Piper Seibold of Salisbury Elementary School was kneading a thick ball of clay in the ceramics studio with a look of dogged determination. “I’m making a panda because it is my favorite animal — and then I’m going to make it into a rattle,” she said.
Shaping the stiff lump of tan clay into a something that resembled a chubby panda and that also was hollow enough to be a rattle required the help and imagination of ceramicist Diane Schapira, who was equally determined to make this seemingly impossible creation possible.
Seibold was one of more than 100 fourth-graders from the region's six elementary schools who tapped into their creativity by experimenting with various art forms during the 25th annual Arts Day held March 13 at Hotchkiss. Students made clay creatures of every stripe, whimsical cardboard sculptures, intricate cigar box dioramas, and they expressed themselves by inventing their own moves on the dance floor and in improvisational drama workshops.
The daylong immersion into the arts featured 10 different workshops, including dance, drumming, sculpture, printmaking, Ukrainian egg painting, ceramics, and acting led by professional artists from across the region. Students enjoyed several presentations in Walker Auditorium, including a performance by Calliope Brass, an all-female ensemble whose mission is to bring stories to life and the Housatonic Musical Theatre Society's presentation of musical numbers from Rip Van Winkle: The Musical.
J. Bradley Faus, instructor in art and program director, has helped to organize and present The Arts Fund for Region One event since the program’s inception. “One of the things that is really great is that the students get to work with real artists, and they are at the age where they just jump right in,” he said.
The event is also a great public and private collaboration, Faus said. Hotchkiss has hosted the event each year during Spring Break.