LAUSD Shined the Spotlight on the Arts

LAUSD presents it first LAUSD Art Fest on Saturday, March 15th, 2014 at Grand Park in Downtown Los Angeles

By Ricky Ricardo
Published on LatinoLA: March 17, 2014

LAUSD Shined the Spotlight on the Arts

A surge of creative energy swarmed throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District from March 1-14, 2014. All of this creative energy was powered by students within the District. From March 1-14, schools across the district held school-site events that featured student musical, dance and theatrical performances. The two-week festival celebrating the arts served as a grand segue into the March 15th event at Grand Park entitled "LAUSD Arts Fest in the Park."

The final result was a massive showcase of sparkling outpouring of the Arts at the inaugural "LAUSD Arts Fest in the Park" on Saturday, March 15th, 2014. Yes, ladies and gentleman; boys and girls, Spring is in the air, even though it felt like it was Summer.

Several thousand students performed in front of a huge crowd assembled in Grand Park. Grand Park served as the perfect canvas for the student's creative expressions. The crowd consisted of LAUSD Administrators, proud parents and teachers, counselors, family, friends and fellow classmates.

The idea for the Arts Fest came from Hamilton High School Freshman, Jordyn Sacino, who asked the question- "why not use art to save art?" Last year, LAUSD challenged its students in the "My Bright Idea" Challenge to come up with programs they would like to see in the District that promotes positivity. Jordyn's suggestion towered above the rest.

The "LAUSD Arts Fest in the Park" featured several stages with ongoing live student performances; an artist market; a screening room featuring student short films; a creativity zone; an opportunity drawing for student art; vendor booths; plus many giveaways.

Attendees had ample options if they were hungry; food trucks lined the south end of Grand Park. The participating food trucks set up for the event were; Belly Bombz Food Truck, Cousins Maine Lobster, Grilled Cheese Truck, Kogi BBQ Taco Truck, Me So Hungry Food Truck, Ragin Cajun Food Truck, Tainamite Food Truck. Additional treats available were Homeboy Industries Bakery, Keith's Popcorn, and Madelin's Delight Nuts. Thirst quenchers consisted of not one, but two of A Rockin Ice Truck and Elabrew Coffee Truck.

Venice High School Choir kicked off the program with a superb performance of the National Anthem. Senior Deputy Superintendent Michele King, LAUSD offered welcome remarks and stated "LAUSD believes that the Arts are a vital part of student's education." LAUSD School Board Member, Bennett Kyser, District 5, greeted the crowd.

The program alternated between stages, which provided for continuous entertainment all morning and into the afternoon. The Miramonte Elementary Little Kids Rock did just that on the Spring Street Stage. They were rockin out on the tunes "Oye Como Va," and "Sweet Child of Mine." Bethune Middle School String Orchestra served up a delightful set on "Enter the Heroes," "Boogie in the Straw," and "String Explosion."

Washington Prep High School Dance grooved and moved to "Schooling It," followed by Marshall High School Jazz Ensemble performing several jazz standards "Cantaloupe Island," and "Dig This."

East Valley High School Thespian/Dance Troupe took the crowd and me through the Wild West on "Two Times," followed by "Cotton Eye Jack."

Roosevelt High School Band from Boyle Heights got down and funky on a jazzy take on "I Feel Good" by the late great James Brown. The band got into some fiery Latin grooves on "My Little Suede Shoes" by Charlie Parker, "Jingo Rock" and "Everybody's Everything" both tunes by Carlos Santana.

Belmont High School ECHO Choir sang "I Believe I Can Fly," and "We Are the World."

Washington Prep High School Band, directed by Mr. Chris Estrada, led by Sean Jones, Drum Major, took it up a notch on "Mighty Generals," "Black Skin Head," "Lil Freak," and "Kids Aren't Alright."

The students from South Park Elementary School Thespian (6th Grade) directed by Mrs. Betsy Rubino performed a timely tribute to Cesar Chavez. A movie about the life of Cesar Chavez will be out in theaters in several weeks. Mrs. Nancy Borrego-Sychareuh led South Park Elementary School Thespian (kindergarten) in a charming performance of "Mother Goose Time."

Dr. John E. Deasy, Superintenden (pictured)t, LAUSD addressed the crowd. State Senator Holly J. Mitchell, 26th District, presented a Certificate of Recognition to John G. Terzi, Principal, Magnolia Science Academy-6, and Mukaddes Cinar a student who won the honor of painting a mural in State Senator Holly Mitchell's office. LA City Councilmember Mitch O' Farrell also presented awards.

My enjoyment of the "LAUSD Arts Fest in the Park" concluded with the LAUSD Mass Student Performance of "Turn, Turn, Turn" a Tribute to Pete Seeger, the great social activists of the twentieth century. The mass student performance were led by band director Steve Burch, with a special choreograph dance routine.

Proceeds from the "LAUSD Arts Fest in the Park" will be redirected to support the instructional needs of the LAUSD Arts Programs.

Grand Park was the perfect venue for this event. About Grand Park: A city's urban heart is an expression of its people, its diversity, its interest, and its passion. The new Grand Park, with its majestic views extending from the Music Center (west) to City Hall (East) provides Angelenos of all walks of life a place where they can come together to celebrate, reflect, and shape the future, in one central gathering place.

About Ricky Ricardo:
Ricky Ricardo is a Southern California based Music Reviewer, Writer and Photographer.

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