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Arts Day introduces fourth graders to various art forms

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KENT—Fourth graders from all of the schools in Region 1 gathered Wednesday at the independent Kent School to expand their artistic horizons.

Dance China performed the Lion Dance Wednesday at Fourth Grade Arts Day hosted at Kent School. Photo by Lynn Mellis Worthington

It was the 28th year that Region 1 has held Fourth Grade Arts Day and this year’s event was coordinated by Kent Center School music teacher David Poirier. He quickly pointed out, however, that it was a team effort involving all of the art and music teachers in the region. He also saluted Geoff Stewart of Kent School, chair of the Performing Arts Department and director of the theatre.

The school donated the facility, provided lunch and many faculty and staff donated their time to assist. It was the second year that Kent had hosted the event. Previously it was held at Hotchkiss School.

“We want to inspire students to take more interest in the arts in general and just see how many different possibilities there are,” Poirier said. The elementary schools have strong visual arts programs and music programs but the Arts Day expands their view of arts.

Kent resident Nate Keck, left, learns how to do needle felting in a workshop Wednesday at Fourth Grade Arts Day hosted at Kent School. Photo by Lynn Mellis Worthington

“Here we’re really opening the door to lots of different things and maybe redefining what the arts means in general for them.”

This year’s workshops included 10 different offerings that ranged from shadow puppets to Broadway-style dancing to “My Shot” from Hamilton. Artists were compensated for their time through the Region 1 Arts Fund.

The workshops were: needle felting with Jen Markow; shadow puppets with Susan Aziz; spud stamps with Blake Myers; cardboard sculpture with Henry Klimowicz; Ukrainian eggs with Lisa Marsan; intro to Hip Hop with Starr Jeffries; a day of Broadway with Amber Cameron; drum circle with Kate Main; ribbon dance with Dance China; and creative movement for the stage with Heather Holohan-Guarnieri.

Starr Jeffries of Kent leads her group in warming up for the Intro to Hip Hop workshop Wednesday at Fourth Grade Arts Day held in the library at Kent School . Photo by Lynn Mellis Worthington

After a welcome from Superintendent Lisa Carter, there was a showcase performance from Dance China. With colorful costumes, the dancers demonstrated four different dances, including the Lion Dance, which involved the four-legged costumed creature venturing into the audience to the delight of the youngsters.

A second showcase performance was by John Galusha performing beatboxing. Galusha spent a number of his childhood years in Kent and recently moved back to town.

Teaching Broadway dance, Amber Cameron leads students through Hamilton’s ‘My Shot’ at the Fourth Grade Arts Day. Photo by Lynn Mellis Worthington
Lynn Worthington
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