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‘ArtsFest’ ready to empower MCS students, unify district

 

“An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one.” Charles Cooley’s saying resonates loudly as Memphis City Schools presents the third annual ArtsFest hosted at the MCS Board of Education.

by Dena L. Owens
Special to the Tri-State Defender

“An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one.”

Charles Cooley’s saying resonates loudly as Memphis City Schools presents the third annual ArtsFest hosted at the MCS Board of Education, Friday and Saturday (March 30-31). ArtsFest will transform the auditorium into a fine arts gallery and the grounds into tented stages for live performances from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

 
 Art, music and dance lovers will be treated to a wonderland of talents in visual arts, theatre, music, dance, and media technology at ArtsFest. (Courtesy photo)

Art, music and dance lovers will be treated to a wonderland of talents in visual arts, theatre, music, dance, and media technology.

Everyone is invited to the free, two-day arts festival. This year’s event salutes the memory of arts supporter Lisa D. Cash, the late wife of MCS Supt. Dr. Kriner Cash.  

On Saturday, ArtsFest concludes with a 7 p.m. finale concert at the Cannon Center, where nearly 200 students will perform as part of a citywide orchestra and choir. The finale includes the world premiere of “Celebrate Artes,” a musical piece composed by MCS 8th grader Max Friedman, who wrote the music specifically for ArtsFest.

“Nationwide, few large school districts are celebrating the arts at the level that we are,” said Dru Davison, chair of MCS Arts Education. “Last year, our students earned $6 million in scholarships to pursue degrees in the arts.”

ArtsFest shines a light on MCS teachers and the work they’ve done, said Cash. “This initiative exhibits the level of collaboration, coordination and communication needed as we move toward a merged system, providing the best we have to offer.”

ArtsFest is linked to 53 community partners. Supporters include Graceland, Stax Museum, Hattiloo Theater, WHBQ-TV FOX 13, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, the Art Center, Ballet on Wheels, Memphis College of Art, Cultural Arts for Everyone, Tennessee Arts Commission, and Grammy in the Schools.  Support ranges from providing student mentorship to donating artist instruments.

“All hands brushing the same picture unify the people involved,” said Davison.  

Months have gone into ArtsFest planning. Among various acts, ArtsFest will feature the Melrose High Wind Ensemble and MCS 8th grader Joshua Thompson will do a rendition of “Ol’ Man River,” which the late bass-baritone vocalist James A. Hyter made synonymous with the annual Memphis in May Sunset Symphony.

 

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