By Amy Sorensen
Supposedly, Picasso said that every child is an artist; it’s remaining one as an adult that is hard. During the White Pine Children’s Art Festival, held July 25-29 at White Pine High School, the children in White Pine County got the opportunity to try out a variety of different art forms and learn to be an artist.
“We have classes in art, writing, dance, music and theater,” said director Amy Sorensen. “Our goal is to provide a variety of classes for students to get an opportunity to try out different art forms.”
The White Pine Children’s Art Festival began in 2010 when the White Pine County School District cut funding for art, music, physical education and library.
“A group of parents got together in 2010 and decided that an arts festival would be an opportunity for the students in White Pine County to have access to the arts,” Sorensen said. “We know that a week is not enough arts education, but it does provide an opportunity for our children to get a taste of the arts, hopefully it will encourage them to be creative on their own.”
The community has been a great supporter of the White Pine Children’s Art Festival for the last seven years. Donations from local businesses and community organizations have allowed the festival to keep prices affordable for most families.
“Our classes are $10 each and include supplies, a t-shirt and a snack daily,” said Sorensen. “Most students take classes all three hours of the festival. This year we are grateful for the Rotary Club of Ely for sponsoring scholarships for families who couldn’t attend without financial help. We were able to award 19 scholarships this year and hope to award more next year.”
The festival is run completely by volunteers, from the director to the class teachers, everyone comes together to help support the children in the community.
“We have about 100 teachers, volunteers and support staff who keep the festival running,” said Sorensen. “Our only paid teacher was our guest author, Christine Pakkala. Her visit was sponsored by Robinson Nevada Mining.”
This year about 240 students participated in the festival with over 400 family and friends attending the Friday evening art exhibition and performances.
“The exhibition is one of my favorite parts of the festival,” said Sorensen. “I love watching our families and friends come together to view the art the kids have made and watch the hard work that they have put into their performances. It makes all the planning worthwhile.”
The White Pine Children’s Art Festival is held the last week of July every summer. They are always looking for teachers to help with classes and financial support to keep it functioning. Visit their website www.wpchildrensart.com for more information.