Abbi DiBiaso of WUHS was the $500 winner of the “Ohio River Sweep” T-shirt Contest beating out over 700 entries, and Katarina Trimble, also a WUHS student, was the $300 winner of the “Tobacco Free Places = Healthier Spaces” poster contest.
The guest speaker for the evening was Gary Blevins, a noted artist specializing in sports figures and wildlife scenes. Blevins studied art at the Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass. and is currently creating a series of Norman Rockwell tribute paintings. He is also licensed by Ohio State University and prints of his painting are sold on campus, as well as in art galleries in Destin, Fla., Springfield, Ohio and Xenia, Ohio.
Several of Blevins’ paintings were on display throughout the evening, and students had the opportunity to speak with him about his work and their own.
“I’m so impressed with the art work I’ve seen here tonight,” he said. “I’ve been to several schools across the state and I’ve never seen an event like this one, with this many people involved and coming out to support young artists, it just amazing.”
The Guest Choir Conductor for the evening was Tom Hamrick, a former teacher in the Ohio Valley School District who has received superior ratings for his performances. It was his fourth appearance as guest conductor.
The Guest Band Conductor was Dr. Terren Frenz who recently retired from the University of Cincinnati Directors of Bands position. Frenz worked 54 years as a band director in Ohio public schools. He has served as guest band conductor, church choir director, marching show designer, author adjudicator and motivational speaker for dozens of high school, university and adult groups across the U.S. and Europe. He has also performed with the Canton and Akron Symphonies, the Canton Community Band, the Cincinnati Brass Band, and the world-renowned Glenn Miller Orchestra. When not conducting he plays trumpet with his own quintet, “The Brass Factory”.
Also contributing to the evening’s success were members of the Adams County Arts Council Board: Betsy Miskell – President, Davina Cooper – Vice President, Sally White – Secretary, and Mary Jane Campbell – Treasurer.