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Art program to showcase talents of North Hills students

| Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Eric Richardson (left) and Mason Richardson look for Mason's artwork at the 2012 'Arts Alive' event at North Hills Senior High School in Ross Township. This year's event is May 3, 2013. Last year, Mason was a fourth-grader at McIntyre Elementary School in Ross.

Art in all kinds of shapes, sizes and forms will fill North Hills Senior High School in Ross Township on May 3 for the North Hills School District's 41st annual “Arts Alive” event.

With work by students in kindergarten through the 12th grade, the free program will feature paintings, illustrations, pottery, photography, music, film, food, and even technology, said Johannah Vanatta, the district's assistant superintendent for the secondary education.

Everyone is invited to the event, which will be from 5 to 9:30 p.m. at the senior high, 53 Rochester Road.

“It lets us show what the students do. The more attention we give to the arts, the more support we have,” Vanatta said.

Items on display might have been done as a class assignment, through a school club or even in the student's free time, she said.

North Hills Junior High School eighth-grader David Reith, 14, will display an illustration of a gorilla formed by words that he did in his art class at school. He said his teacher picked that particular drawing, as well as other students' work, to be part of “Arts Alive.”

“It's really cool because you get to see what everyone else has done,” said David, of Ross.

Along with the students, “Arts Alive” is made possible by the participation of teachers, administrators and other school staff, said Vanatta, of Washington County.

Halls, classrooms, the cafeteria, the gymnasium and even the wrestling room will have items on display, Vanatta said.

Guests can expect a large variety of works, including creations from the technology classes, such as robot, model cars or things students made by using various engineering skills, Vanatta said.

Or visitors can enjoy performances by student vocalists and musicians, including members of the North Hills Senior High School Madrigal Choir, who will be strolling the halls dressed in Renaissance costumes and singing.

Food also can be a way to express art and culture, and the event will feature food stands in the cafeteria selling Spanish and German foods, said Amanda Hartle, communications coordinator for the school district.

World cultures also will be represented in other forms by students, including a kimono designed and sewn by North Hills senior Andrea Radziminski of Ross. The 18-year-old will be wearing the Japanese-influenced attire at “Arts Alive.” She made it for her “Fashion and Design” sewing class and said she's pleased with the result.

“The hard work paid off,” she said.

Radziminski, who started a Japanese Club at the high school last year, said she's “really into Japanese culture” and is attending the University of Pittsburgh next year to study Japanese history. Making the kimono also was a chance for her to express her other interest of sewing, which she learned more about through school classes.

Younger students in the district also are looking forward to participating, such as Leslie Rozanski, a sixth-grader at Ross Elementary School who will have her drawing of a baboon that she did for her art class on display.

“It was kind of challenging, and I like to challenge myself,” she said.

Leslie, 12, said she likes “Arts Alive” because of the opportunity to view work by older students.

“I think it's cool because you can see when you're older what you're able to do when you get to the junior high and senior high,” she said.

Some student artwork will be for sale. The proceeds will be split between the student artists and the class to help cover the cost of supplies.

Coffee Buddha, a coffee shop in Ross' Perrysville neighborhood, will have a stand at “Arts Alive” offering coffee, espresso beverages and hot chocolate for a discounted price of $2. All proceeds will benefit the school district's art program, Hartle said. Visitors even can purchase a mug from the pottery for sale at the event to have it filled by Coffee Buddha, she said.

And those attending the event also can visit the high school's planetarium, which will be running shows every 30 minutes, said Hartle, of Hampton Township.

The North Hills Educational Support Personnel Association will hold a food collection for the North Hills Backpack Initiative, which supplies weekend meals for students in need. Donations should be single-serving, individually packaged items such as oatmeal, pudding, snack crackers, sandwich crackers, fruit cups, cereals, granola and cereal bars, hearty soups, canned pasta meals, tuna or boxed macaroni and cheese, Hartle said. Donors also can make monetary contributions with checks made payable to the North Hills Foundation that include “Backpack Initiative” on the memo line.

Natalie Beneviat is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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