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2014-05-02 at 15:59

Arts Fiesta showcases student creativity

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THUNDER BAY -- After six weeks of rehearsing the Ice Dance, Westmount Public School student Mitchell Hanna-Gardiner was worried nerves would get the better of him when waiting to perform at the Arts Fiesta Friday.

"When we were behind the stage, we were all really nervous because 'oh no, oh no, something's going to happen and it's going to go wrong' but then once we got out there, we were like 'nothing's going to happen, we're all doing fine,'" said the Grade 5 student.

"It actually got really fun."

The Westmount class was the first to perform at the Arts Fiesta, run by the Community Arts and Heritage Education Project, at the Fort William Gardens.

Through CAHEP, local artists go into classrooms across the city and work on an art project with the students - some are performance projects and others are new media, visual arts or dance projects.

The Ice Dance was something Mitchell's class worked on for weeks and he enjoyed seeing the audience's reaction to the piece.

"It was really neat just seeing the way they all reacted to it like 'whoa' and how they think what's going on and what's going to happen," he said.

"It's really neat watching what their faces do rather than watching what's happening on our stage."

Mitchell's classmate Ashlynn Martyn said the Ice Dance was about creatures that live under the ice on Hudson Bay.

"If a child goes out alone, then the (creatures) will come out and grab the children and bring them under the ice to hold forever," Ashlynn said.

There were 16 classes either performing or showcasing their art project Friday and CAHEP interim executive director Alana Forslund said the Arts Fiesta was the culminating celebration of the program.

"It's really important for the learners who are involved to get a chance to show their work to their peers and their community because it instills a sense of pride in what they've created," she said.

The Arts Fiesta also helped kick off this weekend's Folklore Festival and the visual art projects will be on display all weekend at the festival.

Once the school's were done performing, the students spent the rest of the day participating in cultural workshops that ranged from First Nation drumming to Ukrainian dancing.


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