April 29 marked the 9th annual Arts Alive festival at Westerville Central High School. This amazing event took place outside and inside of the large high school, and featured more than 160 four-foot-square chalk murals surrounding the building, all created live in one day. Some 350 artists participated in chalk drawing (after winning a design contest), many in teams of three or four teenagers. Three classes of Alcott Elementary art students were paired with high school mentors to create 18 more squares.
Also featured that day was a student art gallery of 384 works of original art; a multicultural fair with art and food from different cultures; and coffeehouse and music performances by Central’s orchestra, jazz band, drum line, and vocal department. In addition, everyone was encouraged to get involved in the “Interactive Art” area – getting a temporary tattoo, having their face drawn and abstracted into modern art, putting their face in a famous painting, partaking in a mural that was “paint by number,” and enjoying snacks, music, and coffee at the coffeehouse. Clay artists worked on the yearlong poppies project, making and glazing red flowers to be used at Westerville’s Field of Heroes display on Memorial Day weekend.
Students on the Arts Alive committee helped brainstorm, organize and run the event, including the making of tee shirts and hoodies designed by student Ashley Hill, featuring this year’s logo.
Other unique features included an Autism Awareness Area and a student AP English project – The Water Challenge – which challenged students to carry giant buckets of water for a specific distance to raise awareness of the clean water shortage in third world countries. Even though it was a bit chilly, Central artists proved art is alive all day, in every way.