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Dearborn schools hold 3rd Youth Arts Festival tomorrow at the Center

Dearborn schools hold 3rd Youth Arts Festival tomorrow at the Center, The 2013 Youth in Arts Festival will feature visual, instrumental, choral and theatrical offerings from 4-8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Ave.

For the third year, Dearborn Public Schools, Henry Ford Community College and the Dearborn Community Fund (DCF) will be shining a spotlight on the creative talents of more than 400 students. DCF Executive Director EmmaJean Woodyard.said an art show will start with opening remarks at 4:10 p.m.and run until 6 p.m.

There will be visual arts demonstrations and music in the lobby afterward, she said, starting at 6:30 p.m. Performance will follow on stage at 7:30 p.m. In starting the Festival, according to Woodyard, the whole emphasis has been to show the artistic talent in the schools, from elementary grades on through college, while giving these students the opportunity to present their art.

“It's the only these students' schools all come together,” she said. “Different schools are selected for the festival, so each year we have different mixes of students.”

Selected works from the K-12 students will be exhibited at the Center's Padzieski Gallery through May 27. The opening of the Dearborn Public Schools City Wide Art Show will include the 4:10 p.m. opening remarks in the Michael A. Guido Theater, as well as “Senior Talks" in the Gallery at 5:30 p.m. The high school seniors were selected to participate in the talks for their body of work, Woodyard said.

The Dearborn Youth Symphony String Ensemble will begin music at 6:30 p.m., as artistic demonstrations take place in the theater lobby. The subjects being demonstrated will probably include origami, and the Pockets of Perception (POP) Design Team talking on their mosaic project. Representatives from the Dearborn Symphony and Friends of the Dearborn Symphony will host an information table.

The 7:30 p.m. Collage Performance in the Michael A. Guido Theater will include special guest performers like Dearborn Public Schools graduates Bree Rafferty Dowhan and G. Kevin Dewey (joined by Anna Hnatiuk Dewey). Dearborn High School theater arts performers will do selections from Disney's “Beauty and the Beast” (directed by Gregory P. Viscomi).

Choral performances on stage will include the Elementary Honors Choir (directed by Jim Walters), the Secondary Hornos Choir (directed by Jennifer Pegouske), Fordson High School Vocal Ensemble (directed by Jacob A. McClory), and HFCC Blue Fusion (directed by G. Kevin Dewey). Instrumental performances will be provided by the Maples Arabic Music Ensemble 2013 (directed by Catherine Prowse), Edsel Ford High School Jazz Ensemble (directed by Michael A. Kalasz) and Bryant Middle School Orchestra (directed by Rick Peirce).

The involvement in the festival of graduates coming back as performers, musicians or teachers sends a message to the students, Woodyard said, “that they can fashion a career in the arts.” Though the festival organizers have no idea what size of crowd will be drawn in an particular year, she said, “each year more of the teachers buy into it.

“The idea is to show how many students are involved in the arts, not to mention the joy it brings to show their work,” Woodyard said. “They also can see what other schools are doing, and draw inspiration from it.”

The April 24 Youth in Arts Festival is open to the public, and free to attend. For more information on Youth in Arts, other DCF projects, or how to contribute to the Fund, call (313) 943-5478 or visit

Youth in Arts is a co-operative project by the DCF, Dearborn Public Schools and HFCC with support provided by the Recreation & Parks Department, Dearborn Community Arts Council, and Margaret Schaefer. The DCF is a 501c3 organization with the mission to support cultural and recreational programs in Dearborn.

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