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    Southwest Regional Arts Festival at Chief Sealth International High School
    Posted on 02/20/2020
    A stage with a xylophone

    Southwest Regional Arts Festival at Chief Sealth International High School

    On February 6, the first of three regional arts festivals took place at Chief Sealth International High School to highlight arts programs and arts learning in our schools, featuring student art and performances from all grade levels. The Southwest Regional Arts festival is part of The Creative Advantage, Seattle Public Schools’ initiative to expand equitable access to arts learning for every student in partnership with the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, Seattle Foundation, and arts partners.

    As families entered the Chief Sealth commons, there was a visual art gallery that they could walk through and view a large variety of student art. There were drawings, paintings, ceramics, masks, clay vessels, and baskets that students from Chief Sealth, Concord International Elementary, Denny International Middle, Southwest Interagency High School, and West Seattle Elementary schools created in their arts classes and with organizations like Art Corps. In the Little Theatre, there were documentary short films created by Chief Sealth 10th grade filmmakers.

    “We have incredible artists in Seattle Public Schools — creatives in dance, media arts, music, theater, and visual arts, and the Regional Arts Festivals are a way to highlight this creativity with the broader community,” said Gail Sehlhorst, manager of visual and Performing arts. “Students have asked for more opportunities to showcase the arts in our district and this is our response.”

    There were also opportunities for families to get involved in creating art through family art workshops hosted by the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) and Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB). SAM led families and students in creating keyrings that they could take home, while PNB led a dance and movement workshop for all ages.

    Before the performances began, families were provided dinner from the Seattle Public Schools Nutrition Services team, which included Somali and Latin cuisine. Everyone was welcome to enjoy Somali chicken stew, rice and beans, cheese tamales, and roasted vegetables.

    Next, students showcased a variety of performances in the Chief Sealth Performing Arts Center, which included poetry readings, dance and theater performances, and band, strings, orchestra, and choral performances. There were also performances from arts partners and students in art residencies. The level of talent from so many grade levels throughout the southwest region was astounding and students were thrilled to show the skills they’ve been learning throughout the year. Families cheered as each student showcased their amazing work. Student performances were developed in music and theater classes, after school clubs, and with community partners like Jack Straw Cultural Center and the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra.

    The next two arts festivals for the year will be the Southeast Regional Arts Festival at Rainier Beach High School on March 19, 2020 from 5 - 8 p.m. and the South Central Regional Arts Festival at Franklin High School on April 22, 2020 from 5 - 8 p.m.

    Thank you to The Creative Advantage team for organizing this spectacular event. We also want to express our appreciation to the many volunteers, educators, and staff who help plan these regional arts festivals, which are made possible through a generous grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

    Read more about The Creative Advantage.