The Richmond County Schools District Arts Festival is scheduled for April 25 at Raider Stadium on the campus of Richmond Senior High School, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
The event promises to feature interesting exhibits and engaging activities for all ages, with a special focus on recognizing and encouraging the creative drives of the students of the county’s schools.
“Visual and performance art allows children to become more well-rounded,” Mineral Springs Elementary Art teacher Kelly Wheeler said. “Children must understand that art has a context and a place in society.”
This will be the first time the school system has hosted such an event.
The concept sprung from Wheeler, who gained $1,500 in funding for the festival from the Pee Dee Electric “Bright Ideas” Grant Program.
She explained the way it is differentiated from Arts Alive! and other programs the school system currently offers to feature students’ work.
“The idea behind the Youth Arts Festival was to extend the arts from the classroom and into the community to promote art, music and performance arts into the lives of children in this county,” she said. “In the past we had several valuable opportunities that exposed youth to these experiences, but currently most outreach programs are centered toward adults.”
When Wheeler presented the concept to the Richmond County Board of Education in December, she explained her hope the Arts Festival will encourage more students to explore their interest in arts.
“I want an event that is very hands-on, very tactile,” she said.
Booths will be set up throughout the stadium featuring such subjects as clay and ceramics, sculpture, textiles, printmaking, painting, drawing, jewelry, metals, digital and graphic arts, and wood design.
Participants are welcome to come and experiment, play, make and take art projects from station to station.
Student artwork will be available for purchase in a silent auction, with bids starting at $5.
The festival will also feature several live music performances, with concession stands whose profit will go to supporting the arts in Richmond County Schools.
Admission is free for students of the county school system. For parents and visitors, there will be a $2 admission fee, which may be waived at the gate by donating $2 worth of art supplies with a receipt to prove their purchase.
Festival sponsors include Pee Dee Electric Cooperative, Marshall Office Supply, Lowe's Home Improvement, ColdStone Creamery, Carolina Perk Inc. and Pepsi-Cola.