ArtFest 2017 will take place Mar. 22-25, and will feature around 500 students’ pieces. (Photo by Michelle Lynch)
ArtFest 2017 will take place Mar. 22-25, and will feature around 500 students’ pieces.

Photo by Michelle Lynch

ArtFest to take place March 22-25

March 20, 2017

This year’s annual South ArtFest, held in the Multipurpose Room (MPR) from March 22-25, will include approximately 500 students participating and at least 2,000 people coming to admire student artwork, according to the South ArtFest webpage.

“ArtFest is the one time every year that the art students show what they have done,” art teacher Kit Aro said. “They are quietly working away all the rest of the time, and then, it’s like an explosion of art on the walls. If you go to another high school, you wouldn’t see something like this.”

ArtFest is filled with student work and community involvement, Aro said. For students, the ArtFest is a time to see another side of their peers– the creative side of people that they may have never known of.

According to Aro, this year in particular is a special year for the ArtFest because South has never had, or come close to, 14 senior gold key portfolios from the Scholastic Awards.

“It is really incredible,” Aro said. “We have a senior class that is absolutely beyond anything that we have ever had before in terms of award winning seniors.”

Logan Cholody ’17 was one of the seniors who received a gold key portfolio and a silver key individual. All of his pieces will be featured for others to see at the ArtFest, he said.

“Lots of the things that inspire me are natural patterns in nature, so the bark on a tree is a look that has inspired me to try to create that in my pieces, or the veins in marble and lots of stones that you get in the ground,” Cholody said. “I like to make my pieces look like they came from the outdoors. I like to get my inspiration from nature.”

According to Cholody, those that received a Gold Key were invited to attend a ceremony in February at the Detroit Film Theatre.

There will also be individual awards for the art pieces at the ArtFest, Aro said. The artwork at the ArtFest have been pieces that students have been working on all school year. Some pieces may even be from last spring after last year’s ArtFest ended.

“Many awards have already been received and achieved by these kids, and ArtFest will have even more from various community members who support the arts and recognize work they love and give it an award, which is usually money,” Aro said.

According to Aro, students are not the only ones who have been diligently working for the past year. Michelle Lynch, co-chair of the ArtFest Committee, has been working with a team of community volunteers that have been vigorously working behind the scenes to ensure that the ArtFest is once again successful and enjoyable for all, Aro said.

Photo by Michelle Lynch
Art Fest will take place at the end of this week. It will feature about 500 students’ artwork.

“All these community members participate, including lots and lots of docents who watch over the work,” Aro said. “It really is a community event. It is an absolutely stunning amount of work for the students, staff and the committee.”

This year, parent volunteers Lynn Gadzinski and Lynette Halalay are making new, dramatic tablecloths for the presentations, Aro said. Another parent, Susan Trudeau wrote a grant that brought in 12,000 dollars for new boards from two donors: Carole Kowalczyk and Michigan Center for Fertility and Women’s Health and The Grosse Pointe Foundation for Public Education, according to Aro. There will also be a new 1,000 dollar scholarship sponsored by Dr. Wakeem, called the “Jehan Wakeem, DDS Scholarship.”

“…That will be a new surprise this year to see all the new, great display. The artwork is going to look so much better because this community group created new display system for 3D and for 2D, and that is stunning,” Aro said. “I am blown away by Lynn Gadzinski and Lynette who are doing all of the table cloths; I am blown away by Susan Trudeau and her grant which brought in 12,000 dollars for new display boards.”

According to Lynch, it takes days to prepare the MPR for the hundreds– if not thousands– of pieces of art. Preparation includes setting up the display boards and tables and transporting the art to the MPR and placing it on displays.

“For the parent volunteers, preparations and planning for ArtFest begins in the fall,” Lynch said. “It takes a small army of volunteers to pull off a show of this magnitude.”

According to Cholody, students, teachers and community members have put in an uncountable amount of hours thus far into the ArtFest.

“So far this year, we’ve put in an uncountable of hours, and even days,” Cholody said. “For the ceramics class, it’s probably since October once we really got into the swing of things with a little break for the change of semester. This is all year’s work going in.”

According to Lynch, the community will be blown away by the student talent and all of the dedicated teachers. The art students create artwork each year for the ArtFest takes an extensive amount of time to create from the concept to the final execution, Lynch said.

“Every year, visitors will say, ‘I can’t believe this work is from high school students,’” Lynch said. “This is the community’s one chance each year to see what South’s art department is all about. While other school groups like band or choir have multiple events in a school year, ArtFest is our big event.”

  Cholody said he wishes people attend this year’s ArtFest so that students can see the work that their peers have been endeavoring on the past year. Cholody looks forward to the ArtFest because it contains a wide variety of students and artwork in the show.

“There are students who you wouldn’t really know that are in art classes, but they do participate and they do put out some really great pieces, and then there are the students that you can tell they are all about art, so they will be putting a ton of their pieces in there,” Cholody said. “I just really like how inclusive it is. It is just a room full of Grosse Pointe South student art, and I think that is something really incredible for us to see.”   

The ArtFest will take place in South’s MPR on Wednesday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m, Friday from 5 to 7 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Awards night will be on Friday from 7 to 8 p.m.

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