FORT JENNINGS — A mix of music and art was on hand in Putnam County Sunday at the annual Arts Festival at Fort Jennings High School.
The event attracts 500 to 800 people each year.
“This is an event to highlight the arts — both the visual arts and the performing arts, band and choir. Five years ago we decided to combine our art show in the county with the band and choir performance. We used to have two separate events, and we decided to put them all together in one Arts Festival to bring recognition to both, and it’s been hugely successful,” said Gary Herman, curriculum coordinator for the Putnam County Education Service Center.
Almost 150 students participated in the All-County Band and Choir performance.
“They auditioned back in December and were selected by the county directors and then the ones that are selected come to two practices on the past two Fridays at Bluffton University,” Herman said.
Works of art were on display in high school gym.
“There are just some phenomenal artists here. Today is a day about them showcasing their artwork that they put a lot of hours into and a lot of hard work and effort into,” said Melissa Basinger, curriculum coordinator for the Putnam County Education Service Center. “Some very thought-provoking pieces [are here], with lots of different use of media, two-dimensional, three-dimensional projects, just some incredible artwork.”
Giving these students the recognition they deserve was part of the reason behind the arts showcase.
“I think the students are so talented in many different ways, and today is a day to celebrate the arts. Oftentimes, in today’s age in all of the testing and the stress, there’s a lot of emphasis on STEM. We’re trying to put the STEAM in STEM, included with the arts there, but I just feel the artwork here is a way for students to express themselves that maybe they couldn’t normally do in a core content class,” she said.
More than 200 pieces of art were submitted from the nine school districts in Putnam County.
Sharon King, a retired art teacher judged the art and picked the 15 best pieces of artwork, with the choices receiving purple ribbons.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.