Schools throughout the state are humming with arts activities these days, with music concerts, classroom programs, visual arts exhibits and theater events. Touching on everything from poetry to clogging, activities range from one-on-one workshops to districtwide choral festivals and dance concerts.
Focusing attention on this beehive of activity in the Beehive State is the 18th annual Festival of Arts for the Young through Friday - the flagship week for arts in schools in Utah. The theme of this year's festival is "The Arts . . . Heartbeat of Our Senses."Accordingly, a kickoff was held at Driggs Elementary in Granite District on Monday, with a proclamation by Lt. Gov. Val Oveson, music from Hunter Elementary and Timpview High, and awards presented to Utah schools with outstanding arts programs.
Avery Glenn, state music education specialist, estimates that hundreds of thousands of school students will be involved in the festival. Some arts events have already taken place or continue into May, and that's all right too, said Glenn. "We recommend that schools hold events during the last week in April, but if that's not convenient we encourage them to do something of their choice later or earlier."
You can sample the arts as they are enjoyed in Utah schools in many locations this week.
For example, in Granite District the Gourley Elementary School will present a Shakespearean Festival in an Old Globe Theater setting, on April 26 at 7 p.m., one cent admission. At Churchill Junior High, April 26 at 8:30 a.m., see a festival of art featuring the Churchill jazz band and Danny Kramer as emcee. At Granite High School May 3-6, a juried showing of the best art from Granite high schools will be on display.
Tonight at Alta High School at 7 p.m., a concert will feature dance clubs from all Jordan District high schools. On April 27 at Union Middle School, an honor show will feature the best students of band, orchestra and chorus from Jordan middle schools. And more than 550 entries by arts students from Jordan District high schools are on display in the South Town Mall, through May 6.
Looking ahead, during the week of May 8-12 specialists from the Utah Arts Council and talented high school students will work with handicapped children of the Jordan District in arts workshops including puppetry, "Tex-Mex" band music, belly dancing and bluegrass and a wealth of other subjects.
In the Salt Lake District, see a juried art show from all district high schools at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts on the University of Utah campus, now through May 7. Focus of the district has been to support the Very Special Arts Festival, showcasing the developmentally disabled, at Hawthorne Elementary on April 27 and 28, but individual schools also have taken notice of festival week.
For example, Nibley Park sixth-grade just completed a Renaissance Fair highlighted by excerpts from Shakespearean plays, and Washington Elementary has planned a historical play, to be given by fifth-graders this evening at 7. Entries in the school's science fair, April 27 from 3 to 5 p.m., has been encouraged to take an arts focus. All efforts are now geared toward Washington's Renaissance Fair, May 15-19, which is also parent week.
Two events from the extended learning program at Lowell Elementary include a humanities emphasis on May 11, when students will present a play in German; and on May 26, a Shakespeare Festival with excerpts from three plays.
Salt Lake District junior highs will hold their annual choral festival on April 28 at 9:30 a.m. in Clayton Junior High; on May 9 a similar festival for instrumental students will be held at Northwest Junior High. On April 20, Highland High's orchestra performed a work it had commissioned from Utah composer Henry Wolking.
"Spring is traditionally music and arts festival time, and we encourage every child in every school to be involved in the arts, whether during festival week or later," said Sue Heath, arts in education coordinator for the Utah Arts Council.
Hundreds more events are going on throughout the state. For a rundown on what's going on in your area, call your local high school or grade school.
Utah's Festival of Arts for the Young is sponsored by the Utah State Board of Education, the State Office of Education, Utah Arts Council, Utah Alliance for Arts Education and Utah Congress of Parents and Teachers.