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Clinton Township, Macomb Township

May 1, 2013

School district, library partner to host student art festival

By Jeremy Selweski
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Chippewa Valley Schools’ second annual Festival of the Arts will be held from May 7-14 at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library. Pictured, Elizabeth Rini of Chesterfield Township and Rachel Rini, an eighth-grader at Wyandot Middle School, look at student artwork on display during last year’s event.

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Next week, Chippewa Valley Schools will continue its revival of a beloved event that had been missing in action for many years.

Some of the best artistic talent that the district has to offer will be on display at the second annual Festival of the Arts at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library, 40900 Romeo Plank Road. From May 7-14, the general public is invited to take a peek at artwork created by Chippewa Valley’s K-12 art students during regular library hours: Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1-6 p.m.

“You never realize the full level of talent and ability that these kids have until you actually see it for yourself — and then you say, ‘Wow!’” said Ed Skiba, executive director of secondary education for the district. “It’s really impressive what these kids are able to do at such a young age.”

In addition to the plethora of two- and three-dimensional artwork available for viewing, the festival will include a pair of musical performances featuring some of Chippewa Valley’s finest music students of all ages. Residents are invited to come to the library’s auditorium from 6-8 p.m. on May 7 and May 9 to hear small ensembles that feature everything from recorders and ukuleles, to jazz ensembles and choirs. Guests may even see and hear some of these strolling musicians among the art exhibits on the main floor.

Jamie Morris, community relations specialist for the library, pointed out that last year’s festival was a big success, and she is hopeful that it will be even bigger in 2013.

“It seemed like people really enjoyed seeing so much great student artwork hanging up all over the library,” she said. “It was a real treat for the whole community, so we were more than happy to partner with Chippewa Valley Schools again this year.”

Last year’s festival proved to be beneficial for both the school district and the library. While the event is primarily a showcase for the artistic talents of Chippewa Valley students, it also functions as a platform for the library and all the programs, products and services that it provides.

“We got a lot of nice comments last year from parents, like, ‘I’ve never been in here before, but this is a really beautiful library,’” Morris said. “We really transformed the space into a gallery for all this amazing artwork. We hope that this year’s festival can bring even more new people into the library and keep them coming back.”

The original version of the Festival of the Arts was created about 25 years ago by Skiba and former Chippewa Valley High School art teacher Carol Hughes, and it was held annually from the late ’80s through the early ’90s. Skiba described the event as an enormous outdoor celebration for the entire school district, featuring everything from student artwork, to live musical performances, to food and beverages, to children’s activities.

“It was gone for a number of years, so I’m thrilled to see that it has been resurrected in a new form,” he said. “It’s something that can provide a great deal of enjoyment for people all over the district.”

Skiba is also glad to see the addition of the Clinton-Macomb Public Library as a partner, noting that the facility did not yet exist when the original festival was up and running. With such a large and powerful learning center serving as its new home, he believes that the festival has room to keep growing for years to come.

“I think it would be wonderful if, someday, we might be able to build up this event again to the same level that it used to be,” Skiba said. “It has taken on a little bit of a different flavor now, but with the library’s help, I think it has the potential to be even better than before.”

For more information on the 2013 Festival of the Arts, call (586) 723-2000 or (586) 226-5020.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Jeremy Selweski at jSelweski@candgnews.com or at (586)218-5004.